PEACE IN OUR TIME!!! Media Mecca and the Census end their four year war with historic treaty!

In 2012 the Census  claimed that Media Mecca had poached one of their most beloved volunteers, while Media Mecca claimed that the volunteer had willingly defected.  Obviously the only solution was violence.  And so a state of open warfare between them was declared.  Kidnappings, misinformation campaigns, and camp raids occurred throughout the week.

Though formal hostilities ended shortly after that year when Danger Ranger placed himself physically between the two sides, no formal peace was ever declared and so the two camps have been in a state of ongoing hostilities for the past four years.

However on Friday, In the Year of Our Larry 2016, a War Council from Media Mecca and a Negotiating Team from the Census gathered together in Camp Misterioso to see if a peace treaty could be reached.

Both sides came armed with knives, foam daggers, and padded bats.  The Media Mecca team was led by Caveat Magister, who was Volunteer Coordinator and camp War Leader at the time of the 2012 hostilities, but now is a Minister Without Portfolio on the Media Team.  The Census Team was led by DV8, the new leader of the Census, and by the Countess – who was the leader of the Census at the time of the 2012 initiation of hostilities.

Negotiations were initially tense, with the Census team questioning Caveat’s legitimacy to hold peace accords and trying to put Census stickers on Caveat’s back, and the Media Mecca team demanding an apology for war atrocities committed during the course of the conflict.

However, by early evening a working treaty had been established guaranteeing peace in our time.

The members of the negotiating teams exchanged knives.  The Census Team proposed a Group Hug to seal the peace, but Caveat protested “Are you MONSTERS?” and so a compromise was reached wherein Caveat and the Countess hugged instead.  Finally, there was an exchange of whiskey and the joint singing of a sea chanty.

The treaty will be formally ratified on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 11:30 a.m., in a ceremony outside Media Mecca wherein the Census shall self-sticker their own asses, then apologetically moon Media Mecca (they swear it is possible to moon “apologetically”) to make up for war atrocities committed in 2012.  Following the mooning, members of Census and Media Mecca royalty shall be wed in a brief ceremony, after which Caveat will dance a cynical happy dance.  According to negotiated terms, there shall be no video or photographs of Caveat’s cynical happy-dance, but it is being held outside of Media Mecca, which suggests that he might not have thought this through.

Here are the specific terms of the treaty, to be honored in good faith by both sides:


I.  Media Mecca has demanded, and the Census has agreed that:  

A)   The Census create more Infographics, with more data points, including at least one infographic per year that utilizes no fewer than 11 data points.  The graphic doesn’t have to make sense.

B)  Census forms must be funnier.

  1.  While the Census refuses to add comedy their primary forms, they have agreed to create supplemental census forms which will be funny.
  2.  They have agreed to investigate whether Census answers can be provided in “Mad Lib” form – and if so, to implement it.


C)  The Census must bring sexy back.

  1.  They must bring that special spark back that Census forms used to have.  Maybe whisper in our ear once in a while.  Cuddle more.
  2. They must begin asking Burners 18 questions about bondage.
  3. Beginning in 2017, Census agreed to conduct at least one naked shift per year, out at the Greeters’ stations – under the conditions that they can wear closed toed shoes and lab coats.


D)  Census forms must ask Burners what kind of pets they have.  Including human pets, and whether human pets are fuzzies.  Get to the bottom of this.


E)  Census has to personalize their lab coats more, so that they don’t look quite so fascist.  Each lab coat should be individually bedazzled.


F)  Census data must be translated into either Hindi or Chinese.  They may ask for translation help.


II.  Census has demanded, and Media Mecca has agreed that: 

A)  Media Mecca must return the volunteer “Trapper” (her Census name) or “Lyn” (her Media Mecca name) back.

  1.  Media Mecca refused, and Census agreed to accept Media Mecca volunteer team captain and Chicago Regional Rep “Flippit” (who was not present at the negotiations) in her place.  He will serve as a Census volunteer to the best of his considerable abilities.


B)  Media Mecca will advocate with the Burning Man organization for Census to get its own channel on staff radios.


C)  BMIR needs to stop running wartime misinformation campaigns about the census – such as broadcasting PSA’s suggesting that there is an orgy in the Census offices that is open to anyone who fills out their census form, or that people who don’t fill out their census will be found and ejected from Burning Man.

  1.  Media Mecca stated that it does not have the power to determine BMIR content.   However, Caveat promises to create a mediation session between BMIR and the Census at the 2017 Burning Man. This was deemed acceptable.


D)  Caveat must perform a happy dance.


D)  A member of Census royalty and Media Mecca royalty must be married in order to formally unite the warring houses.

  1.  Strange (who was present as a negotiator) will serve as the Census royalty to be married.
  2. Media Mecca will offer either Roxanne Graham (who was not present) or another appropriate member of Media Mecca royalty for the wedding.


E)  Census requires a dowry for Strange being married off to a member of Media Mecca royalty

  1.  After initially demanding parcel’s of Media Mecca’s land, and then a number of Media Mecca’s goats and sheep, the Census team finally accepted an offer of the opportunity to use the wireless internet otherwise provided only to journalists at one of Media Mecca’s black site camps, run in part by the Archduke Niel “Slumdog” Pandya, who was present  at the negotiations and who will be in charge of implementing the dowry.


F)  Media Mecca agrees to advocate for the Census receiving adequate office space for their data entry on playa.


III.  Ongoing diplomatic relations

Finally, Media Mecca and the Census have agreed that Media Mecca shall send diplomatic delegations over to visit the Census in 2017, provided that the Media Mecca teams clearly identify themselves, that they receive diplomatic immunity and are treated as visiting dignitaries, and that they complete one census field note entry each prior to departure.


About the author: Caveat Magister

Caveat is Burning Man's Philosopher Laureate. A founding member of its Philosophical Center, he is the author of The Scene That Became Cities: what Burning Man philosophy can teach us about building better communities, and Turn Your Life Into Art: lessons in Psychologic from the San Francisco Underground. He has also written several books which have nothing to do with Burning Man. He has finally got his email address caveat (at) burningman (dot) org working again. He tweets, occasionally, as @BenjaminWachs

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