November 02, 2003
Barlow 1: Burning Out
I felt as if I were watching the best minds of the next several generations blowing themselves into starry oblivions as deep as the desert night, pushing the envelope of strangeness into near-psychosis at a time when the world beyond The Playa seems to have gone quite mad enough already.
If someone like Karl Rove had wanted to neutralize the most creative, intelligent, and passionate members of his opposition, he'd have a hard time coming up with a better tool than Burning Man. Exile them to the wilderness, give them a culture in which alpha status requires months of focus and resource-consumptive preparation, provide them with metric tons of psychotropic confusicants, and then . . . ignore them. It's a pretty safe bet that they won't be out registering voters, or doing anything that might actually threaten electoral change, when they have an art car to build.
Indeed, Burning Man strikes me as only one of many reality distortion fields within which the counter-culture, myself totally included, has sought self-ghettoizing refuge. On reflection, I realized that I felt much the same about the massive protest marches that failed to impede in any way the Administration's unprovoked assault on Iraq. We all had a grand time gathering ourselves by the millions, but we were up against opponents far more practical and smart than Dick Nixon or Spiro Agnew. The current Dick knows that the best way to deal with dissent is give it a spectacle to exhaust its energies on. He knows that we're suckers for a good show, especially one where we get a starring role, so he gives us unmolested stages upon which to mount our extravaganzas and goes on about his corporate affairs.
not much more to say other then I agree completely. Didn't go to Burning Man the last 2 years, and those sorts of thoughts are a significant part of the reason. Its time to build not burn, the taz can wait a moment or two. For real.Posted by Abe at November 2, 2003 11:44 AM