Alex Jones’ show InfoWars is one of the most successful alternative media platforms in the world. You can catch it Monday-Friday at 9am-noon PST. They are known for a diligent focus on the truth, being brave enough to make controversial claims that conflict with mainstream media talking points programming, and always making an effort to provide references to their claims. A bit like a certain Burner-related site that I can think of…
I am an Alex Jones fan, and have been since about as long as I’ve been going to Burning Man. So it was pretty exciting for me to see a conspiracy theory that has been kicked around on our Facebook page for a few days get a detailed investigation by his producer Rob Dew, who is a 2-time Burner.
There are enough coincidences and political interest floating around Burning Man this year to lend some weight to potential conspiracy theories. The fact that the bugs themselves are relatively harmless means we can rule out a bio-weapon. It would be more of a nuisance attack, like mailing envelopes of white powder to people and having them freak out that it’s anthrax.
The Bugpocalypse could have been a deliberate infestation, perhaps by someone disgruntled over Chocotacogate, and the corresponding turf wars and position re-shufflings going on around the place. We have a new Sheriff in Pershing County who seems pretty negative towards Burning Man. Gene Siedlitz who usually runs the event for the BLM, was suddenly shifted to a new assignment in the Minerals division. We have the Humboldt General Hospital medical team contract being cancelled abruptly, to be replaced with CrowdRX who don’t have experience in remote locations. We have Special Agent Dan Love, who ran the Bundy Ranch standoff, named and shamed by the Reno Gazette Journal as the force behind ChocoTacoGate. We have Harry Reid coming out of retirement and injury recovery to publicly chastise the BLM and side with Burning Man. A lot of strange, unprecedented changes happening in the event all at once, with political pressures at State, County, and Federal levels. Pershing County is very concerned about the mixture of nudity and children. Last year a local judge called Burning Man’s settlement with Pershing County “absurd, illegal, and mealy mouthed”. BMOrg are also fighting the Nevada State legislature’s 9% Live Entertainment Tax, which they think shouldn’t apply to them because they are an arts festival not a music one. We also have the BLM’s bug teams in the area, quite possibly on site, having just located mosquitos with West Nile Virus in both Washoe and Pershing Counties. Last year West Nile virus was detected in mosquitos in Gerlach, and there were reports of the CDC being sent to the site after an unprecedented flood shut down the event on its opening day.
There is also the whole “tech bros are ruining Burning Man” meme dividing the community right now, which is easy to imagine stirring the rebellious juices of (say) Cacophony Society Merry pranksters. Indeed the whole theme of “Carnival of Mirrors” this year seems designed to facilitate pranking. And let’s not forget about the Synergy Strike Force, the Merry Prankster Burners who hacked the Afghan war, or the Burner who took over a military satellite so he could watch Katrina hit New Orleans from the Playa.
Voices of Burning Man isn’t doing anything to quash the Bugpocalypse conspiracy theories. If anything, they are deliberating trying to make the situation more confusing. They have now released their FOURTH post on Bugpocalypse in less than a week. The language is so filled with propaganda and misinformation, it makes it impossible to understand what they are saying. Which probably was the idea.
evidently the insects have run their course. At least that is the official story. The billion wood-boring beetles that descended on the Man’s legs at Man Base have evidently been exterminated. Burning Man will not be brought to you by Citronella and DEET this year. Behind us are the horrific fear-saturated nights of swarming green beetles, clouds of fluttering moths, biting flying ants, stinging noseeums and locusts so thick we had to don Hazmat suits and run in sheer terror from container to container to avoid being eaten alive. No more do colonies of bats descend from the sky so thick that they obscure the moon and the hordes of kangaroo rats, ravens, crows, scorpions, snakes and coyotes have also moved on