Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

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Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Isotopia » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:01 pm

... For Something Beyond Everyone's Control?

Seriously?

For years now folks here and beyond have been crying about how the event has gotten too big, lost its character, sold its soul, was better last year, etc., etc. Personally speaking, I've been enough times over the years - seventeen in fact - to see the inevitable changes that come with Something Special becoming commodified either by design or out of necessity and I’ve not always liked it. I think a lot of other people here and elsewhere have seen it as well. Certainly they’re weighing in.

The cat calls, gnashing of teeth, wails of indignity about where the direction of the event is heading over the years are legion. Sometimes it seems the howling and keening are the only language we’re able to speak. The language of frustration, anger and disappointment.

We become aware of the changes to that that thing which so many of us have fallen into love with and we're incensed by it. It’s like being in a long-term relationship and all of a sudden waking up in the middle of the night and we realize that person we’ve known and invested so much of ourselves in has changed. Changed in ways that we’re profoundly uncomfortable with. And we’re not sure we like them anymore.

We feel we’ve been cheated. And we’re pained by that. It’s palpable and (I’d argue) it’s real.
We want someone – something - external of ourselves to blame for that change. First timers, frat boys, ravers, hippies, ‘spectators’, the rich and privileged, the poor and marginalized… I mean, it’s like we’re standing on the playa at mid-day, hand to brow sweeping the bright, beautiful expanse of the Lahontan lakebed looking for something to point to as source of this painful discontent so that we can say ‘you’ or ‘that’ caused this.

Hey, I’m just as guilty. OK?

Some of us are old timers, most of us feel (rightfully) like stakeholders, participants, ‘owners’ or just people who went one time on a whim and ended up falling in love with the goddamn thing for its craziness and unpredictability and every other personal adjective you want to define the event by. It doesn’t really matter the number of times you’ve been. Doesn’t matter how big your camp is/was, if you went there even once and you came back forever changed in some small/profound, imperceptible/life altering way you’re in the ranks of the invested and you’re not feeling too good about the current situation. So what’s going on? What’s really happening here? Stupidity? Incompetence? Greed?

I don’t think so.

Not really. I think what’s happening is that the event has hit a wall. That impermeable wall of default world reality has made itself manifest in a place where folks thought this ‘thing’ of ours – our secret little tree house - would continue as before – always.

There is and has always been a bulwark of bureaucracy, political self-servitude, vested interests, political (and economic) intrigue in putting Burning Man on. Fed, state, regional, county bureaucrats have for years been fighting for an opportunity to nuzzle up to the tit of Burning Man trying to extort as much cash out of The Man as they can under the pretense of regulation, license, requirements, permits, etc., etc. while at the same time regulating the numbers of people allowed to attend our little party for myriad reasons – some of them quite valid. Still, you wonder why the tickets go up in price every year.

Those who’re not familiar with the ugly, messy underpinnings of what it takes staff (and volunteers) fifty other weeks of the year to do in order to pull this thing together easily toss off their scathing criticisms as something rooted in failure or gross incompetence.

OK. Toss your barbs, fling your arrows and wave your pitchforks, rent your cloth as one does for Kriah but at the end of the day the bottom line is that This Is How It Is. and some of us aren’t going to get to go. And it’s most likely not for the reasons you’ve assigned.

The fact is that what we see unfolding here is a classic example of what the wilderness writer Garrett Hardin referred to as 'the tragedy of the commons' where you have a finite resource that is exploited by an increasing number of individuals each taking (and expecting) a little more of something than what they've received in the past.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrett_Hardin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

The parable was originally about ecological sustainability but I believe it's perfectly applicable to the current situation.
The truth is that all of us are either directly or indirectly responsible - in part - for what's happening. The event is being loved to death. We go to the lakebed and we return transformed. We can’t wait to tell our friends, our family, loved ones, work colleagues. And so we do. We spin our collective (and individual) yarns of experience, epiphanies and revelations, new insights and how we’ve ended up casting away our old preconceptions and managed to integrate or incorporate new ideas, and beliefs through what happened to us in the dusty, often miserable time on the playa.

And the resonance of those stories hook others like a marlin into wanting to experience the same thing. They’ve been seduced. By you. By us. By our stories.
So they cue up for a finite number of tickets. And some of them get to go and some of the rest of us don’t.

And that’s how it is.

It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Forgive me for posting drunk so late in the evening, on my birthday.

-Iso
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby The CO » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:16 pm

Well said. If this drunk you, I love it.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby gaminwench » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:17 pm

Happy, happy IsoDay!!!!
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Savannah » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:19 pm

Happy Birthday, Iso.

I happen to have champagne.

*raises glass*
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby trilobyte » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:22 pm

Very well said - and happy birthday!!
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Pop_Tart » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:51 pm

Bartender, I'll have what Iso is having! Excellent post!!!!!!
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby ygmir » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:54 pm

Brava, Brava!!
first:
Happy Birthday.

second:
thanks, for what you said.
you wiped some of the toothpaste off the bathroom mirror of life, for some, so they might gaze at themselves, and TTITD, with a little more clarity.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby oneeyeddick » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:12 pm

I hear what you are saying ISO(and happy birthday), but to put it in real simple terms to me Burning Man is like the world's greatest whore.

I remember the first time I fucked her umpteen years ago possibly more clearly than some of the subsequent times that I returned to her over the years, gosh it's always better when the whore is young.

But, being absolutely the worlds's greatest whore, the word got out.

I still look forward to my chance to fuck her again and again and again regardless that the line outside of her tent is a lot longer now.

That's some good whore right there.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Elderberry » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:17 pm

Happy Birthday!

Good post.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby some seeing eye » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:04 am

Happy Birthday and best dreams ever!

The only reality is present action. The only constant is change. So I have to agree: deal!
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Tiahaar » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:07 am

Happy Birthday Iso! Hope to cross paths with you out there on the desert ;-)
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby delle » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:45 am

Lovely post, Iso. And a lovely gift you've given us for your birthday in the form of eloquent perspective.

Thank you!! and Happy Birthday!!



...tho I always thought your birthday was Sept. 5th...
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Saguache » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:49 am

Blame is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much easier than taking accountability
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:36 am

Happy Birthday and great post.

In many ways it summed up what I've been feeling but lacked the eloquence to put into words so effectively.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:55 am

I could sit and make a list of all the things that the BMOrg has been accused of and called in the last few months. This "ticketing fiasco" of greed and arrogance and ignorance and incompetence and irresponsibility and and and and and..


..and in the end, it's all a simple fact of more people wanting to go than there are tickets. Period.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby overkyll » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:06 am

Happy Birthday, Iso. You nailed it!
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:27 am

Great post, and happy birthday!
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:24 pm

Thank you
Happy Belated Birthday. And many more, I hope.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri


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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby stinkyfoot » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:57 pm

The other day I came to the conclusion that if Burners stopped making videos of themselves covered in dust and looking so damn feisty and fun, we wouldn't have this ticket problem. The fact is that every time some artifact or person or media comes back from the playa, it paints this really compelling vision of something we don't have, at least in great abundance, in the default world, and people recognize and pursue it.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby ApolloPan » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:02 pm

Happy B-Day! So well written, I want to applaud! Alright, so I really just loved the Ray Bradberry quote at the end, but I would suggest this is the last we'll see of a lottery in this form. It was a worthy attempt at social experimentation, and like many of my most instructive experiments, it failed in its purpose of radical inclusion while supporting the existing community. Lesson learned, let's move on & give the playa the best Burn Day ever! I don't even have a ticket yet myself, but I'll forward any tokens you like to the Man or Temple Iso.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:37 pm

I agree, too, Iso. It's what I have been saying as well. The Burn is not an infinite resource. Any maneuvering of tickets, including a lottery, is simply re-arranging the proverbial deck chairs. It's time for Burning Man to reinvent itself.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:40 pm

ApolloPan wrote:Happy B-Day! So well written, I want to applaud! Alright, so I really just loved the Ray Bradberry quote at the end, but I would suggest this is the last we'll see of a lottery in this form. It was a worthy attempt at social experimentation, and like many of my most instructive experiments, it failed in its purpose of radical inclusion while supporting the existing community. Lesson learned, let's move on & give the playa the best Burn Day ever! I don't even have a ticket yet myself, but I'll forward any tokens you like to the Man or Temple Iso.


You still don't get it.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby drutter » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:19 pm

Isotopia wrote:... For Something Beyond Everyone's Control?

Seriously?

For years now folks here and beyond have been crying about how the event has gotten too big, lost its character, sold its soul, was better last year, etc., etc. Personally speaking, I've been enough times over the years - seventeen in fact - to see the inevitable changes that come with Something Special becoming commodified either by design or out of necessity and I’ve not always liked it. I think a lot of other people here and elsewhere have seen it as well. Certainly they’re weighing in.

The cat calls, gnashing of teeth, wails of indignity about where the direction of the event is heading over the years are legion. Sometimes it seems the howling and keening are the only language we’re able to speak. The language of frustration, anger and disappointment.

We become aware of the changes to that that thing which so many of us have fallen into love with and we're incensed by it. It’s like being in a long-term relationship and all of a sudden waking up in the middle of the night and we realize that person we’ve known and invested so much of ourselves in has changed. Changed in ways that we’re profoundly uncomfortable with. And we’re not sure we like them anymore.

We feel we’ve been cheated. And we’re pained by that. It’s palpable and (I’d argue) it’s real.
We want someone – something - external of ourselves to blame for that change. First timers, frat boys, ravers, hippies, ‘spectators’, the rich and privileged, the poor and marginalized… I mean, it’s like we’re standing on the playa at mid-day, hand to brow sweeping the bright, beautiful expanse of the Lahontan lakebed looking for something to point to as source of this painful discontent so that we can say ‘you’ or ‘that’ caused this.

Hey, I’m just as guilty. OK?

Some of us are old timers, most of us feel (rightfully) like stakeholders, participants, ‘owners’ or just people who went one time on a whim and ended up falling in love with the goddamn thing for its craziness and unpredictability and every other personal adjective you want to define the event by. It doesn’t really matter the number of times you’ve been. Doesn’t matter how big your camp is/was, if you went there even once and you came back forever changed in some small/profound, imperceptible/life altering way you’re in the ranks of the invested and you’re not feeling too good about the current situation. So what’s going on? What’s really happening here? Stupidity? Incompetence? Greed?

I don’t think so.

Not really. I think what’s happening is that the event has hit a wall. That impermeable wall of default world reality has made itself manifest in a place where folks thought this ‘thing’ of ours – our secret little tree house - would continue as before – always.

There is and has always been a bulwark of bureaucracy, political self-servitude, vested interests, political (and economic) intrigue in putting Burning Man on. Fed, state, regional, county bureaucrats have for years been fighting for an opportunity to nuzzle up to the tit of Burning Man trying to extort as much cash out of The Man as they can under the pretense of regulation, license, requirements, permits, etc., etc. while at the same time regulating the numbers of people allowed to attend our little party for myriad reasons – some of them quite valid. Still, you wonder why the tickets go up in price every year.

Those who’re not familiar with the ugly, messy underpinnings of what it takes staff (and volunteers) fifty other weeks of the year to do in order to pull this thing together easily toss off their scathing criticisms as something rooted in failure or gross incompetence.

OK. Toss your barbs, fling your arrows and wave your pitchforks, rent your cloth as one does for Kriah but at the end of the day the bottom line is that This Is How It Is. and some of us aren’t going to get to go. And it’s most likely not for the reasons you’ve assigned.

The fact is that what we see unfolding here is a classic example of what the wilderness writer Garrett Hardin referred to as 'the tragedy of the commons' where you have a finite resource that is exploited by an increasing number of individuals each taking (and expecting) a little more of something than what they've received in the past.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrett_Hardin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

The parable was originally about ecological sustainability but I believe it's perfectly applicable to the current situation.
The truth is that all of us are either directly or indirectly responsible - in part - for what's happening. The event is being loved to death. We go to the lakebed and we return transformed. We can’t wait to tell our friends, our family, loved ones, work colleagues. And so we do. We spin our collective (and individual) yarns of experience, epiphanies and revelations, new insights and how we’ve ended up casting away our old preconceptions and managed to integrate or incorporate new ideas, and beliefs through what happened to us in the dusty, often miserable time on the playa.

And the resonance of those stories hook others like a marlin into wanting to experience the same thing. They’ve been seduced. By you. By us. By our stories.
So they cue up for a finite number of tickets. And some of them get to go and some of the rest of us don’t.

And that’s how it is.

It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Forgive me for posting drunk so late in the evening, on my birthday.

-Iso

tl;dr

But responding to the title of this thread, we're compelled to cast blame, because there is blame to be had, and because identifying problems helps get them solved so that they don't happen again. You can take the position that everything went as best as it could have, if that makes you happy, but a lot of things could have gone a lot better. Casting blame where blame is due is prudent and will benefit us all greatly down the line.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby Dr Jet Sinister » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:04 pm

drutter wrote:tl;dr

But responding to the title of this thread, we're compelled to cast blame, because there is blame to be had, and because identifying problems helps get them solved so that they don't happen again. You can take the position that everything went as best as it could have, if that makes you happy, but a lot of things could have gone a lot better. Casting blame where blame is due is prudent and will benefit us all greatly down the line.


There is something to be said about reading the content before adding your own opinion as you have missed the real message here. :roll:
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby moonrise » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:36 pm

Happy Birthday Iso! Great post *appluase* ;)
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby JStep » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:16 pm

Great post.

And yes, when you write "TLDR" you forfeit any right to a meaningful opinion on the subject as you have already admitted you don't know what you're talking about.
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby BBadger » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:51 pm

drutter wrote:tl;dr


And yet you moronically quote the original post in its entirety so that we may read it again?
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby pink » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:11 pm

What does tldr mean? Too long, didn't read?
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby B the B » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:43 pm

Aye
"what if one of these times the man says f it and decides to burn us?"
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Re: Why Are We Compelled to Cast Blame…

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:22 pm

Nice guesswork, pink.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri


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