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

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 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!



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 “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?

23 comments on “BMOrg’s Next Response [Updates]

  1. Pingback: Quiznos Commodifies Burner Culture | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Someone likened Commodification Camps to going on a cruise. At least on a cruise ship or resort, the money paid, pays for the entertainment, and the profit made, is made by the people supplying it. In a Commodification Camp, the entertainment is provided by all the other Burners freely giving & participating (i.e.–you!), and the profit is made by the scum-sucking leech who is advertising your freely given participation.

  3. I saw Caveat’s most recent recent comment/reply. He STILL doesn’t get it. It’s NOT about gentrification.

    It’s about the BOrg giving placement to Commodification Camps that aren’t required to follow Theme Camp rules (no interactivity).

    It’s about non-interactive Commodification Camps commodifying the playa, making huge profits off advertising what we give away on the playa for free. Hell, artists can’t profit off their OWN work on the playa, but Commodification Camps CAN profit off that artist’s work?!?

    It’s about Commodification Camps having slave labor sherpas that can’t participate, and can’t even quit their horrible working conditions or they’re literally left without food, water, transportation home, or their real world job anymore.

    It’s about allowing Commodification Camps to have fake handicap golf carts and private art cars.

    It’s about selling unlimited tickets with no waiting to select people even after the event is sold out (at least make it “fair”…let EVERY rich person access to Pre Pre Sale tickets for a few thousand dollars)

    It’s about members of the board being behind this personally, and personally profiting.

    The BOrg has utter power to stop all of this, by enforcing current rules, or changing them, unlike gentrification in the real world.

  4. Pingback: Protesting the Protestors | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  5. If its as bad as your saying…..why doesn’t everyone, volunteers, artist and burners alike just skip a year and see if they actually miss us. If you feel that all BMORG wants is an endless supply of rich folks and newbies take this year and give it to them…
    But long as we complain and actually take no action then they have no reason to listen.
    Would there be a burn without the art, participation and volunteers?

  6. Pranks and anarchy!
    Burners are an intelligent bunch. Let’s be creative and dream up disruptive, but legally passable ways to make the profiteer/exploitation camps uncomfortable.
    It would warm my heart if the LEOs did in fact have to cordon off the K streeters from the commoners. BMORG’s little Disneyland would have a hard time spinning that to the bright yellow mega “journalists” who are looking for sensational tear down stories on every story to score ratings for their cable channels.

  7. why don’t we do something other than sit at our fucking keyboards. Saturday is the artumnal event at the Bentley Reserve where all these muckety mucks the org is worshipping go to get their yearly nut washing. Call the local media, show up enmasse and protest. The media would love this. We can influence them if they won’t give a straight answer. Fuck caveat. I threw up in my mouth a little reading his tripe.

    • If anyone wants to organize a protest, we’d happily cover it. I went to this event a couple of years ago, when I was still drinking the Kool Aid…it’s fairly pretentious.

      The Artumnal Gathering
      Saturday, November 22, 2014
      Dinner at 6:00 p.m., Main Event at 9:45 p.m.
      Bently Reserve
      400 Sansome St.
      San Francisco, CA 94111

  8. I wonder what the BMORG would have thought if PnPs showed up in the early years of Burning Man. I think their priorities have changed.

  9. This cannot be serious and if it is they (BMOrg) are completely clueless or willfully ignorant of what is this discussion is all about. Because it is not about the rich, it is not about exclusion, it is not about changes to the party, it is not about virgins and it is not about income inequality. They are completely ignoring the issues being raised. This is basically a middle finger to all of us.

    • You are the one who is clueless if you think they don’t know that. They are looking for any opportunities to cloud the real issues. I would bet they are starting with:

      “After careful consideration, we have decided that because we seek radical inclusion, we should include the Turnkey Camps in BRC. They have been around for years, and have enhanced the burn experience. Like any new camp, some may have a shaky start, but over time they will learn what it is to be a Burner. After all, that’s why we are including them!”

      Anyone want a piece of the action?

  10. I’m fairly sure now that millions of people who were oblivious about Flaming Dude are now going to show up in droves. Game over my friends. If you can’t live with change, then you might want to skip every burn from now on. Because from this point on, BM is a corporate theme park. So, accept things as they are, ignore those things you have no power to change, and fucking enjoy yourself anyways. One of the greatest lessons I learned as a 10 year vet (eight of which I was a paid employee) is that you can’t take shit so seriously. All being uptight gets you is a hernia and a headache. Get your ticket, pack your shit, go to the desert and instead of bitching about the rich, simply ignore them. They sure as hell are ignoring us.

  11. BMorg right now is so high on narcissistic supply that they don’t give a single fuck about these commodification concerns. They just made the Simpsons – the motherfucking Simpsons! They are playing at such a high level right now, that they really don’t need the community anymore. They’ve gone full-global. They have hundreds of millions of potential newbies now. They’re golden and can’t be touched.

    • Yes, they are fully secure in their magical thinking, and are likely to never change their behavior, only where they get their NPD supplies. They are transitioning from the dogmatic faithful burners to their monied cocktail party crowd and media attention. The NV burn will continue, but will not be Burning Man, as Burnersxxx commented on FB. Burning Man is created by the burners, in spite of the efforts of the BOrg. The question is how bad it will get.

      As I said before, I will not return until they invite me (they have the email address I used to buy my tickets in past years), sell me no less than two tickets for $199, with complimentary vehicle passes and whatever other revenue mischief they might cook up.

      I have not only learned how brilliant Sam Veknin is, but how dubious a CA non-profit org is, and how many people talk a good talk until money is involved.

      What disgusts me is the lies and BS they spew to keep up the old facade for the faithful to cling onto. At least we know where all the fake people are one week out of the year. Best place to be that week is Burnt Soup!

  12. What the F is this blog supposed to be commenting on? A bunch of accusations are leveled against BMORG with zero backup. I take these issues extremely seriously, as any true Burners do. But articles that are as stupidly written as this, with zero factual discourse do nothing other than to undermine the true concerns they are trying to spotlight. Great subject. Ridiculously nonconstructive display of the conversation.

  13. Yes. You have said exactly what I have been feeling along along, and have said in various places myself. But there always seems to be someone there to mock me for “hating rich people”, even though I said and more importantly, feel, nothing of the kind.

  14. Whoever this lame brain is (Caveat Magister…really???) should be shot unceremoniously at dawn. Poor critter, if this is the best s/he can do, I’d say bilateral frontal lobotomies followed by monthly ECTs are in order.

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