Happy Thanksgiving, Burners. Here’s a guest post from AleXander Hirka to amuse you
Chanting “You will be transformed!” from his perch on the right arm of The Man Float, its founder and marketing philosopher Larry Harvey brought The Burning Man Global Transformation Movement ®™ to New York City’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The Burning Man Global Transformation Movement ®™ float at the Thanksgiving Day parade, 26 November 2015. Riding on The Right Arm Of The Man, in a typical Burning Man uniform, is founder and zen marketer Larry Harvey.
Photo by AleXander Hirka, 10x ex-Burner.
Harvey, along with other members of the BMorg, spent the previous evening inflating their massive float balloon with inspirational and transformational hot air.
Holding the balloon strings during the procession along Central Park West were a who’s who of celebrities including Katy Perry, Susan Sarandon, Dennis Kucinich, Karlie Kloss, Suki Waterhouse, Grover Norquist, P. Diddy, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg.
The Weez Burners Marching Band kept a groove going by playing “Get Lucky” a hit made famous by Daft Punk, who regularly play at Burning Man, usually near the “trash fence” perimiter art.
Comments from Burners:
“We are all completely transformed by this amazing experience in the desert. All the things we did before we see in a completely new way. The old patterns are broken, The Default World is altered. I mean, like before Burning Man I was just a tech geek who wanted to make a lot of money by controlling FaceBook algorithms so more people would get hooked on the experience and buy more product a-and . . .well, after Burning Man I’m a completely transformed person.”
~ Mark Zuckerberg (as he was heading into Macy’s for a bit of Black Friday Xmas shopping after the merchandising parade)
“Once a guy wears a tutu he’s changed forever. There’s no commerce there at all. You just shop for months in advance and lug it in and lug it out. Radical. huh? That guy goes back to what we Burners call The Default World and where once was a suburban consumer of mass produced capitalist media product there is now an enlightened Burner. So different. You can just like see it in his eyes. He knows. We know. We are Burners. Yeah, everyone who goes understands because are transformed inside; even if they look the same standing in line for the latest Star Wars franchise hit at the Cinemaplex.” ~ Hopsing Bonanza (playa name)
“You’ve seen how Scientology and est have transformed the world for the better. Well this is even bigger than that. Yeah sure it’s a wild party in the desert, but it began in California so you know they’re going to add that special New Age level; what those snobs in New York call woo. So now it’s really all about spreading the Burning Man ethos, the ten principles, which are like the commandments, but different. It includes things like: rich and poor people are the same, share your water, and pick up your trash or you’ll get poor placement next year. And don’t get hung up on commodities and do stuff, participate. I participated in airport arrival and departure. Gifting is great – which is why the float in the parade this year, because it ends with Santa, who is the biggest gift giver ever, right?! Truly original and groundbreaking view of reality – things that will transform the world once the Burners reenter the Default World and Burner Consciousness transforms it from within.” – Denis Kucinich
“Being a Burner is adding the ultimate Imprimatur Of Cool to the resume of your life. A whole new network of extra evolved humans. Beyond Deadheads and PhisHeads. And it’s a place that hipsters can wear colors. I’ll never be the same. I can promise you – you’ll never be the same. Can’t define how, but you’ll be transformed. There are websites and videos to tell you all about it and what you need to get to radically survive, even where to buy the uniforms. It’s all part of this MSTFest300 thing where people going to festivals will change the world.” ~ Madame Psychosis (playa name)
Cheers to Broke-Ass Stuart for this bonus image. Someone’s giving a lot of thanks in this parade!
Thanks very much to Burner ShaggyDog for this guest post about some of the legal issues surrounding the recent Quiznos parody.
If we really are impotent to fight this sort of commodification, we might have to just be happy with building our own communities and living within them, and not paying too much attention to this sort of exploitation by external actors. Really that’s what we’re already doing.
Just to add further to ShaggyDog’s excellent commentary. There has been an attempt to “fuck with the fuckery” – replacing the audio in the Quiznos ad with “eat a shit sandwich”. This is a more “Burnery” approach, IMO.
In the final Supreme Court ruling on the Mattel vs RCA Barbie Girl case, the judge ordered the parties “just to chill” . Mattel eventually chose to embrace the Aqua song, using the music in official Barbie TV advertising in 2009.
Uproxx in an article titled Our Nonsense Is Serious! Burning Man May Sue Over Legitimately Funny Sandwich Ad compares the situation to the Book of Mormon. Rather than suing the South Park guys behind the spoof, the church embraced them – advertising in the musical’s playbook, and even sending busloads of churchgoers to Broadway to see the show (if you’re lucky enough to have seen it, you’ll know that it’s harder on the Africans than it is on the Mormons).
Other Burners have raised the example of another recent parody “Burning Man – The Musical!”, which BMOrg seem to have allowed so far.
This article at TechDirt Myth Busting – Yes, An Advertisement Can Be Fair Use Parody has some good information and further links.
A few choice comments from Reddit:
The primary protection for trademarks is to prevent consumer confusion. No one is going to confuse a sandwich with an arts festival, so that’s obviously not in play here.
The secondary protection is dilution of the brand (in this case tarnishment: “association arising from the similarity between a mark or trade name and a famous mark that harms the reputation of the famous mark”), which is covered by the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006. Section 3.b & 3.c explicitly exempts news and noncommercial use from charges of dilution, so the rest of the act covers commercial use. The Act section 3.a.ii defines fair use as:
identifying and parodying, criticizing, or commenting upon the famous mark owner or the goods or services of the famous mark owner.
Personally I think Quiznos’ ad is obviously fair use and the Org’s purpose here is to scare off other people who might make parodies and don’t have a legal team to defend them. It’s sad that the legal system works that way. 🙁
I think the bmorg is gonna have a hard time on this, and quite frankly I think it’s a bit hypocritical to piss on Quiznos over it. How many parodies of business has burning man hosted over the years? Wall Mart, Costco, Starbucks, jiffy lube, and Wall Street are just a few of the brands major theme camps have parodied. The org should lighten up a bit. If a samich shop can make everyone giggle like this, then maybe they’re saying something about the event that everyone else seems to be clued into.
Larry Harvey: (not on Reddit)
“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”
They took that social capital right to the bank!
And now with the hordes, sufficiently convinced by what they read in the brochure about ‘decommodification’, bring the pitchforks out whenever it isn’t Blessed By Larry. Of course they don’t seem to care about it if Larry Likes It.
A dumb internet video? We need the lawyers, they’re profiting off of our brand!
People running for-profit camps at Burning Man itself, directly profiting off of the brand and experience? Oh, just have some token effort to pretend you’re a “theme camp,” it’s okay, commodification is a spectrum!
(Spark BluRays on sale near the door. Make sure the last one to leave turns out the light.)
Now that BMOrg have come out and said “People at our office thought the video was clever and funny” and “we are not threatening to sue Quiznos”, I wonder if the Burnier-Than-Thous will change their tune also? Burning Man was never supposed to be serious.
[Update 9/17/15 7:34am PST]
The Voices of Burning Man have finally spoken. It seems they have a brilliant sense of humor, and really enjoyed this funny joke. It’s just, they have to stick up for the poor artists who got no compensation for someone else making money from their work.
As creative and funny as it was (we had a good laugh, we’ll admit), clever unfortunately doesn’t trump our commitment to protecting our community from commercial exploitation. We’ve been fielding anguished calls and emails from participants and horrified artists whose creations were used in the video without permission, a number of whom who have issued take-down requests of their own accord. We can laugh at ourselves. But we’re not laughing when a corporation exploits the artwork of others under the guise of poking fun at our event.
Brings to mind Green Tortoise, the exception that proves the rule of how they protect our community from any commercial exploitation.
Halcyon aka Pink Jesus has weighed in on QuiznoGate (I was calling it SandwichGate to avoid promoting the brand). Facebook users can follow his new “happy happy joy joy” page Pink Hearted at Burning Man and Beyond. Even BM’s biggest fan is outgrowing the NV Burn…
First we had Game of Thrones opening their fifth season with an episode named “Burning Man”. Now this…
I can’t wait for the new Mad Max movie, which critics have said is like Burning Man gone wrong.
[Update 4/14/15 5:38pm]
The name of the Game of Thrones episode was “The Wars to Come”. The misinformation came from Forbes, usually a fairly trustworthy source.