Words To Soothe The Savage Beast

Yesterday morning I got an email from BMOrg CEO Maid Marian. She asked:

Do you monitor our blog so that you see whatever is put up immediately as it is put up? Or would you like me to send you the link of the blog I’m about to post so you have it in hand?

I took this positively: Burners were finally going to get some answers to the questions they’ve been asking for the last 2+ months since the event ended. Sadly, work and travel commitments prevented Marian from publishing that post.

Instead we got a placeholder:

Turnkey Camps Moving Towards Effective Solutions

…These are some of the questions members of our community have raised:

Is the Burning Man organization profiting off turnkey camps?
How did turnkey camps get all their tickets?
Do turnkey camps get preferential treatment?
Were people buying blocks of tickets through the Burning Man Project donation ticket program in the days before the event? If so, why?
Are turnkey camps undermining the practice of Decommodification and Self-Reliance?
What is going to happen to the turnkey camps going forward? Is there accountability for poor behavior?

The importance of these questions requires collaboration and input from a wide variety of people including staff, theme camp leaders, artists, Regional Network leaders, turnkey camp producers, and participants. We are still gathering information and identifying the most effective solutions.

We assure you we are listening and discussing real reforms.

2015 sdp happens on the playa stays

Artist “Simon De La Playa” thinks a revolution against the rich is the answer

The backlash was immediate, almost 100 comments in the first 12 hours – no pot-stirring from Burners.Me was required, although it appears that all the comments came after we linked to BMOrg’s post from our Facebook page.

Some Burners threatened a bloody revolution: “it’s time to eat the rich”, as if Burning Man hasn’t always been full of rich people. Others went so far as to threaten attacks with Weapons of Mass Destruction: not something that should even be joked about in this day and age.

Turning into terrorists and anarchists over a party is a little extreme. Rather than creating a Marxist-inspired class war that sees the disenfranchised rent-controlled poor of San Francisco attacking their real estate-owning wealthy neighbors….Burners need to stick together.

It is BMOrg that are making the decisions that enable Commodification Camps with placement and tickets. Our protests should be directed towards them, not each other. And there is no need for violence, threats, tire-slashing, RV burning, or WMDs.

If they were listening, they’d call these camps what they are: Commodification Camps. Instead, they persist with trying to define a spectrum of turkey camps, where there are only a few bad examples at one end, and thousands of good ones at the other. It appears that Burners aren’t buying this BS.

While we wait for the next “coming soon” post, here are some comments from the Burner community:

Bear: It seems as if some of these questions could be answered easily if the answers didn’t require spin.

No It’s Not That Complicated: I’m just curious to know, if this blog post written with a straight face. It practically feels like a pot-stirring prank.

This Guy:

This isn’t a “complicated” issue. This shouldn’t even be an issue.

Preferential treatment for turnkey rich-kid camps should NOT exist. They should be on a totally even playing field. If Bob Richguy wants to organize 50 RVs for him and his closest friends with absolutely no interactive elements in his camp, he should not be let in early to claim space, or have reserved space anywhere, or have preferential ticket treatment, or access to handicapped golf carts, or anything like that. I honestly don’t give a damn if Bob Richguy brings himself and 100 awful people who are just there to get high and ride segways to and from Robot Heart. I give a damn that you guys have been caught giving preferential special treatment to these camps. I give a damn that JT was obviously guilty and he should have known better. I give a damn that I go out there and bust my ass for weeks to build a city, for free (for the most part, other than a comped ticket because I give up my entire burn to build), and you are commodifying my work and selling it for a high price. I give a huge damn that the people who SHOULD know better at the ones perpetuating this.

This is disgusting obfuscation, and you’re going to sweep it under the rug like you did in 2012 with that horrible ten minute video where the PlayaSkool guy was like “Yeah, well, we want people to be able to come to burning man, do no work, pay me huge amounts of money, and then let me write it all off on my taxes,” in a nutshell. It shouldn’t take months to write out an answer or even start a discussion.

Shame on you. Shame on every single one of you…

I’ll answer your questions for you, even, using the latest available information! Here we go! It’s 6:54pm right now…

Is the Burning Man organization profiting off turnkey camps?
– Not necessarily, there are indications the camp(s) didn’t even break even, but the attempt was there to make money. 17,000 for a spot. Someone made money. Probably JT, all things considered.

How did turnkey camps get all their tickets?
– Maid Marion at the SoHo house, BMORG members at special rich-kid presentations where they were sold for $650 or more, and that special link via Steve Young that allowed “benefactors” to purchase tickets at scalper inflated prices.

Do turnkey camps get preferential treatment?
– Yes, they get EA, a special place to stage their RVs prior to opening (This was very obviously apparent if you were in early or looked at the google map images of early build), the individuals within camps got plenty of handicap placards for whatever they wanted to drive, they got access to as many tickets as they wanted through Steve Yougn, and they even usurped a huge friendly neighborhood at 9:00 and K with placement, and a disgusting mark left on the MOOP map.

Were people buying blocks of tickets through the Burning Man Project donation ticket program in the days before the event? If so, why?
– Yes, and because… because BMORG is a sack of hypocritical cash-out money-grubbing folks. At least, that’s the only reason I can see.

Are turnkey camps undermining the practice of Decommodification and Self-Reliance?
– Absolutely, and any attempt to spin this any other way is plain and simple BS.

What is going to happen to the turnkey camps going forward? Is there accountability for poor behavior?

– Nothing. You’re going to sweep this under the rug. Also, there is no accountability as of right now, seeing as NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.

6:58pm. Wow, it took four minutes. Hot damn! Not that hard, guys.


The Bottom Line:

The Bottom Line is-
Of course the BM org knows about the questions, this is their blog.

The Bottom Line is-
if this was a mistake and the BMorg felt bad about things they would be gushing, they are not.

The Bottom Line is-
by NOT ANSWERING months of questions indicates
YES burning man has changed and will now a a big time profit event.

The Bottom Line is-
If you are not smart enough to see the hand writing on the walls then you are not paying attention. The BMorg is giving the OK to make money on burning man.

The Bottom Line is-
It is time to rake in the money on BM,
the BMorg is raking in piles of money and so should you.

If you operate the right way there is nothing wrong with
making $100,000 at burning man in 2015 and $500,000 in 2016.

Having fun and making money, the BMorg is doing it and so should you.

But of course remember, just like taking pictures at BM and setting up off-Playa BM events, the BMorg owns your ass on their turf and they will expect a piece of of the profit from “your action” just like in the default world, just like mafia underlings kick money up to the big boss, just like drug dealers/whore house operators pay bribes to the Police to run their operations, just like Lobbyist pay bribes to politicians to “get things done”… you will have to pay off Larry and BMorg to operate on their turf.
Just like all deals with the devil, there is a price to pay.

fri-net-ik brings the WMD threat into the mix – ironically, of course (emphasis ours):

I’m another ’99er with 13 visits to BRC (that’s 4 months on the playa) and placed since 2008 in a very privileged place. Those are my credentials, and here’s my opinion.

I’m really hazy on exactly what defines a turnkey camp as opposed to what I’ve seen over the years. I hate RVs with a passion and think they’re antithetic to radical self-reliance. However, I know there are artists who have been on the playa for weeks before me building large scale art who just want to chill for the event week. So I accept that they should be allowed. You’re complaining about turnkey camps now? In 2004 we camped on A and ended up directly across from a block-long RV wall. And that was the first year shit service was offered so we got to smell their shit being sucked every other day. You want to talk about things ruining the event? Why was commercial RV service started? But that was 2004 and hey, guess what? I’ll bet the majority of people weren’t even around to notice, but BRC still rose and fell and different people kept coming and there were more and more RVs. So I don’t really care if a turnkey camp has a wall of RVs – there are plenty of regular assholes who use them that way.

Also – how many of you spent your first year building your camp from scratch and tearing it all down at the end? If you didn’t, then why weren’t you considered a turnkey resident and shunned out of hand? Did you pay camp dues to be part of a more experienced camp? Then how was what you did different from hiring a sherpa? How many of you who spent your first year like that and came back the next year fully prepared to participate and volunteer and build? How many of the well-off turnkey folks do you think caught the bug and are already working on sinking their resources into a phenomenal art structure?

I hear there was a camp that made an unholy mess. Why is Root Society still welcome after years of being in the red, then? As I understand it Disturbia was kicked out in 99 or 00 for repeated red-level MOOP map offenses after many years as a landmark village. Why was this year the greenest MOOP map ever if all these virgins and turnkeys aren’t respecting probably the most important principle of LNT? You can’t point at one and say they’re all like that, because they don’t know each other and didn’t make a plan together to do it. If these are placed camps and they do that, don’t welcome them back.

How exactly is commodification defined? How much did you spend at Wal-mart in Fernley or Reno? I know a lot of you are because it shows in the tax boost in these cities around the event. How much did you spend on your vehicle, your RV, your costumes, gas, plane tickets, etc.? How many of you stripped and/or covered the corporate logos on your clothes, your backpack, your rented RV, your moving van? Did you know that if you didn’t you were advertising for commodities? Burning Man’s principle of decommodification has always just been shifting the consumerism to pre-event. But hey, it’s just a principle, not a rule, right? And I challenge you to tell me a way this can possibly be avoided. That’s why I laugh at people who welcome me “home” – it’s one of the most important things in my life, but there aren’t the quantity or appropriate gifts to make it sustainable as a home.

And if Burning Man hasn’t always been populated through commodification, then why was the year with the most and best art I’ve seen on the esplanade in 2000, when dot-commers were driving Ferraris and all of Silicon Valley emptied out to the playa? And why was it so barren in 2003 when I finally made it back and nobody had any money any more? You can thank the BRAF and the Burning Man partial ticket sales price for leveling that out, and now you can also thank the early ticket buyers for donating so much to these institutions.

So there. I could say more, but this at least skims proving the fact that Burning Man has always had turnkey camps and commodification. And there goes Black Rock City but for the grace of us participants each year.

I’m also a little confused about how a non-profit can be greedily profit-based. I don’t know much about non-profits, but the name suggests that it isn’t going to try to make a profit off of you. Larry used to say that Burning Man wasn’t non-profit, it was no-profit. And then there got to be a profit for 10 years and he and the borg went non-profit. And the ticket prices are lower now than they were in the ’00s.

My only problem is the possible rigging of the ticket system. Except for my camp’s, because we put the planning and effort into being a theme camp. How are theme camp directed tickets all that different from turnkey directed tickets?

Anyway, my most important question:
Do you think an EMP would destroy a Segway’s balancing computers? Can you direct an EMP like you can explosives or a gun? How many watts would it take vs distance from the Segway? Because I’d hate to get caught slashing the tires of parked ones.

Kidding! I used to ride a chainsaw-engine scooter until I was shamed into turning it into something that looked more creative. Can we shame the able-bodied Segway riders into dressing things up a bit so they don’t look like such tools, er, spectators?


“BMORG is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: “I, the BMORG, am BRC.”

It is a lie! It was creators who created BRC, and hung a faith and a love over it: thus they served BRC.

The BMORG lies in all the tongues of good and evil; and whatever it says it lies; and whatever it has it has stolen.

Everything in the BMORG is false; it bites with stolen teeth, and bites often. It is false down to its bowels.

See how BMORG entices them to BRC, the all-too-many! How it swallows and chews and rechews them!

“In BRC there is nothing greater than I: I am the governing hand of God.”- thus roars the monster.

You became weary of conflict, and now your weariness serves the new idol!

It will give everything to you, if you worship it, the new idol: thus it buys the lustre of your virtue, and the glance of your proud eyes.

Through you it seeks to seduce the all-too-many!

Behold the BM PROJECT BOARD! They acquire wealth and become the poorer for it. They seek power, and the lever of power, much money- these impotent ones!

See them clamber, these nimble apes! They clamber over one another, and thus pull each other into the mud and the abyss.”

Marlin again:

How much longer can you stretch this ‘COMING SOON’ “its complicated” “moving parts” bullshit ?

its been over a month.

it isnt that complicated… nothing is.

im just waiting for some response that says “MISTAKES WERE MADE”


are you taking your PR advice from BRIDGESTONE?

y’all are just looking incompetent.. looking like youve got something to hide.

oh, it takes a while to tell the entire infrastructure built up around these for-profit camps that none important of the customers fuckin want that shit? ….yea, i bet it does.


Reading certain posts here, a vision popped into my head.
Law enforcement officers surrounding the lifeless monolithic RV walled for profit commodification camps, guarding them from pranksters and protesters. Ah yes, the police guarding the interests of the .1-.01% right there in BRC just like defaultia, how special.

Hey at least the the rest of us out there could relax a bit with a few less of those absolutist, intrusive, hyper letter of the law, police state LEOs snooping around.

BMORG, the only reason you are saying responding to this is issue is “complicated” is simply because you want to have your profit, er, cake and eat it too. Saying this is blatant obfuscation. Please open your minds and and reflect on what you truly want for this grand and largely successful over the years experiment to be, and where you want it to go in the future.
It is not virgins, it is not the exploitation/commodification camps that are ruining the event, it is you the BORG that is. Only you can ruin it, or nurture it. Just because demand has exceeded ticket supply should not be license to exploit the situation.
Do the right thing. Please.

Oh Burning Man, what have you become?


I hope whatever is put in place also addresses the increase in producers and Commodification Camp leaders claiming in the press that it’s ok for them to have all the bodyguards, wristbands, and private art cars they want because they donated to a art piece or soundcamp. It’s something we see these folks claim time and again when asked to answer on the controversy, and it comes across as though these folks don’t understand the point of gifting. It means you give something – like art, or a famous DJ playing a set- lovingly and thoughtfully to the community with pure intent with no strings attached, not that you throw some money at something big and shiny to placate the masses as a get out of jail free card to dismiss entitled and rude behavior. There is room for improvement in the orgs acculturation efforts with these people if they don’t get this. Gifting, and the point of it, should be explained a little more clearly…



“the most important questions to consider are not those that are most frequently asked: will the Burning Man ethos be absorbed and commodified, exploited by the so-called mainstream; will the identity that we’ve achieved together be perverted into just another branding device? The answer to these questions is a simple and emphatic no! The Project and our regional contacts diligently work to prevent this.” -larry harvey

“Let community and commerce do their thing freely and naturally within their own contexts. When they exist in an organic rather than a corrupt or artificial relationship, they’ll naturally benefit each other.” -”Zay” (a regional contact)

“Using the tools of the world, using them, in fact, more efficiently and for a better purpose than the world does isn’t selling out.” -larry harvey

“it would be too much to expect that we said “you know, well, we’ll make it completely non commercial because that will be the really commercial move here.. we’re gonna bond people to our brand and that’s how we’re gonna….” ..not even rupert murdoch would come up with that idea..” -larry harvey

“Town & Country Magazine contacted us post-event for photo review and permission. By that time, we had found out that this was not a real Burning Man event, but a product placement story, and we refused permission for Town & Country to publish any photographs from the event. Sadly, they sent the story to press anyway, very much in violation of the photographer’s agreement with Burning Man which prohibited any such publication. Unfortunately, the timing was too short for us to file a lawsuit against them enjoining the publication. That’s what BMHQ does to prevent this type of commodification.” -this blog

….oh Larry.. ….oh regional contact person….. youre so out of touch..

….and remember when town and country did that thing, and you tried to appeal to us by saying “THATS WHAT THE HQ DOES TO PREVENT COMMODIFICATION!!!” …i.e. threaten lawsuits.

those times were so cute.

larry was more on the mark here…

“As I say, gift giving networks can produce massive amounts of social capital, and the rate of return on social capital is a lot better than the rate of return on normal capital investment in the market world.” -larry harvey 2002

..yep,… but what happens when ya lose that social capital?

Simon of the Playa threatens Revolution, using Burning Man as the Front Lines of the battlefield for his own hatred of anyone richer than him:

2014 sdp posters are you going

Fight each other: save Burning Man? Artist: Simon De La Playa

Burning Man has always been way ahead of the curve…

that “curve” time keeps getting shorter, and this is a direct result of social media and instantaneous worldwide communication.

Maybe what we are seeing is a pre-cursor, a foreshadowing of coming events.

art imitating life.

The Current state of Economic Disparity looms large upon the global psyche and it appears to be making an early appearence (notice how i refrained from using the word ‘manifesting’) in our community.

The Revolution is Coming…

we’ve had enough of this 1%er bull shit.

it’s no surprise that Burning Man is the Front Lines.

We’ll let BMOrg’s Minister of Propaganda Will Chase have the last word:

I totally understand your frustration, but it’s a very complicated issue. Any decisions we make will affect a whole host of established internal processes and the people who run them. These need to be carefully thought through and worked out with a number of different departments to ensure that what we do is actually workable and effective.

“Internal processes and the people who run them”…what, exactly, is their stake in ticket scalping to Commodification Camps? What are the complexities surrounding this issue?

Read the full selection of comments here – add your own to the mix, after all: they’re listening.

20 comments on “Words To Soothe The Savage Beast

  1. Pingback: BMOrg Hath Spoken | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Other than United Rentals offering services, were any of these vendors actually selling anything at Burning Man? I don’t think you can compare this to selling coffee. You still can’t show up at Burning Man empty handed and buy everything you need at different camps like you can at a music festival.

    • The list seems to include some – but not all – Commodification Camps. I agree that Burning Man is still a long way away from having a shopping mall, and that’s a good thing. But let’s not pretend there isn’t any commerce there. At some of these camps, people definitely showed up empty handed and had all their needs taken care of.

  3. Pingback: Blazed and Confused: the Simpsons Aftermath | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  4. The turnkey camps had absolutely zero impact on my burn this year. What bothers me is the Saturday warriors – the people that come in for the last weekend, complain about everything, don’t know anything about culture or MOOP, are usually lost and pissy about it, and are usually darkwads. The best time at the burn is usually Monday – Thursday, for this reason.

    I wish they’d close the gate Thurday at 11:59 PM. Let’s see if EDM kiddos are willing to spend $800 on a scalped ticket if it means they actually have to survive in the desert for a few days.

    The turnkey camps might have it easy, but the couple of rich guys that I met were there the whole time and drinking the burner kool-aid. That’s more than I can say for some others.

  5. “Do you monitor OUR blog”

    This possessive language is telling. I’ve seen it a lot for burners who think they’re above whoever they’re speaking to. It puts the listener at a distance, like they’re unqualified to even speak.

    There is nothing that BMorg owns that wasn’t paid for by burners. If she wasn’t such an ego-witch, she would have referred to the blog as ‘the’ blog, or the blog on burningman.com, etc … rather, it’s THIER blog, and you’re lucky to even be reading it.

    • “Never forget that narcissists (full fledged ones) are nice and friendly only when:

      c. They have just been infused with an overdose of Narcissistic Supply and they feel magnanimous and magnificent and ideal and perfect. To show magnanimity is a way of flaunting one’s impeccable divine credentials. It is an act of grandiosity. You are an irrelevant prop in this spectacle, a mere receptacle of the narcissist’s overflowing, self-contented infatuation with his False Self.”

      • They’re getting off on the negative attention from the turkey drama. Many narcissists prefer their Narcissistic Supply to originate from positive attention, such as validation, love, or admiration. However, negative attention is still a form of attention and can serve as Narcissistic Supply. The attention a narcissist manages to garner either publicly (such as fame or infamy) or privately (through interpersonal relationships) is referred to as his Narcissistic Supply.

        In the absence of good quality heroin, BMorg is tapping the mephedrone hard; heroin’s cheap rival.

  6. Profit on the Playa

    Someone somewhere else said it was against the BLM permit for profit on the playa. This is partly true: any commercial activity has to be reported to BLM and then BLM gets a 3% cut of the profit.

    12. Commercial activities are prohibited within BRC, unless specifically authorized in advance by the BLM and BRC. BRC will inform BLM representatives of unauthorized commercial operations discovered at the event and the corrective actions being implemented within a reasonable time of learning about the activities. This includes but is not limited to commercial film production, photography, food services or other independent commercial ventures not affiliated with BRC.

    Source: https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/39776/49122/53431/DR_Burning_Man.pdf

    In addition to items (a), (b), (c), and (d) and the 13 Terms and Conditions on the back of the permit form (2930-2), the following special stipulations are included as part of this permit.
     1. The permittee is responsible for submitting post-use information to BLM within 30 days after the event. The number of participants per/day and the total gross receipts for vendor sales are required information to be included in the post-use report.
     2. The permittee is responsible for payment of 3% of gross receipts from vendor sales.
    Source: https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/39377/48290/52453/2014_RV_Stipulations.pdf

    There is a list of vendors from 2013 (see below) but not from 2014. There is a BLM person who would know the amount of revenue collected from the vendors and who they were in 2014, his name is David Freiberg @ 208-732-7271.

    2013 Burning Man Vendor Application/Permit
    Company Name Name Vendor Type
    1 Advantage Caravans Alex Busygin RV
    2 Advantage Flight Solutions Bryan Lang Air
    3 Ahern Rentals Matt Szabo Camp Service
    4 Alpine Aviation Gordan Mills Air
    5 Ardent Heavy Industries Ian Baker Camp Service
    6 Audio Visual Advisors Allen Davis Camp Service
    7 Benlty Biofules Compamy LLC Rosanna Smith Camp Service
    8 Black Rock Rental Matthew Ebert RV
    9 Bonanza Produce Co Robert Hernandez Camp Service
    10 Boutique Air Henri Revel Air
    11 Carmen Transportation Larry Mallick Camp Service
    12 Cashman Equipment Co Sarah Shields Camp Service
    13 Centurion Flight Services Chris Brown Air
    14 Classic Adventures RV Dane Johnson RV
    15 Custom Water Works Dennis Naffziger Camp Service
    16 Devine Intermodal Bennie Gamble Camp Service
    17 Digital Apex Artist Group Kurt Kavfeldt Camp Service
    18 Dusty LLC Pete Killcommons Air
    19 El Aero John Kelly Air
    20 El Monte RV Don Price RV
    21 ES Power Systems Arlene Larsen Camp Service
    22 Event Production Inc Denis Egan Camp Service
    23 Glamis RV Rental Albert Alarcon RV
    24 Green Tortoise Lyle Kent Camp Service
    25 Hammertone Products-motion masters William Perkins Camp Service
    26 McKinnies Equipment Co, DBA MECO Bill McKinnies Camp Service
    27 Natomas Towing William McNiol Camp Service
    28 Nevada Generator Systems Wyatt Morency Camp Service
    29 North Valley Wreckers Kenny Golden RV
    30 Playa Air Express Dionne Chinn Air
    31 Praxair Distribution, Inc Todd Richard Camp Service
    32 Reno Flying Service John Burruel Air
    33 Reno Tahoe Toy Rentals Tim Hawkins RV
    34 San Diego RV Rentals Sandie Contreras RV
    35 Sani-Huts Company Inc Linda Martinez RV/Camp Service
    36 Share My Coach Joseph Hill RV
    37 Sierra Fuel Co Myneer Walker Camp Service
    38 Silver Sage Aviation Dan Urquhart Air
    39 Sunshare Las Vegas Edwinda Owens RV
    40 Susanville Aviation Peter Datema Air
    41 Table Nectar Andrew Tannehill Camp Service
    42 The Bus Bank Andrew Ripani Camp Service
    43 Thomas Petroleum Paul Anderson Camp Service
    44 United Rentals Craig Dotson Camp Service
    45 Quick Space Genna Tonneslan Camp Service

    Source: https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/36937/44192/47579/List_of_Vendors.pdf

    More info from BLM: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_information/nepa0/recreation.html

    • One point, that is critical and the the BOrg is hoping to exploit with you will keeping it fuzzy: You said “3% cut of the profit,” when later BLM says “3% of gross receipts from vendor sales.” Please do not confuse “profit” with “revenues.”

  7. “Never forget that narcissists (full fledged ones) are nice and friendly only when:

    a. They want something from you – Narcissistic Supply, help, support, votes, money… They prepare the ground, manipulate you and then come out with the “small favour” they need or ask you blatantly or surreptitiously for Narcissistic Supply (“What did you think about my performance…”, “Do you think that I really deserve the Nobel Prize?”).

    b. They feel threatened and they want to neuter the threat by smothering it with oozing pleasantries.

    c. They have just been infused with an overdose of Narcissistic Supply and they feel magnanimous and magnificent and ideal and perfect. To show magnanimity is a way of flaunting one’s impeccable divine credentials. It is an act of grandiosity. You are an irrelevant prop in this spectacle, a mere receptacle of the narcissist’s overflowing, self-contented infatuation with his False Self.

    This beneficence is transient. Perpetual victims often tend to thank the narcissist for “little graces”. This is the Stockholm syndrome: hostages tend to emotionally identify with their captors rather than with the police. We are grateful to our abusers and tormentors for ceasing their hideous activities and allowing us to catch our breath.”

    From: “Narcissistic Abuse: From Victim to Survivor in 6 Steps”

    Vaknin provides some advice that works interpersonally, but not how to constructively engage an NPD organization. Still, his NPD characterizations help one understand the otherwise unexplained actions of the BOrg, AND the dedication of their faithful:

    “I have only one nagging doubt, though: If the relationship with a narcissist is so rewarding, why are inverted narcissists so unhappy, so ego-dystonic, so in need of help (professional or otherwise)? Aren’t they victims who simply experience the Stockholm syndrome (=identifying with the kidnapper rather than with the Police) and who deny their own torment?”

    • Sam Vaknin suggested reading link:

      “The “grab as you can and damn the consequences to yourself and to others” mentality spreads across generations and among peers. There is no refuge as collectives, large (nations, the church) and small (family, workplace, neighbourhood) are rendered dysfunctional by rapid-fire changes and commensurate enabling technology. Our very ability to self-organize, self-assemble, and act in unison is in jeopardy as is our future as a species.”

      “In their book “Personality Disorders in Modern Life”, Theodore Millon and Roger Davis state, as a matter of fact, that pathological narcissism was the preserve of “the royal and the wealthy” and that it “seems to have gained prominence only in the late twentieth century”. Narcissism, according to them, may be associated with “higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs … Individuals in less advantaged nations .. are too busy trying (to survive) … to be arrogant and grandiose”.

      They – like Lasch before them – attribute pathological narcissism to “a society that stresses individualism and self-gratification at the expense of community, namely the United States.” They assert that the disorder is more prevalent among certain professions with “star power” or respect. “In an individualistic culture, the narcissist is ‘God’s gift to the world’. In a collectivist society, the narcissist is ‘God’s gift to the collective'”.”

      “With 7 billion humans on the planet, the need to assert oneself, to be noticed, to be recognized as unique is ever more pressing. No one likes to feel a cog in a machine, an atom in an organism, or a speck among billions. Consumerism and mass communication that lead to global cultural and societal homogeneity foster the same narcissistic reactions and provoke the same narcissistic defenses in whole collectives as they do in individuals.”

      “Human collectives – states, firms, households, institutions, political parties, cliques, bands – acquire a life and a character all their own. The longer the association or affiliation of the members, the more cohesive and conformist the inner dynamics of the group, the more persecutory or numerous its enemies, the more intensive the physical and emotional experiences of the individuals it is comprised of, the stronger the bonds of locale, language, and history – the more rigorous might an assertion of a common pathology be.

      Such an all-pervasive and extensive pathology manifests itself in the behavior of each and every member. It is a defining – though often implicit or underlying – mental structure. It has explanatory and predictive powers. It is recurrent and invariable – a pattern of conduct melded with distorted cognition and stunted emotions. And it is often vehemently denied.

      A possible DSM-like list of criteria for narcissistic organizations or groups:

      An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning at the group’s early history and present in various contexts. Persecution and abuse are often the causes – or at least the antecedents – of the pathology.

      Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:

      1. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – feel grandiose and self-important (e.g., they exaggerate the group’s achievements and talents to the point of lying, demand to be recognized as superior – simply for belonging to the group and without commensurate achievement).

      2. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – are obsessed with group fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance, bodily beauty or performance, or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering ideals or political theories.

      3. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – are firmly convinced that the group is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status groups (or institutions).

      4. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wish to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

      5. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – feel entitled. They expect unreasonable or special and favourable priority treatment. They demand automatic and full compliance with expectations. They rarely accept responsibility for their actions (“alloplastic defences”). This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      6. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – are “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., use others to achieve their own ends. This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      7. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – are devoid of empathy. They are unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of other groups. This often leads to anti- social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      8. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – are constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about them. This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      9. The group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group – are arrogant and sport haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted. This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.”


  8. stick poking the person who supplied this post with its artwork seems kind of silly.

    pick your battles or something.

    we know youre a raging capitalist, thats fine..

    but you dont have to be a dick about it

    • If you’re trying to say that artists shouldn’t battle against other artists, I agree. BMOrg are the ones creating this situation, not artists. Our protests should be against them, not directed at each other as some are calling for.

      If you ask me, calling for Burning Man to be the front lines of an armed revolution against the rich is what’s silly here. The fact that the artist uses violent imagery to make his points is somewhat concerning – a sign that people are taking this party way too seriously. It’s all fun and games, ’til a kid pulls a gun on a clown…

  9. “Turning into terrorists and anarchists over a party is a little extreme.” Terrorist, yes that is extreme. Anarchist, well….that is at the heart of what BM is. The people are self-governed. The 10 principles are worded so that we govern ourselves with the mind of creating a better community for all who participate.

    • I think you’re referring to an idealistic vision of the late 80’s/early 90’s, rather than the 21st Century Corporate Retreat and VC Networking Opportunity Burning Man of today. The people are NOT self-governed, that’s a huge part of the problem here – the unelected governors spout principles as rules we must obey, while seeming to ignore them themselves.

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