Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
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.
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.
Isotopia wrote:... For Something Beyond Everyone's Control?
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.
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.
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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