Blazed and Confused: the Simpsons Aftermath

blazing guy circle

The Simpsons broke, just from its East Coast showing. It’s been down for at least 3 hours now: kind of surprising that BMOrg didn’t have someone working Sunday night in anticipation that something like this might happen.

The Simpsons has been rating very well this season, their recent Family Guy crossover was the #1 non-sports program on TV with 4.5% of households watching it.

simpsons cup cakes

The event is presented as a viable alternative for family camping on Labor Day weekend, and relatively easy to get to. $200 is mentioned as a ticket price for next year.

I think it’s fair to expect a massive increase in ticket demand for 2015, and a massive increase in the number of safari tourists who want to take selfies at Burning Man and cross it off their bucket list. “Oh you went to that thing on the Simpsons?”

I predict a ticket price increase, perhaps to $500 or more. The vehicle tax will stay, and may also be increased.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that the 40%+ Virgins who will be encouraged by this mainstream advertising will all learn our values and read the 20-page Survival Guide before they show up. It’s time to consider some changes to the event, such as more recycling stations and paid clean-up crews. Otherwise, the DPW Restoration volunteer team are just going to get saddled with the MOOP, like they were this year from Caravancicle/Lost Hotel, Gypsy Flower Power, and other camps.

Another consideration would be selling blinky lights at Center Camp. This is a safety issue. Let’s forget about this “all commerce is banned” charade, there were 45 licensed vendors this year. Everything from gasoline to energy drinks is for sale – not to mention AirBnB rooms and merchandise. Let’s banish darkwads, if we can.

simpsons man el pulpo

We’ve heard a rumor – currently unconfirmed – that next year’s theme will be Circus-related. The last rumor we heard was that 2013 would be aliens, we were asked not to repeat that and we respected our source’s request. It turned out to be true when the Cargo Cult Man base was a giant UFO.

Circus seems appropriate, because Burning Man will now be full of ASSclowns, party animals, and frat boy monkeys.

Without giving away too many spoilers, those who feel that there’s more to Burning Man than drugs and nudity will be disappointed with the way Burning Man Blazing Guy was portrayed in the episode. Conservative Marge is initially hesitant about the free-spirited event, until she is unwittingly dosed with magic tea and starts tripping balls – then she loves it all. The aging baby boomers who fondly remember dropping acid in the Sixties will probably be driven to make Burning Man their next family camping destination. It’s surprising to see The Simpsons glorifying drug use in this way; it will only serve to reinforce the negative associations with Burning Man held by many in Defaultia. Disappointingly, there was nothing about any of the Principles. There were no sound camps, and absolutely no untz untz (EDM).

Pranking, shooting guns, tents flying away, dust storms, art cars, funky bicycles, costumes, giant sculptures, a long road trip through the desert to get there, drum circles, even fake Facebook accounts are all referenced.

I found the episode amusing, but not as funny as the earlier Malcolm in the Middle and South Park ones. I give it a 7/10, or three and a half stars.

Good luck getting tickets next year, Burners. I expect a brisk trade for the Commodification Camps and Donation tickets.

Who's the man in the cowboy hat?

Who’s the man in the cowboy hat? home

Millhouse…phone home

92 comments on “Blazed and Confused: the Simpsons Aftermath

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  14. **Not a single Burner with SOMBRERO… not a single FREE HUGS sign to be seen…. sad I am not included in the Simpsom episode…. HA!!! But let it be known: LISA is the ONLY NATURAL BURNER in the Simpsom family!! Likewise, many a ‘tourist’ will come to Playa next year– AND FOR A SINGLE YEAR ONLY!! I like the Burners that return again and again to make it all happen and for US Playa will ALWAYS be the perfect place to be!!! Even as the struggle to get tickets continues…

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  17. That post is full of elitist bullshit and misinformation, and unfortunately it is the same sentiment I’m going to be annoyed with any time this topic comes up around a group of burners for the next year. Burning Man has been on popular shows before, and it will be again. There are always a ton of newbies, frat boys, and people who don’t understand the values burners try to promote, but we still manage to have a good time (because I assume we’d stop going if we didn’t, wouldn’t we?). Ticket prices are based more on the cost of putting on the event than demand – although an argument could be made that higher demand will lead BMorg to try to get a permit for a bigger population, increasing their costs and, therefore, the price of tickets.

    I wish burners would spend less time bitching about how everyone else is ruining “their” event and more time getting excited about promoting our values to more people and giving more people the opportunity to experience some of the amazing things we experience. When did our radically inclusive community become so selfish, jaded, and exclusionary?

    • If you’re going to accuse us of “misinformation”, at least have the courtesy to be specific about what information you think is false.

      If what you’re saying was true – that ticket prices are based more on the cost of putting on the event than demand – then prices would have either increased when the population cap was lifted from 55,000 to 70,000 (because the cost went up), or dropped (because the cost remained steady or only increased slightly, and prices are linked to cost: therefore with many more tickets, the cost per ticket should be much less). Instead they remained the same, while new revenue streams were introduced like the Vehicle Pass (which kept vehicles at the same level as the previous year, and brought in another $1.4 million pure profit, no cost).

      All are welcome at Burning Man, sure…but they should want to BE Burners, not just tourists taking selfies. It gets harder every year for Burners who care about the party to return, while at the same time it is getting easier for Commodification Campers who don’t care to visit and exclude everyone else with wristband-only VIP sections and camps with no interactive component.

      Why is it Veteran Burners who’ve put years of Gifting and Participation into the event, who must be forced out to go to the Regionals? Why can’t all the tourists be acculturated at them first, and then get to come once they care about actually being Burners?

      This is a post about the Simpsons going to Burning Man, it’s hard to see what part of it is “selfish”.

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  19. “Circus seems appropriate, because Burning Man will now be full of ASSclowns, party animals, and frat boy monkeys.”
    Please note the distinction of the “ASS” next to clowns. I’ve spent 5 years on the Playa and everyday while off, wearing a Nose to get people a little more tuned in 🙂

    I too heard the rumor on-Playa this year about the “circus” related theme and if that’s so…WATCH.HOW.KLOWNS,ROLL.OVER.SAFARI.CAMPS.

    Tex Allen

  20. ummm – so many missed opportunities – and what is with the revenge and hate theme – where were the hugs and loving I find at the burn………………..

  21. And once again The Sky is Falling! Oh fuck, tickets sold out… The Sky is Falling! Someone makes a Burning Man movie… Oh god it’s over, The Sky is Falling! Commodifcation/Safari/Tourist camps… Oh me oh my its never going to be the same… TSIF! ! Simpsons episode… Burning Man jumped the shark!! TSIF!! Yeah, I know… 40% virgins kinda sucks. And the Commode/Safari/Touron camp actually has me pretty pissed off. (that shit just needs to stop). But seriously, I love this site but once in awhile it’s like the Fox News of our community! Ebola! Benghazi! Obama care! TSIF!

  22. To be positive, at least it paints a somewhat more darker side of BRC instead of the fluffy Oh The Places Youll Go dealio a couple years ago. That just seemed like false advertising to me. I never felt like BRC was all peaches and roses. Thats kind of what attracted me to it and thats kind of what turns some folks off about it. Although i wasnt too impressed with this Simpsons episode, I enjoyed it and I was glad it didnt fluff the event too much. That won’t stop the bucket listers. I haven’t been in 2 years and I’m not sure I will go back? Hmmmm

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  24. Great job on this site! Amazing, amazing stuff. However, since I think you have figured out the intel component to this whole mess, I’m puzzled as to why you focus so much on the corporatization as opposed to the psyops side. After all, nobody died from seeing a “sponsored by ___ sign” or a Commodification Camp… but testing chemical incapacitants on people or nonviolent tech on unwitting burners is rather dangerous. I figured that part out years ago and opted to stop going. Norquist being there is not important because “he’s conservative” or “he hates taxes” or he “supports legal weed”, it’s important because he’s part of the Black Ops crowd going back to… the original Afghan war. That is why he has a Soviet officers suit that he planned on wearing at Burning Man. Either way, great job, keep it up, and stay safe! You’re messing with some powerful forces…

    The Merry Pranksters Who Hacked the Afghan War.

    …What we were looking at was a data-visualization tool he had created, called Antz. The patterns on the screen reflected actual information from the environs in Jalalabad—records of attacks on coalition forces, funding and logistical data for various reconstruction projects, the movements of people. Warner believed the program was a step toward better intelligence analysis. But he made a point of telling me that none of the information on the screen was classified. He had built the model entirely from freely available data that he and his team had harvested from the city.

    I was at best half right in my guess about Warner’s occupation. He did indeed work for U.S. intelligence sometimes, he explained, but he wasn’t a spy. On principle, he refused to get a security clearance, out of a belief in something he called “radical inclusion.” The most valuable information in a conflict or disaster zone, he said, was information that could be shared with everybody.

    The term radical inclusion stopped me. I recognized it from the summer of 1998, when I had gone to Burning Man, the hedonistic-fire-worshipper-art-festival that occurs every summer in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Radical inclusion is one of the event’s “Ten Principles.” When I mentioned this, Warner’s eyes lit up. He dug into his T-shirt and pulled out a shining Burning Man medallion. “Dude,” he said, grinning in the firelight. “This is a Burner bar.”

    WARNER’S ENTIRE TEAM—WHICH he called, in all seriousness, the Synergy Strike Force—had just attended Burning Man that summer. He himself had been attending annually since 2002. And the bar, it turned out, was his bar.

    Warner held the lease on the Taj, and he ran it with the help of an Afghan man, a former shepherd turned beekeeper turned tobacconist turned pool cleaner turned guesthouse manager named Mehrab. By design, the Taj sat “outside the wire,” beyond the security perimeter of the nearby coalition airfield. It was not only a place to drink and flop but also a kind of grand social experiment—an outpost of the Burning Man ethos in the Afghan desert.

    What Warner meant when he called the Taj a “Burner bar” was that it operated, in part, according to a barter system. One of the standing rules at the guesthouse was that any expat could exchange information for booze. In a war zone where so many different agencies, companies, and contractors passed like wary ships in the night, one of the biggest problems was that no one could coordinate knowledge. No one, that is, except maybe a bartender. Under the banner of “Beer for Data,” Warner had turned the Taj into a major clearinghouse for information in Jalalabad. It accumulated by the terabyte on his hard drives: construction plans, hydrology surveys, health-clinic locations, election polling sites, names of farmers, number of trees on their farms, number of acres. What Warner collected he then passed on to the United Nations, the Pentagon, and anyone else who asked for it.

    Warner let on that there was a lot more to tell, and that he was making a trip into the field a couple days later. But he offered no invitation, and I went to bed, leaving him at his laptop.

    And that was how I met Dr. Dave: a former U.S. Army drill instructor, self-avowed “hippie doctor,” PhD neuroscientist, technotopian idealist, dedicated Burner, dabbler in psychedelics, insatiable meddler, and (weirdest of all) defense contractor. Unlike the guys who had come to the war mainly for the hazard pay, Warner seemed genuinely bent on something far grander—redeeming the debacle of Afghanistan through the gospel of open information.

    …. He had connections in the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, the Army Special Forces, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He also knew what an unlikely figure he cut—a Burner among bureaucrats. When I asked him later why the Department of Defense had turned to him, he shook his head and laughed. “Oh,” he said, “they’re fucking desperate.”

    ….I SPENT THE NEXT few days back at the Taj getting to know the Synergy Strike Force—essentially a loose-knit collective of volunteers and contractors who followed Dr. Dave. The name may have been whimsical, but it wasn’t a joke. Warner showed me a military-style patch he’d designed himself, displaying a white- winged, faceless angel holding a caduceus in one hand, a lightning bolt in the other, and the Earth cradled between the two.

    Three members of the group were living at the Taj full-time: Jennifer Gold, 26, a National Guard intelligence analyst who had decided to stay in Afghanistan after her deployment ended; Rachel Robb, 27, a human-rights advocate with experience mainly in South America; and her husband, Juan Rodriguez, 28, a photographer from Colombia. Others made occasional visits, including a pink-haired futurist from San Francisco.

    As far as I could tell, being part of the group basically entailed living at the Taj, finding problems, and fixing them. “This is the whole idea behind the Synergy Strike Force—don’t come here with a project that you’re going to try to impose on people,” Robb told me one afternoon in the Taj’s grassy courtyard. “Come here, spend time with people and see what’s needed, and see if you can use your skills.”

    In 2009, the group had helped set up a system to crowdsource reports of election-rules violations via text messages from all over the country. And during my visit, Gold, Robb, and Rodriguez were wrapping up a project in which they used SMS texts to reach midwives in far-flung Kunar province to solicit medical information about mothers and their newborns.

    The group was also engaged in various maker-ish side projects worthy of Burning Man. Gold was busy building a methane generator from PVC pipe and an old oil drum. The design, popular among self-sufficiency buffs on the Internet, allows you to filter the gasses that come off human waste into pure methane, which can be used as a fuel source.

    …. He began forging friendships with like-minded folks inside the defense, intelligence, and emergency-response communities—all of them looking for ways to use nascent information technologies to help them do their jobs amid natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or wars. Warner was invited along to visit U.N. outposts in Africa, disaster exercises in the U.S., and in, 2004, the tsunami-struck coast of Indonesia. In each, he found that poor cooperation and communication were epidemic among the major players.

    …Eric Rasmussen, one of Warner’s early sponsors at DARPA, has come away similarly awed by the doctor’s capacities. “I was taught by multiple Nobel Prize winners, and Dave is the equal of any of them in intelligence,” Rasmussen told me. Warner has been “trendsetting for a number of very forward-thinking organizations, like the Strategic Studies Group for the Chief of Naval Operations, like DARPA, like the Office of Naval Research,” among others. “He has shaped curriculum for the Marine Corps. He has influenced curriculum for National Defense University. He is a remarkable intellectual force who has managed to hold on to his idealism through everything.” What’s more, he has done it all without a security clearance. “And that,” Rasmussen said, “if you remember the kind of work that he does—and for whom—is astonishing.”

    OF COURSE, DAVE WARNER is not the first dreamer the military has ever turned to for help. Back in 2011, when I first met Warner and the Synergy Strike Force, I was immediately reminded of the book The Men Who Stare at Goats, by Jon Ronson, and its descriptions of the First Earth Battalion. In the 1970s, the Pentagon decided it needed a new bag of tools to fight future wars. It also needed to recover from its defeat in Vietnam. Morale in the military was dreadful, and the war machine seemed broken. To make matters worse, intelligence reports suggested that the People’s Republic of China had figured out a way to endow a few thousand children with powers of clairvoyance, psychokinesis, telepathy, and X-ray vision. And so, in 1977, a Pentagon working group on human potential handed a young lieutenant colonel named Jim Channon an assignment: Search the New Age enclaves that were then sprouting in California for possible military applications, and find the outer limits of human potential.

    Channon drew up a field manual, published by the Army in 1979, for something he called the First Earth Battalion. The manual included diagrams of chakras and the power of dreams. “The more dreams you have, the more you can create for yourself the future you desire,” the manual advises. Channon wanted to build a kind of super soldier, a warrior monk who could unlock psychic powers and overwhelm an enemy with little more than a kind gaze. Love and synergy, it so happens, were the core purported strengths of such a soldier.

    “Synergy is possible when every soldier brings his or her individual best to the group task,” Channon wrote. “It is multiplied in strength again if that soldier truly loves the other members of the unit. Then we shall have the maximum combat power available.”

    Channon saw the military as a place where a soldier could become a “guerrilla guru.” His First Earth soldiers would employ “battle tuning” through a daily yoga cat stretch, followed by a primal scream and leap. Their performance-enhancing regimen would include ginseng, amphetamines, rock and roll, and prayers to Mother Earth. “Ethical combat” and “benevolent weapons”—to include “indigenous music and words of peace,” symbolic flowers, and animals—would take on a changing world of conflict. “If in fact we want to have a heaven on earth, then a class of angels should come forth and begin the work,” Channon wrote. “Open your heart. The Universe will feed you.”

    There were no amphetamines or primal screams at the Taj—none that I witnessed, at least—but the military’s dalliance with the Synergy Strike Force came from a similar spirit, the end-of-the-road experimentation that goes on when nothing seems to be going right. Sooner or later, the most esoteric, farthest-out ideas of an era are going to get thrown at the most intractable, most-monumental bureaucratic mistakes. Where Channon’s First Earth Battalion had dredged the New Age zeitgeist for military insights, the Synergy Strike Force was drawing from today’s answer to the human-potential movement—the technology-soaked, DIY-happy, crowdsource-everything ethos of Burning Man and the more exuberant corners of Silicon Valley. If you look closely at the angel on the Synergy Strike Force patch, you can see around its neck the same symbol that Warner was wearing the night I met him.

    …The violence grew so bad that Robb, Rodriguez, and Gold fled the country. The Taj was left in the able hands of Mehrab, the guesthouse’s Afghan manager. Looking for a place to hunker down, the three expats decamped to Reno, of all places, to stay with a friend of Warner’s and continue their work remotely. I was living in Southern California at the time, so I drove up to see them. They were busy designing a project that would deliver neonatal advice to women in the Afghan countryside via robocalls. With characteristic whimsy, they called the project “What to Expect When You’re Expecting in the Hindu Kush.”

    Rachel Robb tried to put a good face on their retreat from Jalalabad. “We decided we would be a lot more productive here in the U.S.,” she told me. “We’re definitely going back to Afghanistan. We haven’t left for good. It’s just, we’re here to kind of let things settle down.”

    …Last summer at Burning Man, members of the team gathered once again, and Warner invited me to join them. So I headed out to the Black Rock Desert and pitched a small tent next to Warner’s giant RV. He came out of nowhere, from the dust and the wind, as I was struggling with some rigging for a tarp. He was drinking a beer, wearing a tied-dyed shirt and cutoff jean shorts, with a tie-dyed bandana on his head and another around his neck. “We’re going to the temple,” he said, “for a service.”

    The temple is a structure that gets built every year at Burning Man. Burners go there to mourn for whomever they have lost; we were going to mourn for Mehrab. I followed Warner out onto the desert playa, where in the distance the giant wooden statue of “The Man” waited to be burned at the end of the festival. We walked past a 20-foot-tall wooden statue of the word ego inset with trophies, past a field of plastic sunflowers, past men and women in various states of undress and inebriation. Warner took huge strides.

    On the far side of the wide, flat, dusty playa stood the temple, a large structure reminiscent of an Asian pagoda, made of thin, filigreed wood panels. On the walls, people had scribbled notes both personal and universal—“I Miss You,” “Humanity Will Prevail”—and incense wafted through the interior. Warner gathered with other members of the Synergy Strike Force. He nailed a pakul hat to the wall, hung an Afghan scarf around it, and added a Synergy Strike Force patch. Around us, Burners wept and prayed. And at the end of the festival, the temple was burned to the ground, with everything in it.

  25. The Simpsons is satire, humor, and lampoon. We satire perceptions – we are not here to educate — we entertain. Get it? Get it? Hullo, is this thing on?

    Just like we satire nuclear power, city government, under funded schools, inept police, Australia, Brazil (oh, they were pissed off), Britain, Japan, reality shows, corporations, Kwik-E-Marts, the GOP, bars, beer consumption, evil bosses, the mafia, gay steel mills, hillbillies, violent cartoons, and now Burning Man. If you can’t take a joke, or you think we send the wrong “message” about Burning Man, you’re missing the point of the show — and humor in general.

    “Oh my! Drug references — Maggie with a syringe! Oh my word, Groucho, I never! There’ll be a letter in The Times about this!”

    I watched it with a bar full of burners of all ages — they all loved it & laughed at the jokes. Because they got that they were jokes. They understand jokes. You all are starting with your arms folded, brows furrowed, and going from there, just like those that are pissed off when we take shots at FOX News, or shots at their sacred religion. I regret to inform y’all that y’all have a narrow sense of humor when it applies to your sacred cows. And I know for certain you won’t agree, Mrs. Dumont . . .

    • I found it amusing. I gave it a 7/10 – or, 3 and a half stars. But then, I think more than 90% of people at Burning Man are doing illegal drugs…and those drugs should be legal. To me it’s one of the world’s best parties, but you don’t save the world by going to it.

      There are other Burners who think there’s more to the event than just a big rave. And there are many non-Burners who think it’s just about drugs and getting naked. The latter group will be pleased to have their prejudices confirmed, the former group will be bummed.

      I think it’s cool that you made it, thanks very much. Should’ve put Bass Nectar or Daft Punk in there 😉

    • I agree with the 7 out of 10 rating, the jokes made me chuckle. I was confused why the main character (and all important representative of Burning Man) was a self mutilating, aggressive, child terrorizing,…school teacher? Is supposed to be making fun of the public perception of ‘burners’…which is the opposite? Namely that they are self indulgent pacifists, who don’t hold square jobs?

    • I thought it was funny, and Burning Man is ripe for satire, certainly. I always cringe a little when I see Burning Man in mainstream shows, thinking oh great, even MORE people will go now. But I guess that ship has left at this point. If you’re still reading, Mr. Silverman, had the idea of doing an episode on Burning Man been around for awhile? Did it make more sense for the event to become more well known before doing it? Curious about the process.

  26. This makes me extremely sad. Tix sold out in 45 minutes this year and I had two. Unfortunately living in Alaska travel to the desert doesn’t always work out and my step sister and her friend ended up going in my stead. I don’t regret not going in the past five years since I first heard about it at school in Kansas; I simply wouldn’t have been spiritually or mentally ready. I feel like what the Playa had to offer, and what I could have brought to it would have been far easier to attain, before BM became so much a part of mainstream culture and the “cool thing” to do. I can talk though, cause I have never been, but then again the Alaskan population doesn’t make up a huge majority of people there. But we do have a regional Burn so I look forward to that. And I remain hopeful for the Playa because there are still Burners from the original location who are still going, and people who have gone multiple times who will still carry on the true Burner’s spirit and the ten principles… And if at all possible I definitely want to stick around after with the MOOP team! Hope to make the 2015 pilgrimage and see you all there!

  27. This seems like a common theme lately in posts and comments, that people come who don’t have any respect for the principles or people who have come there to truly share and enjoy (not to sound burnier than thou).

    But has it ever been brought up a requirement that people must attend a certain number of sanctioned regionals and possibly even have references before than can enter brc, similar to the requirements to ranger.

    I imagine that this will have two benefits. Firstly it is a relatively simple, inexpensive way of regulating the community. Secondly it will increase the popularity and numbers of regional burn events, which I think better create local communities where real change can be enacted.

    Just my two cents, though I think you are right about ticket prices and popularity of tourists in the near future.

    • Anyone who thinks we should regulate who is allowed to come to BM should be the first not allowed to come to BM

      • so people who don’t care about the Principles, MOOP everywhere, and make profit from the Playa should get special tickets…while long-time theme camps get turned away.

        Right. I see where you’re coming from…

        Burning Man for Burners, is where I’m coming from. Not the new selfie destination for Commodification Camp safari tourists.

        • You are free to make up what you to serve your points, it’s your blog. But I never said or implied that people that anyone should get special tickets. Advance your agenda all you want but it pretty obvious you will twist what others say to do that.

    • You don’t need either references or a regional resume to Ranger (nor should you). All you need is some experience with the event (so you know what to expect) and a desire to help the community. There’s something of a vetting process (training, both off-playa and on-playa) to make sure you’re serious and responsible, but that’s about it. Anyone is welcome to Ranger. Radical inclusion.

      I understand your concern–and the concerns expressed by the OP–about virgins not understanding the principles, coming as tourists, &c.–but I don’t think the answer is requiring endorsement from an existing Burner, nor do I think that we should require attendance at regional events. There are two big reasons for that.

      First, attending regional burns is not always an option for everyone. Whether you live in an area that isn’t home to a near-by regional, spend all your annual vacation on Burning Man itself, can’t afford a second extended camping trip every year, or simply aren’t _interested_ in attending smaller off-playa events, many people who would love Burning Man and make great community members would be excluded by that kind of requirement. I’ve been attending Burning Man for 10 years, I’m a Ranger, and I’ve never been to a regional burn. That’s something I’d like to change, but right now it’s just not an option (for a combination of the reasons I listed above).

      Second, I think turning Burning Man into an (even more) exclusive “country club” kind of group goes strongly against many of the 10 Principles. We want to be inclusive. We want to be participatory. We want to welcome anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of the community with open, dusty arms. We were all Virgins once, and many of us attended Burning Man for the first time on a whim. Many of us were surprised by what we found. BRC is never what you expect, no matter how many times you attend–that’s part of what makes it so wonderful. A lot of people will undoubtedly attend the event based on The Simpsons’ portrayal of it. Some of them will be pleasantly surprised at what they find; others won’t be. Some will come back; others won’t. Some will be immediate participants; others will need some coaxing and help. All of these are OK.

      Decreasing the numbers of tourists isn’t about weeding people out before the get through the gate. It’s about giving people who might otherwise be tourists more opportunities to be participants, and helping them find a place in our community. It’s about sharing the experience with them, showing them what Burning Man means to us, and encouraging them to help craft the experience for both themselves and everyone else. I haven’t seen The Simpsons episode yet, but I’m delighted that the mainstream default world is being exposed to Burning Man, even if it isn’t a perfect representation of BRC (what the hell would that even look like?). The more the merrier.

  28. I wonder how Silverman feels about this episode. He’s not listed as a writer or director for it, but he’s got to have known about it.

  29. Also there is a burning man episode on the short lived lesser known adult swim series called “Xavier Renegade Angel.” It is referred to as “Burning Person, because anyone can be set on fire.”

    Loved the Malcolm tribute personally, and mad props to the fish bowl head costume.

  30. What’s wrong with glorifying drug use? I think if more people in the world tripped balls.. it would be a better place to live!!

  31. Some of the writing coming from this source is very negative and opinion driven. I know this is a blog and not a news site, but the following and representation gives off an official look. When you read, “Circus seems appropriate, because Burning Man will now be full of clowns, party animals, and frat boy monkeys.” no matter if it is true or not, it creates a very negative scope. I understand their are problems that should be brought up, but pointing fingers and name calling is very immature.

      • It might. My issue is not with that. In fact it brings up a valid point for debate. However, when you talk in absolutes it makes for complaining opposed to debating.

          • First sorry about flooding the post. I am having some phone issues. I am just saying that it strongly looks as if you are representing the whole.

          • go read the comments at, on pretty much any post there in the last 2 months – you’ll see that a lot of people agree with me. Some of us who’ve been going to Burning Man for a long time really care about the event.

          • “Some of us who’ve been going to Burning Man for a long time really care about the event.” your a validating your argument with emotion, and insinuating that I don’t care. This is the exact behavior that started this “debate”

          • perhaps it’s hard for you to keep track of my responses to all your allegations, so I repeat: would you like to write a guest post? Why don’t you explain to everyone how long you’ve been going to Burning Man, what you like about it, what you don’t like, and where you think it’s heading under the new “non-profit” regime?

          • “Where our opinions, Burner culture, and Burning Man come together” I would consider changing our to mine, or at the very least define who is writing, and that it’s an opinion piece.

          • In the comments I am, but many people don’t read comments. They grab a couple lines from your lead, and might read the conclusion. Not saying that your writing is bad, but referring to how people process editorials these days. When you are a public voice you should be responsible for what you write, in that you clearly point out who is talking.

          • I think the best thing for me to do here is walk away in defeat. Just know that I do not speak for myself in what I have said. I have not been going to burning man long. This year will be only my fifth year, but I do know your tone as of late does not reflect the culture that I have come to love. Blogs are a place of freedom where you should not be limited to news worthy or factual pieces, and opinions are generally sought out in such mediums. However, please consider your following and that many people may use this source to base critical decisions. Negative language does nothing but bring the rest of us down to their level.

      • I am not a strong writer, but thank you. I want you to know that I do enjoy the writing that comes from this blog, and that my complaint is merely in reference to recent posts.

          • I think the best thing for me to do here is walk away in defeat. Just know that I do not speak for myself in what I have said. I have not been going to burning man long. This year will be only my fifth year, but I do know your tone as of late does not reflect the culture that I have come to love. Blogs are a place of freedom where you should not be limited to news worthy or factual pieces, and opinions are generally sought out in such mediums. However, please consider your following and that many people may use this source to base critical decisions. Negative language does nothing but bring the rest of us down to their level.

          • If the truth seems negative, maybe that’s the fault of the decision makers, not the bloggers who talk about the decisions.

            If you don’t speak for yourself, who do you speak for? The Man?

  32. Hey Burnerxxx,

    It’s simple. If you DON’T LIKE IT, DON’T GO!

    I speak for many that say, we’re sick of your negativity, hateful posts, and factually errant sensationalized blog drivel. You may have a large readership, but it’s mostly because you opt to tread on the efforts of others to boost your own audience. You criticize so harshly, but you’re bastardizing the same principles that you are supposing others have breached.

    Nice work, dude. Radically inclusive, my ass…

    • what does this have to do with The Simpsons?

      Care to provide any examples of the Principles that we’ve violated here? Or the hate that you refer to? It seems more like the hate is coming from you.

      • I think the biggest issue is that this blog represents the many, but you are voicing the opinion of the few. If you want to complain about things you have that right, but make sure that it is clear where the complaining is coming from.

    • And yet, here you are, posting your opinion. If you’re so sick of it, why keep coming back to the blog? I think you need to take a long look at yourself and figure out why it is that you PERCEIVE these blog posts as negative. That’s the real issue here … with all of you folks who whine and cry about opinions that differ from yours, opinions that might not be all sunshine and rainbows.. You are free to burn with blinders on, if you like. You are free to look at the world through rose colored lenses, where everything is fun, pink, unicorns and love. The rest of us will continue to point out what we believe is the utter hypocrisy of the Borg, and call a spade a spade. The real issue here is your perception and labeling something as negative, divisive or destructive. I think if you ask yourself “Why does this bother me? Why do I perceive this as negative?” … you might just learn something about yourself.

      • Yep. That’s me. Blinders on and all… I love the things at Burning Man that you and BurnerXXX hate. For starters, I love that there are people that choose to come year after year with an open heart and spirit of giving — the same rich turnkey camp people behind ‘horrible’ places like DISTRIKT, Robot Heart, PinkMammoth, and other camps that spend their hard earned money to bring amazing musical and collective social experiences to the playa. You guys mock the people that enjoy that experience continuously. Why? Because they draw a different crowd than you do…

        Last time I checked, inclusion was still a principle that Burners value. Inclusion of all types that uphold the principles. Your exclusion isn’t just an editorial opinion, it’s an unnecessary wedge in the community.

        • This is called “attacking the straw man” – criticizing us for an argument that we never made. I love Robot Heart and Distrikt too. Kudos to those guys, for all they bring and all they do – to me, they are the CORE of the event.

          You say “you guys mock the people that enjoy the experience continuously”…please provide links or quotes to that, since it’s the opposite of what we do.

          Let me be clear: this blog has no issue with rich people. Rich people have always been going to Burning Man, and hopefully always will. Who cares how they camp?

          The issue is Commodification Camps: camps that gift nothing to the Playa, and exclude Burners with VIP only wristbands, and leave tons of MOOP. These Commodification Camps somehow get all the tickets they need, huge areas of placement, a pass on the requirement to be out by Tuesday, and expect everyone else to pick their mess up. The profit-making organizers of these camps are commodifying an experience that has been created and Gifted by Burners for free.

          Commodification Camps are driving a wedge in the community, that’s true, but it’s not because we’re writing about them. It’s because BMOrg is encouraging them, and putting their organizers on its Board of Directors.

  33. This episode not only glorified drugs but intimated that the assault on Marge was A-OK. Slipping people drugs is not funny and not OK.

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