Are you on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?
How do you make money from this site?
This site is non-commercial. It is a gift to the Burner community. I volunteer my time every day of the year to discuss Burner culture, and pay all expenses out of my own pocket.
This blog incorporates Gifting, Civic Responsibility, Immediacy, Communal Effort, Participation, Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Radical Inclusion, Decommodification, and Leave No Trace.
We also believe in fun, humor, integrity, excellence, permanence, education, and truth.
Why do you say “We”?
This site is mostly the writing of burnersxxx (here’s a long explanation of who that is). We welcome other voices too, and from time to time Burners share guest posts here.
I believe that in the 21st Century, we all should strive to speak “the language of We”, not the language of “Me”. Burner events are made by the community, for the community. We’re all in this together. If you have a story to tell, or an opinion to share, please add your voice to the conversation and send it in.
What is BMOrg?
BMOrg = Burning Man Organization. This is a complex group of companies, consisting of:
The Burning Man Project – a non-profit, with 18 people on its Board of Directors
Black Rock City, LLC – a wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary of the Burning Man Project, which puts on the annual Nevada event
Decommodification, LLC – a for-profit private company, owned by the 6 “remaining founders” of Burning Man. This company owns all the intellectual property assets of Burning Man, including trademarks, image rights, and royalty streams. It makes money from licensing, including licensing the Burning Man name back to the Burning Man event.
Black Rock Arts Foundation – a non-profit subsidiary, now assimilated into the Burning Man Project and called “Black Rock Arts”.
Black Rock City Properties, LLC – privately held company, purpose unknown
Gerlach Holdings, LLC – privately held company, purpose unknown
There are other organizations in the Burning Man group, which we do not consider as “BMOrg”:
Black Rock Solar –
independent non-profit assimilated into the Burning Man Project
Burners Without Borders – non-profit, assimilated into the Burning Man Project
DPW – the crew that build the city. Mostly volunteers
Black Rock Rangers – volunteers who assist Burners in need.
DISCLAIMER: This site is not affiliated in any way with Burning Man, Black Rock City LLC, Decommodification LLC, Gerlach Holdings LLC, Black Rock City Properties LLC, Black Rock Rangers, Black Rock Arts Foundation, Burning Man Project, eplaya, blog.burningman.com, Black Rock Solar, Burners Without Borders, DPW, or any other “official” Burning Man organization.
Why do you write about Burning Man?
I love Burning Man, and think it is an amazing event – the world’s biggest and best expression of Burner culture. I want to see it continue to improve in the future, and I want to see other Burner events grow and thrive.
I have been to Burning Man 11 times since 1998, and in that time I’ve seen it change a lot. I know a lot of people who are Burners and I have a lot of opinions. I started this blog to share my opinions with a broader audience than just my friends.
Why are there so many negative posts?
This is not true. We have a category “Dark Path – Complaints Department” for critical posts. We believe that silence will not lead to improvement; we hope that criticism may. There are at least 10 non-critical posts for every critical one, which means 92% of our posts are positive. The critical posts strike a chord with many Burners who see Black Rock City as more than just a party, and care deeply about its future. Often, these loyal Burners will share posts they think are important with their followers on social media. This can create the impression that “Burners.Me has a lot of negative posts” because it’s the critical ones that get discussed the most. For some reason, Burners who want to criticize Burners.Me don’t notice the overwhelming majority of positive content here.
We post more amusing and entertaining posts on our Facebook page.
How can you criticize Burning Man if you love it?
I almost never criticize Burning Man. Most criticism here is actually about BMOrg, the organization that makes money from all the Gifted efforts of Burners.
I believe Burning Man is created by the Burners, not the Burning Man Project. To me, “criticizing BMOrg” is not the same as “criticizing Burning Man” – not at all. I call it like I see it, and if they do something that I don’t agree with I will say so.
The founders of Burning Man have announced a hundred-year plan to spread Burner culture to the world, in the name of philanthropy. In their eyes all Burner culture everywhere belongs to them. I don’t agree, I think that it’s Burners who will spread Burner culture globally.
How do I submit a guest post?
If you are experienced with WordPress and would like to write multiple posts, I will consider setting you up as an author with log-in rights.
Why did you post a story that’s (old news/not relevant to me/politically incorrect)?
I created this site to share my opinions about what’s being said about Burner culture on the Internet. I post stories that interest me, and I have an opinion on. Pretty much every single post is disliked by someone, it is impossible to please everyone. I disagree with political correctness in general, Burning is about freedom and self-expression, not biting your tongue to please the nay-sayers.
As BMOrg loves to say “if you don’t like it, start your own!” So I did.
If you post a link to a story, does that mean you wrote the story?
No. Blogging is a tool to enable discussion of content from other sites on the Internet. We always provide links back to the original sources. If we re-blog a story, we will highlight in bold the relevant parts that we are discussing. Comments in italics mean we are quoting other peoples’ writing; comments in [square brackets] are from Burners.Me.
Sometimes, especially on our Facebook page, we will just post a link to a story that we think may interest our audience or stimulate discussion. Occasionally, we will re-blog a post in its entirety without italics: this will be indicated with a separation line
and then the source:
and the writing of the original author
until it ends, where we put another line, and…
back to Burners.Me:
You are welcome to criticize anything you read here, but please make the distinction between what we’ve written, and what we’re discussing that someone else wrote.
Likewise, if we post a link to a video, that doesn’t mean we filmed the video. If a site that we link to or a YouTube video has advertising, it’s not us profiting from that, it’s the site it’s on.
Is this the TMZ or National Enquirer of Burning Man?
No. They are commercial, for-profit enterprises, with a particular focus on celebrities, crime, and sex. This site is more like infowars.com, which sticks to facts and provides plenty of references for their audience to check the facts for themselves.
Why is the writing so one-sided? Journalistic integrity means you have to present both sides of a story equally.
This is my blog, not the New York Times. I created it to share my opinions. There is no rule that says I have to disagree with my own opinions so that I can promote other peoples’. You are welcome to share your own opinions in the comments, and I am welcome to disagree with them. Healthy discourse can lead to deeper understanding, and shared ideas can lead to improvements.
Is this a misinformation site?
Absolutely not. We go to great lengths to provide sources and links to back up all the statements we make. We have called BMOrg out many times on spreading misinformation, and in retaliation they have spread negative rumors about Burners.Me on social media. They, and their army of online minions, have yet to prove any of these allegations. If you find something here that you know to be false, please comment and provide a link or other evidence to demonstrate the truth. Our goal is to present true information, if we are speculating we say so. In the past most of our speculation has turned out to be true as further information has come to light.
Why don’t you promote the Ten Principles more?
The Ten Principles were introduced in 2004 as a guideline. Burning Man had been going for nearly 20 years at that point. I believe that being a Burner is different from “following the principles”. In the decade since their introduction, they have taken on a dogmatic, cult-like tone. The Principles are riddled with conflict, which BMOrg describes as a “feature”. There are many unwritten rules of Burning Man that are not mentioned in the principles, and many things that I believe are important that are not covered: such as integrity, transparency, and positivity.
Why do I sometimes see sponsored posts on Facebook?
Facebook have changed their algorithms to punish original content that is not hosted on their site. If we spend hours working on a post, it probably won’t be seen by our nearly 250,000 Facebook followers unless we spend a few dollars to Boost the post. This has become part of the cost of running a blog, just like paying for a WordPress license and domain name. It takes money and an extraordinary amount of time to bring you Burners.Me for free.
Do you have a grudge against BMOrg?
No. I do think they should act with honesty and integrity, and be accountable for their words and actions. Anyone should have the right to express their opinion if they disagree with them. Temporary Autonomous Zones should be about freedom, not oppression.
I do think it is inappropriate to employ a Minister of Propaganda, nobody has done that since the Nazis. This community demands inclusion, openness and transparency – not propaganda from our “masters”.
Why do you talk about magick and Satanism?
If these elements weren’t there, I wouldn’t be talking about them.
Occult ritual and symbolism has been a big part of Burning Man’s history, and it continues to this day. Just because you’re not aware of a magick ritual, doesn’t mean you’re not participating in one. Satanism is not so much about “worshipping the Devil” as it is about “the Death of God” or “Self is God”. This is not an idea that occurred once at Burning Man, in passing; it’s an element that’s been there from the start, and sometimes celebrated to an extreme degree. The entire event takes place inside a pentagram, a powerful magickal symbol. It is one of the largest public occult rituals in the world.
Burning Man has many cult-like elements and its leaders boast that they are social engineers. We wonder, what exactly is it they are engineering – and, why? They also boast of its deliberate design as a brainwashing machine. I think it is important for Burners to understand the history and context of these elements, and to realize they are still very much present at the event, imbued in its essence. Most Burners are unaware of them, but that does not negate their presence or lessen their significance.
What do you think about kids at Burning Man?
I believe Burning Man should be an adults-only event. The playa dust is very hard on the lungs of adults, it is worse for children. It is the most sexually permissive city in the world, with about 10% of its citizens going to a single sex camp, the Orgy Dome. According to a poll, of our audience more than 90% of Burners take illicit drugs, which may be dropped on the ground or left around in the form of a cookie or a spiked drink. The presence of minors means that authorities set up “stings”, to bust Burners gifting alcohol to those under the age of 21. If it was an over 21 event, it would be safer for the vast majority of Burners who are adults: more than 95%. Kids cannot contribute much, since they do not have many resources to Gift or free time to work on large scale art projects. I love kids, and think there should be family-friendly Burner events for them, where fewer people are on illicit drugs or indulging in other adults-only activities.
What do you think about rich people at Burning Man?
Rich people have always been at Burning Man. More than 50% of Burners earn over US$50,000 per year, which puts them in the top 0.3% of wealth in the world. Burning Man is an elite event, you have to be wealthy (in relative terms) to spend a week partying in the desert self-sufficiently, while giving things away to others. Most of the world is not so rich that they can just give their money away to others.
Rich people should be welcomed, since money from Burners is needed to build all the art cars and art installations, and to cover the logistical costs of getting them out to the Playa and back.
What do you think about sherpas at Burning Man?
I can live with sherpas (paid workers to assist at camps), if they are treated as proper workers with proper safety regulations (OSHA), and respect from their bosses – treat them like fellow Burners doing a few shifts, not slaves. I’d like to see a solution so they don’t take tickets away from genuine Burners who give freely to everyone. The main problem with sherpas is they’re being paid to provide their services to a select few, it’s participation of sorts but I don’t think it’s healthy for our culture. It’s exclusive rather than inclusive. Maybe get them in early, and out late, in buses so that we can increase the population without causing more traffic chaos. If they’re going to get paid, I’d like to see DPW get paid too.
What do you think about Commodification Camps?
What do you think about people trying to make money from Burning Man, using it to promote their businesses?
I think commercialization is unstoppable at this point. Better to embrace it and extend it, than to fight a losing battle against it. It should be open to all Burners, not something the bosses can do all they want, but if Burners try it they get sued. If the culture is going to thrive globally, then Burners should be encouraged to thrive globally – artists, performers, costume designers, builders, art car and sound engineers, DPW…even bloggers.
Why do you talk about Trolls?
Trolling – attacking people just for the sake of argument – is a problem on the Internet. There are some people who get their kicks out of harassing others. Others have a deliberate agenda to degrade and destroy.
We let our readers post criticism, but frown upon personal ad hominem attacks. If you post “you’re ignorant” or “you’re an asshole” or “you’re a douchebag”, don’t be surprised if your comment gets deleted. Better to say “I disagree with you because _____” and give some logical reasons. Preferrably with links to back up what you’re saying.
As this site has become more popular, it has become subject to increasingly frequent troll attacks. Some of them appear to be co-ordinated by multiple people using fake names (“sock puppets”), and some come from corporate accounts – yes, people get paid to troll Burners.Me.
TROLL POLICY: we reserve the right to delete posts and ban users at any time, for any reason. If your comment does not contribute to a constructive discussion, it may be removed. Criticism will be tolerated, personal attacks are discouraged. If you think “who cares?”, before you write that, maybe see if there are Likes and Comments – you might be surprised to find that others care about different things from you.
If you hate Burners.Me, then don’t Like Burners.Me
Repeat offenders may be blocked.
If you want to comment under a handle (a fake name) that’s fine – if you comment under several different fake names, that is considered trolling.
Why do you sound defensive?
I make an effort to respond to all reader comments, which takes a great deal of time. Sometimes, this means dozens of people every day criticizing me personally, because they don’t like something I wrote or shared. Often, something one person dislikes, another person will like. Radical Self Reliance means they could just move on and read something they like better; Radical Inclusion means they should tolerate opinions and ideas they don’t agree with.
While I’m happy to debate the merits and logic of ideas, I reserve the right to defend myself from criticism that I feel is unwarranted. If I disagree with you, it is not a personal attack, and it doesn’t mean I’m “being defensive” – since when was that a bad thing anyway? Everyone should learn self-defense. If I think you’re trolling, then I will be less inclined to go out of my way to treat you politely.
We reserve the right to be opinionated, snarky, sarcastic, critical, rude, offensive, and politically incorrect. By reading this site, you voluntarily assume the risk of receiving serious opinion or even facts.
Will this site keep going forever?
Has Burning Man jumped the shark?
Yes. Its founders say that it has, and they don’t care. It is hard to say you’re “counter culture” when you actively court mainstream media to promote the event, and deliberately exclude Veteran Burners to make room for
fresh meat Virgins.