Dear Burning Man…

A guest post from our reader Sandstorm. The email he’s responding to is shared at the end of this post.



Like many members of the Burning Man community I’ve spent the past 2+ months feeling justifiably concerned about the topic of Commodification Camps (aka Turnkey Camps aka Plug And Play Camps) and their place in and impact upon Burning Man and the Burner community. Like many other Burners I’ve voiced my concerns about this subject on websites such as Facebook (FB) and Burning Man’s ePlaya bulletin board, as well as in the comments sections of some of the relevant recent entries on the official Burning Man Blog. I’ve also used my artistic skills to address what I call the Commodification Camp Controversy (CCC). I’ve recently created a handful of light-hearted satirical images that speak to this subject and I’ve posted them in the unofficial Burning Man group on FB. I’ve included one of those images here.

BIG JIM JTS

2 days ago I and countless other Burners received a fundraising email from the Burning Man Project (BMP). I was not pleased when I read that email and that’s because until now Burning Man’s official response to the CCC has been at best lacking and at worst inept. After reading that email I carefully drafted and then sent a reply email to the BMP. I then posted the contents of that email in the unofficial Burning Man group on FB and also on ePlaya. I did so because I wanted to share with other Burners how I was trying to constructively address the CCC. I was honestly surprised by the amount of positive response that I received to those posts.

At some point on Thursday evening the owner of burners.me reached out to me on FB via PM and asked me if I’d be willing to post on his site my above mentioned email to the BMP and some of the CCC related images that I’ve recently posted on FB. I asked him to let me think about the matter before I said yes or no to him and I did so for a variety of reasons.

Although I’m a 6 time burner I believe and know that I’m a nobody in the Burner community. I’m sure as hell not a spokesperson for this community. I’m also neither an attention seeker nor am I someone who seeks to or enjoys to stir up discord about sensitive topics. Given those facts and given the amount of debate surrounding both the CCC and burners.me I was initially reluctant to share on this site the reply email that I recently sent to the BMP. That said, I know that I wrote that email with integrity and honesty and thus I’m comfortable with sharing it here.

My reply email to the BMP seems to have resonated with many of the people who’ve read it. By posting that email on this site there’s a chance that my email will reach a wider audience and perhaps inspire other burners to find their own ways of peacefully and creatively confronting the CCC. I refuse to remain silent about that topic and that’s because I love Burning Man so much. The event and the community have changed my life in so many positive ways and even if this post ends up having no impact on Larry Harvey & Co. I at least know that at a time of crisis in the Burner community I spoke up for the values that are meant to be embodied by Burning Man.

It’s important for me to state here that I do not have a broad spectrum dislike for BMORG. I can only imagine how many wonderful people work in that organization. In this situation my dislike is directed solely at a specific group of people within the Burning Man power structure. I am displeased with those who run or help to run the event in ways that clearly run counter to the stated ethos of the event and the actual ethos of the people who physically and/or creatively build and run Black Rock City.

I want to send out my sincere thanks and respect to the countless people who make Burning Man a reality through their labor, passion, time, money and principles. The truth is that YOU are Burning Man, YOU are Black Rock City.

I want to thank the owner of burners.me for the opportunity to write this post. I also need to thank the Burners who took the time to read and respond to this post before I published it on this site. Dusty hugs,

Sandstorm


From the unofficial Facebook Burning Man group:

“I thought that I’d share this with the group. (Note: If you’re a member of the tl;dr crew then just move along because these are not the droids you are looking for.)

So, yesterday I received an email from the Burning Man Project asking for a monetary donation. After I got some feedback from some fellow burners I sent the below email to the Burning Man Project.

“Steve,

I hope that this finds you well. I’ve taken some time to thoughtfully respond to your fundraising email regarding my potentially donating to the Burning Man Project. As a point of reference, I’ve known about Burning Man since late 1996 and it’s been a huge part of my life over the past 7 plus years. I’ve been burning since ’07 and I’ve been to Black Rock City 6 times in total. Since I’ve started burning the only 2 burns that I’ve missed were in ’09 and ’14, the former by choice and the latter due to my being unable to make the trip.

During each of my burns I’ve volunteered my time to groups such as The Lamplighters, Arctica, Center Camp Cafe, The Temple Guardians and a variety of theme camps and art projects. During that time I’ve made numerous monetary donations to groups such as Black Rock Arts Foundations and Black Rock Solar as well as to individual art projects and the 2013 Temple build. During my time as a burner I’ve repeatedly sold to other people Burning Man tickets that I did not need or could not use and when I did so I sold those tickets at below face value. On 4 occasions I’ve gifted Burning Man tickets to other people. In 2013 I helped half a dozen people I didn’t know acquire the Burning Man tickets they needed and I did so free of charge. I did that because Burning Man meant so much to me and I wanted to use my time and contacts to help other people make it HOME to Black Rock City.

At this point in time I have no desire to contribute a single cent to BMORG or any of it’s affiliated agencies. That is due to the fact the since the end of this year’s burn BMORG has hid from the Burner community as many of it’s members have eloquently and repeatedly voiced their concerns about the commodification of Burning Man via BMORG’s enabling of commodification camps such as Caravansicle, which was apparently run and funded in part by Jim Tananbaum, who currently serves on the Burning Man Board of Directors (BOD). There is ample and credible evidence on the Internet that indicates that various members of BMORG, the Burning Man founders and the Burning Man BOD have been engaged in behavior that runs contrary to Burning Man’s 10 Principles and to BMORG’s mission statement. Huge swaths of the Burner community are deeply concerned by the fact that there seem to be forces within the Burning Man power structure that are willing to commodify the event in the name of personal and organizational profit. In light of this controversy BMORG has maintained a level of radio silence that makes many Burners believe that BMORG is simply buying time to get its story straight about the Commodification Camp Controversy, buying time to let BMORG’s lawyers talk with the lawyers for various Commodification Camps and Burning Man BOD members. From this side of this situation BMORG seems both corrupt and inept beyond all belief. This situation makes the 2012 Ticket Lottery Fiasco seem like a small clerical error on the part of BMORG.

Before the Commodifcation Camp Controversy rose up I was identifying next year as one which I’d spend my summer working on the Temple project. I was planning on realizing a personal on-playa dream of mine, which is a mobile, deep playa pop-up bar. I was also planning on volunteering with the Resto team. While all those ideas are still meaningful to me Burning Man itself is no longer as meaningful to me as it was just 2 1/2 months ago when I watched large chunks of the burn via the official live video feed of the event. My lessened passion for the event is mostly due to my sense that elements within BMORG itself are willing to corrupt the event in the pursuit of profit and power and that BMORG is willing to ignore the concerns of the very community that builds Black Rock City and provides its creative content.

I took the time to write this email because I want you to know that the actions and inactions of various people within BMORG, the Burning Man founders and the Burning Man BOD have made me feel that the Burning Man Project is undeserving of my money. I sincerely wish that wasn’t the case. To be honest, it’s galling to receive a fund raising request from Burning Man at a time when BMORG is continuing to ignore the concerns of the Burner community. Like many other burners, I’m not buying BMORG’s company line that they are listening to the Burner community and (that BMORG) will get back to them as soon as possible. Whether or not my perception of that situation is accurate I have been given no indications that BMORG values the event and the community as much as the community values the event.

The Commodificaton Camp Controversy is not about poor burners versus rich burners; it’s about the fact that certain members of the Burning Man power structure have misused their positions in such a way that they have introduced class warfare into both the event and countless Burners psychological relationships with (both) the event and those who are meant to protect it. Shame on them for doing so. The event and community deserve better than that. Dusty hugs,

David / Sandstorm”


Here’s the email that was sent out by BMOrg:

From: Burning Man Project <steven.young@burningmanproject.org>

Date: Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Subject: Now You Can Gift Burning Man to the World

Remember your first day at Burning Man? Remember how it felt to bring someone to Black Rock City for the first time? While not everyone can be on the playa every year,Burning Man’s year-round programs make the Burning Man experience accessible to all, year-round and across the globe.Burning Man strives to help people live more creative and connected lives year round and around the globe. Our programs in the arts, in civic engagement, and our investment in the leadership of a global network of regional events have inspired millions to embrace a shared value system that promotes thriving artistic endeavors, increased civic involvement, emerging social enterprise and stronger communities.Everything we do is driven by community participation, communal effort and gifting. While the annual event in Black Rock City is paid for by ticket sales, the work we do through our year-round programs depends on your generosity.Your support provides vital resources needed to keep our core programs running, such as our Regional Network which nurtures 240 members in 125 regions across 31 countries. Additionally, our Art Grants Programs provide close to $100,000 in grants for the creation and public exhibition of art in communities around the world and helps artists raise additional funds through fiscal sponsorships. Your generosity also supports our Civic Engagement Programs which provide leadership and funding of community based initiatives through micro grants and volunteer organizing.Together we can turn our growing potential into programs and experiences that will help transform people’s lives throughout the world. We need your support to make it happen. Together we can build a more creative and connected world.

Burning Man Project is a 501(c)(3) organization; all donations to Burning Man Project are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

 

catalyst for creative culture in the world

 

A New Online Art Grant System Is Live

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

image: Jim Bauer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A new online system for Art Grants has quietly gone live. It’s buried deep in the blackrockarts site. The deadline is December 1 and you have to pay a fee to submit your Letter of Intent. It’s a little confusing – although it is called “Burning Man Grants for Art”, it’s only for art projects that aren’t going to Burning Man.

For Playa art, they provide a link to Burning Man’s web site, which says the deadline is Feb 15. This information conflicts with the last JRS, which said:

Burning Man Arts — the new department combining the Black Rock City Art Department with the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) — will launch a new online system in mid-November designed to make it easier for artists to apply for honoraria grants for art destined for Black Rock City.

This year, applicants will be required to first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), which will allow the Grant Committee to select which projects will be invited to participate in the full grant application process, saving everybody time and effort.

The system will go live in mid-November, and LOI submissions will be accepted for four weeks. The Grant Committee aims to inform artists if they are invited to participate in the full grant application process by the beginning of 2015.

All artists hoping to receive a Black Rock City honorarium will need to participate in this new LOI process.

More information will be made available via the Jackrabbit Speaks and on the Burning Man Arts web pages as the rollout approaches.

Reading between the lines, I figure that both the blackrockarts.org and burningman.com sites have incorrect information, and artists who want an Honorarium Art Grant for a project at Burning Man 2015 should treat the Jackrabbit’s information as the most current – and wait for an announcement of the new system.

The other new online system that Black Rock Arts announced in their October newsletter, is for non-Playa art:

Burning Man Grants for Art (formerly the BRAF Grants to Artists program) 2015 grant cycle is underway!  The online form for submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI) is now live. Tell us about your fantastic idea for a community-driven, interactive art project!

We fund projects that incorporate community involvement and exist for public benefit. If you’re hatching an idea for a project that brings people together, prompts interaction, and reaches beyond traditional experiences of public art, we’d love to hear about it!

The deadline for “Burning Man Grants for Art” – which, to be clear, is actually for art that is NOT for Burning Man – is December 1 2014, so artists who want to be considered for that need to pay the fees and get their submissions in, in the next 11 days. They fund 10 to 15 projects a year, between $500 and $10,000, with grants typically being in the range of $2000 - $6000.

From blackrockarts.org:

We have begun accepting Letters of Inquiry (LOI’s) for our 2014-2015 grant cycle. Read on to find a link to the LOI submission form. The deadline to submit an LOI is December 1, 2014. Late LOI’s will not be accepted, with no exceptions.

Full proposals will be accepted by invitation only, with LOI applicants either invited to submit a proposal or rejected by early January 2015 (exact date TBD).

We prioritize funding highly interactive, community-driven, collaborative works of art that are accessible to the public and civic in scope.

What is ‘interactive’ art?

  • Art that requires human interaction to complete the piece.
  • Art that involves the community and the audience in its creation, presentation and display.
  • Art that prompts the viewer to act.
  • Art that can be experienced in more ways than visually. We are fans of art that is can be approached, touched, heard or experienced, as well as viewed.
  • Art that prompts people to interact with one another.
  • Art that responds to participants and to its environment.
  • Art that causes people to reflect on the larger community.
  • Art that challenges the viewers’ traditional perspective on art.
  • Art that belongs to the public and exists for the benefit of all.

What kind of work does this program not fund?

Although we are open to all proposed forms of media, there are some common projects that typically fall outside the scope of our criteria. The exception to all of the examples listed below would be if the project had a highly interactive element that moves the project outside the definitions of its genre.

We typically do not fund:

  • Static work, such as sculpture with no interactive component
  • Gallery work, such as paintings in a gallery
  • Publications – poetry books, photo books, fiction, etc
  • Photography
  • Screenplays or films
  • Musical, theater or dance productions
  • Social aid/relief efforts
  • Entrepreneurial endeavors
  • Art destined for the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City. There is a separate grant process to fund playa-bound artwork. Please visit the Burning Man website to learn more about the BRC Honorarium application process. (This program does, however, sometimes fund works headed to regional Burning Man events)

Our grants range between $500 and $10,000, but we most commonly award between $2000 and $6000. We typically fund approximately from 10 to 15 projects a year and receive as many as 300 proposals.

Full proposals will be accepted by invitation only in early 2015. To be invited, you must submit a Letter of Inquiry by December 1st.

Timeline

  • Our online LOI application for our 2015 grant cycle is live!
  • LOI’s are due December 1, 2014, 5:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time.
  • Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal by early January, 2015 (exact date TBA).
  • Proposals are accepted by invitation only, and will be due in February, 2015 (exact date TBA)
  • Selected grantees are usually announced March 15 of the year of the award.
  • Funds are usually released to new grantees April 1 of the year of the award.

Late Letters of Inquiry and proposals will not be accepted. No exceptions. Please read our application instructions below for more details on how to apply.

Letter of Inquiry Instructions

Our online Letter of Inquiry will give you the opportunity to provide us with the following:

  • Name of contact person, contact person’s phone number, email address and mailing address
  • Name of the lead artist or program manager if different from the contact person
  • Name of project or program
  • An invitation code, which is “GrantsForArt-LOI-2015
  • Brief description of the physical manifestation of project or program (1500 characters, about 250 words or 1 double-spaced page)
  • Brief description of how the project or program fits the program’s grant criteria and definition of interactivity. (1500 characters, about 250 words or 1 double-spaced page)
  • One to three images or other media files
There is a $5.00 fee to submit your LOI. The entirety of this fee is payment to Slideroom.com, the online application service we use. You will be asked to pay with a credit card upon completion of the LOI. You will need an invitation code to submit the online LOI, which is posted on this page, above. [Code is: “GrantsForArt-LOI-2015″]
 
  

Proposal Instructions

Invitations for proposals will be extended to selected projects in late December 2014 or early January 2015. If selected, you will be invited to fill out our full application online. Uninvited proposals will not be considered.

In our online application, you will have the opportunity to tell us about your project, its goals, audience and interactive potential.

A complete proposal includes:

  1. The completion of the online proposal. We do not accept printed and mailed proposals.
  2. A timeline. Our online application has a form where you may describe your timeline, or you may upload your own format. We prefer you use our online form.
  3. A budget. Our online application will have a link to a template you may use, or you may upload your own format. We prefer you use our template.
  4. Supplemental images and materials. You will have the opportunity to upload images or other media files. We highly recommend you submit visual representations of your proposed project.
There is a $5.00 fee to submit a full proposal. The entirety of this fee is payment to Slideroom.com, the online application service we use. You will be asked to pay with a credit card upon completion of the proposal.
.
image: Carrie Cizauskas/flickr (Creative Commons)

image: Carrie Cizauskas/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Once again, the burden is shifted to the artists, who have to pay to submit a Letter of Intent, and pay again to submit a full proposal. $1500 doesn’t seem like too much for BMOrg to spend on software licensing, to let the 300 artists submitting proposals send them in for free. It’s less than 3 Donation tickets. Sure, it’s only five bucks (twice, if the artist makes it through the first round) – but it’s only five bucks to the corporation raking in $30 million a year, too, and to the non-profit entity with more than $1 million of undistributed assets. It seems a little cheap, for a charity whose sole purpose is supporting the Arts.

We’re still waiting on the announcement of 2015′s theme, which would be helpful to know for artists submitting their ideas for grants.

The 2014 theme was announced on January 8, the 2013 theme was announced on November 30, 2012, and the 2012 theme was announced on this day, November 19, three years ago at the Artumnal Gathering fundraising gala. The 2014 Artumnal will be held this Saturday, perhaps the announcement will come then.

Protesting the Protestors [Update]

Over at burningman.com, Caveat Magister’s attempts to laugh off the Burner community’s Commodification Camp concerns - Why Am I Making Fun of Burners and 12 Shocking Revelations About Ultra-Rich Plug and Play Camps - went down like a lead balloon.

Commenter Metapony likened it to the 2007 DPW workers rights protest at BMHQ, during a Regionals Conference:

This burning blog posting mocking people and misrepresenting the issue reminds me of something…
Oh yes, I remember! This is like the time there was a small protest across the street from the Burning Man office (during the spring regionals summit in 2007) and the BM Org sent a bunch of people out to make fun of them…

So carry on that fine tradition of misrepresenting and mocking folks with real issues, CM. Good job.

This is an interesting chapter of Burning Man’s history that I had never heard of before. From Bright Path:

Today, Feb. 18, 2007, a few workers, some with their heads covered by paper bags, staged a small demonstration outside of Burning Man headquarters in San Francisco to protest what they say are reductions in pay, forced “death waivers” and lack of adequate health care for the workers who primarily clean the desert up after the Burning Man event.

 

protest-burningman_2-18-07

Now that I’ve seen the video, it definitely has some resonance with the current situation.

The protest begins in a fairly low-key fashion, with 2 of the protestors afraid to show their faces for fear of losing their jobs or future art grants. Caleb, the unmasked protestor, is very well-spoken about the reasons for their protest. Then, Burning Man HQ’s doors open and some other protestors stream out to disrupt the protest with a protest of their own: mocking the seemingly valid concerns about pay cuts, medical treatment, and possible violations of labor regulations.

Caleb "Shooter" Schaber

Caleb “Shooter” Schaber

Sadly, a couple of years after this video was made Caleb “Shooter” Schaber, the unmasked protestor, gonzo artist, and  former combat photojournalist, committed suicide in Gerlach, NV .

At the time these events occurred, he spoke out on tribe.net about the sock puppets that were dispatched to attack him as revenge against his peaceful protest. People wondered on ePlaya if the counter-protestors were acting independently, or if they were sent out by BMOrg to misdirect the situation. Some of the protestors were identified as Regional representatives of the Org.

Here’s some further discussion of the situation at Indybay and Fark.

Does anyone know the real story behind this? Was it all just a Cacophony-style prank, another Big Farce - or were the protestors expressing legitimate concerns? Did BMOrg ever respond seriously, or was the pranking the extent of it?

If you feel like protesting today, sign the petition against Commodification Camps.

 

aleb David Schaber - founder of the Chupacabra Policia, press correspondent in Afghanistan, writer for Hustler magazine. He earned his playa name of 'Shooter' with a .38 in a Seattle bar in 1996. On April 17, 2009 he took the Hunter S Thompson exit from life. Image: flickr/Danger Ranger (Creative Commons)

Caleb David Schaber – founder of the Chupacabra Policia, press correspondent in Afghanistan, writer for Hustler magazine. He earned his playa name of ‘Shooter’ with a .38 in a Seattle bar in 1996. On April 17, 2009 he took the Hunter S Thompson exit from life. Caption + Image: flickr/Danger Ranger (Creative Commons)

[Update 11/2014 9:32pm]

A Burner who was there that day at the Regional conference but wishes to remain anonymous contacted us and provided some further details. I asked:

Were the protestors concerns fake? Did BMOrg do anything about them? When the anti-protestors learned what the protest was about , what did you do then? Did you go back inside and report back to anyone, or did nobody  care?

Anonymous Burner replied:

In regards to Caleb’s group’s protest: I believe their concerns were real.   Personally, I agree with where they were coming from.  In fact,I believe that these concerns are manifesting again today within DPW.
in regards to The “protest of the protest”: I can only speak to what went on that day.   The BMOrg didn’t “do anything” in regards to the protesters that I was aware of.  The regionals did not go back to “report” to anybody.   The regional’s network was not a hierarchical structure at the time (nor is it today to my knowledge).   Did people care?   Sure.  There was definitely independent discussion after the fact, but not within the frame of the conference.  The issue had absolutely nothing to do with what the conference was being held for, which was open discussion about building and strengthening “Burner” communities within our regions.  

BMOrg’s Next Response [Updates]

They’re listening. They’ve been listening for months. Their response? Continuing to send their volunteers out online to cop the heat from the Burner community.

Now it’s the turn of Caveat Magister.


 

reblogged from blog.burningman.com:

12 Shocking Revelations about ultra-rich Burning Man plug-and-play camps!

Dollar sign (reflective_metallic)I am as shocked as anyone that rich people came to Burning Man and behaved like rich people.

There’s only one explanation:  it’s a conspiracy, and it goes all the way to the top!  Yes!  The only way people with money could have possibly used that money to try and game the system is if Burning Man was directly involved!  In on it!  We all know it, but you don’t the half of it!

Here are the 5 biggest, most shocking, examples, of plug-and-play malfeasance – and the Burning Man organization’s complicity in it!

  • A group of prominent venture capitalists paid Larry Harvey $6 million to write them an extra-fun 11th principle that no-one else has.

What is it?  I don’t know!  You don’t know!  But it’s got to be amazing, and we’re not living by it!  Only they are!

  • The compound prepared for the Walton family, which owns Wall-Mart, actually paid its greeters

They brought out a bunch of senior citizens to tell everyone on the playa to have-a-nice-day!  They even hugged people!  And then were paid minimum wage!

  • Haliburton’s massive camp art project was really a derrick testing for oil under Black Rock City.

Sure it shot out flames, had a DJ, and Friday night’s Gushing Oil Party was awesome, but that’s not the point!

  • Billionaire Amazon.com owner Jeff Bezos’ theme camp never even came out in physical form, and instead was available only on Kindle.

Anyone who went is now under the terms and conditions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act!  On the plus side, there was no MOOP.

  • Warren Buffett slipped Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell $10 million to move Burning Man to Omaha, and fix it so nobody noticed.

That giant sculpture with the funky lights that everybody loved?  That was really the Nebraska statehouse.  We were so used!

And there’s MORE: []

We can’t let them get away with this!  Obviously we need to fix global income equality!  Or bitch about how Burning Man’s run!  Whichever is easier for us to do on the internet!


 

Burners.Me:

That’s how seriously they take the community’s concerns, Burners. They’re laughing at us. It’s all A Big Farce. The Simpsons guarantees them a steady stream of new tourists, so why should they be bothered with what a few thousand disgruntled Burners think?

The issue isn’t rich people at Burning Man. Rich people have always been going, and most of them are happy to be Burners like everyone else. They gift sound stages, or rides on their art cars, or food for hundreds or thousands, or a free bar, or an interactive art piece. They pick up after themselves, and pick up the MOOP of others. They take their bikes and their trash out with them when they leave.

The issue the community is most concerned about is the rise of Burner bingo-playing Commodification Campshow they got so many tickets, and how they blatantly disregard the Tin Principles. We’re concerned about lack of transparency in the dealings of the new “non-profit” that now owns the event. We’re concerned about the for-profit dealings of some members of BMOrg’s Board of Directors who are commercializing our culture, trying to make money for themselves off the volunteer labor and freely given gifts of tens of thousands of Burners.

If BMOrg really were listening to Burners, they’d know that. The comments on their blog are pretty frikking clear.

Except for a few nut cases trying to foment a revolution with Burning Man as the front lines of their “class war”, most Burners don’t care how much money the person next to them has. It’s about what you bring to the party. We’re all the same in a dust storm and in the porta-potties. Camping in an RV doesn’t stop the call of Nature happening when you’re far away from your camp; and having success in your career doesn’t somehow make you a “bad Burner”. Radical Inclusion never meant “poor hippies only”.

BMOrg would do well to respect the community’s concerns, instead of continuing with the party line of the last few months: misdirection, silence, and laughing it all off.

In 2011, 5000 bikes were left behind. image: WendeWho Thompson, flickr/Creative Commons

In 2011, 5000 bikes were left behind. image: WendeWho Thompson, flickr/Creative Commons

I bought my RV on eBay for $19,000. And we still take dumps in the portapotties.

I bought my RV on eBay for $19,000. It’s made it to the last 4 Burns. It didn’t magically make me never need to use a portapotty ever again. It’s nice to have a comfy bed, air conditioning, a fridge and an ice maker, and shelter from wind and dust storms. Plus the stereo CRANKS.


 

[Update 11/81/14 9:22am]

Caveat Magister has tried to explain himself with another post: Why Am I Making Fun of Burners. In it, he claims:

- he is speaking for himself, not the org

- he is against Commodification Camps

- the issue is gentrification, not Commodification Camps

Nice try, but it flies in the face of logic. BMOrg are the ones placing the Commodification Camps, giving them early access passes, scalping tickets to them all year while shutting STEP down early, and appointing people behind them to their Board of Directors.

The issue is Commodification Camps, not rich people or “the spectrum of turkeys”.

Perhaps soon, we will see a post at burningman.com “Why BMOrg Are Not Taking Burners Seriously”. Because, gentrification is too big of a problem for them to fix in their temporary city? I call bullshit.

In the comments to Caveat’s initial post, Burner Dani said:

Maybe the plan all along was to dynamite the burn. Let some board member fuck everyone over. Lose all the volunteers. Piss off artists and the people that let’s face it, MAKE THE EVENT. And then slink off with millions in cash and not have to do again.

The man this year burned a long time. Long enough to say forever?

They still haven’t updated their web site to add the dates for 2015…just sayin’…

[Update 11/19/14 00:07 am]

Like Halcyon before him, Caveat has experienced the shitstorm, and changed his position with a mea culpa.

I’ve stopped trying to respond to comments both because I can’t keep up and because I don’t really think there’s a demand for “more Caveat.”

But I want to address what you’ve just brought up and say: I can’t speak for Answergirl or Will, but this one is all on me. No one set me up to be a “sacrificial lamb.” I’m the guy who said to himself “Hey, how about I write a funny list?” and then by God went all the way with it. I am wholly, and solely, responsible for whatever jackassery I write.

And while it is damn uncomfortable to be in the middle of an internet shitstorm, I don’t think I have any room to ask people to make it less personal. Because I led with a joke. I made fun of something that a lot of people are truly passionate about, and the fact that I hoped it would go over better isn’t an excuse. I didn’t start with a well-reasoned, gentle, epistle: I opened with a joke, I laughed at a topic they take seriously, and of course that makes it personal. I don’t have to agree with a word of it (or think I “deserve” it) … but I believe firmly that if you’re going to prank, you have to take responsibility when the prank goes wrong. I fucked this up, so, okay: people get to tell me I’m a terrible human being in a variety of ways. It sucks, but they mean it to suck, and I started it.

I really appreciate your consideration, though. Thank you.

And for what it’s worth: many commenters here are right. I didn’t “get it.” I thought the issue was about gentrification – and actually I think it still is. But (it seems to me) what the people screaming at me are screaming at me about is *accountability.* I might be right that the underlying issue is one of gentrification – that’s my opinion, I mean it, and I’m entitled to it. But when they say “you’re not hearing our complaint, you’re not getting what we’re talking about,” they were right. I missed their point.

Still no official word from BMOrg since their “coming soon” post more than a week ago.

Burner Metapony brought up an interesting parallel with a past situation – why comment directly, when you have a volunteer army of disposable pranksters at your disposal?