Following on from yesterday’s exploration of Art Patronage and the Class Divide, thanks to Burner KP for pointing out this story that came out after last year’s Burn. It seems like Town and Country magazine flew in on a private jet, went straight to their pre-stocked RVs, and sipped Krug like it was just another day at the races.
Perhaps Martha Stewart will be cooking on TV live from the Playa next. With all the appropriate permits from the Nevada Health Department of course.
It’s easy to see why people vote against plug-n-play camping, after reading this. Turn your nose up, “my god! No rich people. What assholes! They’re not Burners! Eating steaks and drinking champagne at Burning Man! Ban them! Burn them!” But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it - that would be ignorant, not to mention jealous. Krug Grand Cuvee is one of the most delicious champagnes in the world, you can drink it all day and feel great the next day. The Cessna Citation X shown in the photo is the world’s fastest private jet, it flies just under the speed of sound at 50,000 feet. When I flew in one once from Lake Tahoe to Cabo San Lucas with 5 friends, we all thought it was one of the best experiences of our lives. I have friends who have thrown birthday parties or weddings at Burning Man before. It’s a tricky problem when your birthday happens during Burning Man, it means if you want to go then a lot of your friends can’t celebrate your birthday with you. Throwing a big bash on the Playa will entice more friends to come to the Burn with you. So what if it was catered, and they poured champagne? Wouldn’t you like to throw a party on the Playa and bring 100 of your friends from all around the world to enjoy Burning Man with you, if you had the opportunity?
- they flew in and out on a private plane, reducing traffic on the roads
- they brought DJs they’d booked to play for tens of thousands at a main stage they funded
- they brought videographers who made Dr Seuss YouTubes
- they got picked up at the airport in one of the art cars they funded
- it brought them to their pre-stocked RVs which had been set up by professionals so that they were in the right area and wouldn’t offend any neighbors, or look like an imposing “RV Fortress Camp”
- the RVs were in a camp with a free bar pouring cocktails for any and all who swing by
- they fully participated in the party, gifted like crazy, travelled around and experienced other camps and met Burners and got their butt crack full of Playa dust?
Radical inclusion means that yes, we might have to allow some rich assholes in, and yes, we might have to allow some poor assholes in, and yes, there probably will be drunk assholes as well. Even some of the authorities will be assholes. You know what? Deal with it. Embrace everyone. If they’re such assholes that they cause problems, give them a Burner strike. Send them to Moop Rehab camp, make it a fun thing where they learn the ideology while having a laugh with others.
Let the rich people do their thing, let them have whatever they want to enjoy the party. If that’s servants, great – they’re providing opportunities for others who aren’t rich to experience Burning Man too. If it’s pre-made camps, that’s actually going to solve a lot of problems with annoying neighbors. There will be people in the camp who are paid to ensure everyone has a good time, learns the Burning Man way, and that all the moops are picked up.
Rich people that come in from around the world might not be like everyone on the streets of San Francisco, but they are not Burning Man’s enemy – their patronage is as essential to the art as the artists talent. The history of art shows that most great artists would not have achieved fame and success without rich people to buy their works and otherwise sponsor their creations. In the case of Burning Man, all art cars, art projects and theme camps are labors of love from teams of people. Take the patrons away, and the art car isn’t going to get there on love alone. This makes the patron’s role more important than the truck driver’s.