Larry Harvey gets political

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Larry Harvey gets political

Postby KellY » Mon Dec 08, 2003 9:27 pm

In case you missed it on the main page, Larry Harvey has publicly endorsed Matt Gonzalez for Mayor of San Francisco. Here's the text of his speech:

"Several years ago, I shook the hand of Harvey Milk. I met him in my Laundromat. He was alone: no flacks, no spin-doctors, no consultants. He was running for supervisor of San Francisco. And I liked him immensely and I voted for him. He really didn't have much money. He neglected his little camera shop for politics. He was a noble man who became my hero, and he never would have got into office without district elections. Then he was shot and killed -- we all remember -- and so was George Moscone. And after that, everything just seemed to go downhill.

Big money stepped in. It got rid of district elections. It silenced all our voices, but the neighborhoods fought back, and now we have district supervisors, again. About three weeks ago, I shook the hand of Matt Gonzalez. I liked him, too. He wouldn't be running for Mayor if it wasn't for district elections, and he hasn't got much money, either, judging from the campaign contributions on the other side. And yet, I have come to believe that this is our chance - this is our chance - to make up for the last 25 years.

You know, everywhere I go in this country I hear people call San Francisco a world-class city. But you and I know that it's not a big city. It's really a town that is made up of neighborhoods. And, if it has any claim to being a great city, it is because of its grassroots culture. Our city has been the incubator of great social movements, and that is not because of money or the high-rises downtown. It is because we're part of a community that's very like another city that I know of in the Black Rock Desert. People come here as they come to it, to be themselves and live with other people who are also free to be themselves. We are here because we want to live authentically. And if all of you, and all of the people that you know, will just participate in this election, we can re-achieve a kind of greatness that will send that message out across the nation and around the world.

You don't have to feel co-opted. You don't have to say that things have got too big, that money talks. You don't have to hide in a subculture and not speak to your neighbors. Big money doesn't have the power to co-opt us. Arnold Schwartzenager's not the man to tell us what to do. We can collectively express ourselves. Now, at the beginning of the 21st Century, we, united as San Franciscans, can teach the United States of America what it can become. And, hey, I'm not even a Green, but I'm voting for Gonzalez on December 9th.

It's time for people to do what we do every year at Burning Man. Don't be a spectator. Get out there. Connect like crazy with people you don't even know. Tell them that they must participate, and, above all else, please, welcome them home."

I suspect many out there will be aghast at the arau of politics into the sacred confines of What Burning Man IS All About, but I say Right On, Larry.
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Postby joel the ornery » Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:38 am

<yawn>
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Postby Bob » Tue Dec 09, 2003 10:18 am

It's Schwarzenegger, not Schwartzenager, dummkopf.

And Gonzalez already gave his concession speech. Yesterday.

Who was Larry pulling for in the India regional elections? Congress or BJP?
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Postby gravy » Tue Dec 09, 2003 10:18 am

Go Matt!!!! Go Vote!!!
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Postby stuart » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:52 pm

Larry is just a man. He can say what he wants just like the rest of us. He's not running a fucking union or anything.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:03 pm

I do admit, however, that I sort of object to having the email address that
I submitted to be kept abreast of Burning Man events used for political
endorsements.
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Postby actiongrl » Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:30 pm

Well, the main thing is that we thought it important to folks to see what was going on around theese parts. Point of clarification, too: Burning Man is not endorsing the candidate as an organization; Larry endorsed him as an individual.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:33 pm

I mostly get the rationale. I'm not sure I agree with it.

But I'm not going to unsub from the JRS in a huff, or launch a public
smear campaign about how you spammed me with Larry's personal
political views under the guise of updating me about the event.
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Postby gravy » Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:42 pm

It's an opinion and everyone has one. Larry is a prominent public figure, who obviously cares about the state of San Francisco and just like the rest of us, would like to see the city keep its soul. For those who live outside of SF, it probably doesn't matter, but a wolf in sheeps clothing (the 'democrat' Newsom) spent millions of dollars (from the Gettys), had Gore AND Clinton come to SF in support, yet he still couldn't win a majority vote and hasn't stayed ahead in the polls. Matt needs all the help he can get. I applaude Larry for speaking up. Go Matt!!! Go vote!!!
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Postby KellY » Tue Dec 09, 2003 2:59 pm

I think if you look at the content of Larry's speech, the most important point isn't to vote for Matt, but the importance of taking that "participate, don't spectate" ethic out of the playa ghetto and into the rest of the world. If people cared as much about what goes on in their hometown as much as they do for Black Rock City, I think we'd live in a very different (and better) America. And that is a message worth putting out there.
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Postby gravy » Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:13 pm

KellY wrote:I think if you look at the content of Larry's speech, the most important point isn't to vote for Matt, but the importance of taking that "participate, don't spectate" ethic out of the playa ghetto and into the rest of the world. If people cared as much about what goes on in their hometown as much as they do for Black Rock City, I think we'd live in a very different (and better) America. And that is a message worth putting out there.


well said, kelly... hopefully our SF brothers and sisters won't be complacent today.
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Postby Wind_Borne » Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:00 pm

If you are informed on the candidates and issues, VOTE;
if not, stay home and refrain from diluting the votes of those who did their homework.

EOR (End OF Rant)
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Postby TestesInSac » Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:28 pm

actiongrl wrote: Point of clarification, too: Burning Man is not endorsing the candidate as an organization; Larry endorsed him as an individual.


Sorry, AG, but that's as much hair-splitting as it is irrelevant; Larry is the final word in the organization, and used an organizational tool to convey his endorsement. Based on the rest of his text, I expect to see more of such endorsements, and I doubt that they'll be limited to SF.

But, like Precipitate, I'll not unsub from the JRS, and I have no personal preference between the contenders in SF (being in Sacramento).
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Postby Wind_Borne » Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:38 pm

When an organization is young and small, its goals and clear and tight; but, typically, that focus becomes blurred as the organization grows and tries to be more things to more people. The AARP clearly illustrates this mutation. As an ACLU member sometimes I see that group go off on some tangent I don't understand. The problem is common; the solution difficult.

We all have in our minds a notion of what BM is and where it should be going. But since BM is really tens of thousands of people, we actually have tens of thousands of overlapping ideas about what BM is and where its going.

Imagine all those ideas as myriad intersecting venn diagrams (remember set theory). The union of those ideas, everything covered by anyone's ideas, is the scope of BM. The intersection of those ideas, the place where those ideas mutually overlap, could be thought of as the essence of BM: our mutually shared values and concerns. I contend that the BMOrg serves this community best when it focuses on the community's essential concerns.

This reasoning leads me to these conclusions:
- BMOrg should take interest in politics that have proximate and direct effect on the BM event itself.
- On the other hand, BMOrg resources should not be used for politics outside its strict function.
- Burners as people should take a personal interest in politics in general.
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Postby actiongrl » Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:40 pm

But who defines the "strict function" of the organization?

OH, btw, for some reason I mistook the comments above to refer to the SF announce list. Your point about the JRS was well made.

But if we didn't communicate what we've been doing in getting involved with politics here, we'd be remiss.

And I'd argue that the future of the arts in SF (nay, the future of the city in general) is very impacted by this election... and SF being the city from whence our school of thought first sprung, and where our home office resides, it would be folly to ignore the future of that city.
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Postby TestesInSac » Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:57 pm

actiongrl wrote:...it would be folly to ignore the future of that city.


Sounds dire. I didn't know there was a GOP candidate.
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Postby Wind_Borne » Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:12 pm

Good question, Actiongrl!

And the answer to that question deserves lots of consideration because of its ramifications. Not that I know the answer.

Companies run best when they stick to their core business. But often identifying that core is the hard part. Is it what the owner of the company wants? Or is it what the customers want? And what the hell do the customers want, anyway?

On one extreme BMorg could act as a direct extension of Larry's thoughts; on the other, it could act in response to some amorphorous community urge. In fact, it's up to the guiding members of BMOrg to find a path between those two extremes.

Groups usually do one thing well; many things not so well. Amazon.com used to stand for books; what do they stand for now? Everything? Nothing?

Returning to the concerns over political action... I think there is a sense that political entanglements would color the event in the desert; or label it as a specific political group's event; somehow drag our floating oasis down into the muck of the everyday.

So I don't have a clean answer to your question. Just ways of thinking about the problem.
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Postby Zane5100 » Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:33 pm

I have to say that Larry's endorsement and use of the Burning Man communication resourses are within his right to do so. There is little doubt that the buck stops with him.

If anyone doesn't like it--tough fucking shit. He calls the shots.

Being in another state, I could give a shit about SF or California politics, and as far as him filling up space on JRS, well there's plenty of extraneous bullshit (depending, of course, on your point of view) in it anyway.
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Postby TestesInSac » Tue Dec 09, 2003 6:24 pm

I don't think it's a question of rights. My point is more like Wind_Borne's, in that getting into politics these days carries several hazards with it.

First (in my mind) there's a partisan hazard. That is, politics these days are extremely polarized, and if you identify with one side, you immediately make enemies of the other. I suspect that the end result here would be Rainbow-ization, which is something a lot of current burners would simply not bother with.

Then, there's the "default world" hazard, where the event itself becomes a reflection of our day-to-day life, as Wind_Borne mentions.

There's no avoiding a certain amount of either situation, but political endorsements are a slippery slope that guarantees a lot more of both hazards.
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Postby Zane5100 » Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:53 am

Since when did burners start looking for the safe route?

If Larry wants to wade into a shark-infested cesspool, all the more power to him. Frankly, I would love to see more people get politically involved--even if I don't agree with them.

There are plenty of politics associated with the event as it is that most of use don't see or deal with, and Larry has gained quite a bit of experience in "making sausage" keeping Burning Man running where it is. If he wants to make endorsements based on his experience and desires, bully for him.

I'm not so sure that his personal endorsement is going to endanger Burning Man™ or the event, but I think it's a bit naive to think that most people are going to divorce Larry, the human being and American citizen that is exercising his constitutional rights, from Larry, the "God of the greatest thing ever" (as one hippie I met called him).

I think the event already is a reflection of our lives in many ways. In that train of thought, "You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear."

...and maybe it's a little early in the morning for me to start ranting.
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Postby Araceli » Wed Dec 10, 2003 9:47 am

Zane it's never too early or late to rant.

Also to offer everyone some much needed relief, Kinetic is finally on his way to Yellowknife way up in the Canadian Territories. Enjoy the silence. I'll post this here and see how long it takes people to find it.

Finally I can get back to normal just like everyone else. No more conference calls, Calvin & Hobbes clips, old Far Side stuff, and nobody to beat at Combat Flight Sim 3. I'm going to miss him.
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Postby Bob » Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:45 pm

Araceli wrote:....Also to offer everyone some much needed relief, Kinetic is finally on his way to Yellowknife way up in the Canadian Territories. Enjoy the silence. I'll post this here and see how long it takes people to find it.....


ObImage: WC Fields as Mr. Snavely in The Fatal Glass of Beer ("I think I'll go milk the elk.").


Anyhow...

Kelly & AG -- we know Larry. If Larry gets a bug in his ass about something, you can't stop him -- you can only hope to contain him. It's a given that as the major-domo of Burning Man, part of his job is to pump out opinions on the state of the counterculture. I fully accept that the best of intentions led to putting

Larry Harvey Endorses SF Mayoral Candidate Matt Gonzalez
Read the text or watch video of the speech.

and associated linked text and video on the Burning Man web site, but it looks as silly the day after as "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" on the front page of the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1948.

BTW, I voted for Matt --- what you might call a symbolic mercy vote. I met him once at a party of a friend of a friend who's on the school board, bla bla bla, and he seems like a well-intentioned guy with values many of us might share. He really did give what sounded like a concession speech on Monday, thanking his supporters and encouraging them to keep the faith no matter what, etc. -- every politician follows poling data, and I'm sure he had an inkling about the final voting results. So, voting at 7:30 last night, I figured what the hell, throw the kids a symbolic bone. I want SF to be known as a city that [i]could[/] elect a truly green/far-left mayor, but given the adversarial strong mayor v. board of supes system in SF, I'd prefer a green/far-left mayor with a more broad-based board than we have now.

Politics here, or anywhere, is dirty business. Like sewage, it froths over with posturing and polarizing scare tactics that mask the more persistent residue of policies and regulations. We're all somewhere in the pipe, most of us just going with the flow and hoping it hits the ocean outfall sooner than later.

Larry's job description, as I read it from the web site and from a dated copy of the Operation Manual, certainly can be assumed to include sticking his tit in the wringer of local politics. Publicized among Burning Man participants and anybody browsing the web site in the manner of a front-page endorsement, there is no doubt that it is on behalf of the "project", so please spare us the bullshit that it's only his opinion. Whether we take that as representing us, as participants, is an unresolvable matter, but it undeniably represents that of "Burning Man".

Ob-eplaya: You might say, and even wish, that eplaya has the potential to provide a forum to discuss with representatives of the LLC the ramifications of Burning Man's political actions, not to mention more mundane matters such as new policies on art cars and other aspects of the event itself -- before they are finalized, rather than after.

It's plain from the history of discourse on staff lists, volunteer group lists, Burning-Man-related mailing lists, and the eplaya that such discussions may appear haphazard, and contain a lot of flammage in hashing over old arguments, but empirical evidence indicates that many people with worthwhile opinions put them out there in electronic form, and they have some effect on decision-making and results.

The eplaya software provides tools -- polls, sticky-message announcements, and topical discussions that can be moderated if desired -- and the added benefit of archiving, so it can be seen how ideas evolve.

Meanwhile, we are left to imagine Larry craned over a keyboard in his smoke-filled room tapping out intellectual (and now political) fodder for the masses. Those of us who know him know that he talks, and even stops and listens once in a while, just like the rest of us. He might even read the eplaya once in a while.

Whether such formalized online vetting of ideas and proposals happen, I'm still happy just posting whatever here. I have some confidence that it will be read, I know that it becomes a part of a nominally permanent archive, but still wonder whether participants now and in the future -- people who want to participate -- see all this as something that has value, or just a bunch of serial belches in the wilderness.
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Postby Zane5100 » Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:42 am

Bob wrote:...whether participants now and in the future -- people who want to participate -- see all this as something that has value, or just a bunch of serial belches in the wilderness.


I see it as an archived combination of the two.

Sometimes the shit slinging is eclipsed by meaningful discourse and/or insight. Sometime the shit slinging takes the spotlight.

I really don't think that will forever go one way or the other, but will continue to oscillate between the two.
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Postby Bob » Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:41 am

No comment.

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Postby joel the ornery » Tue Dec 16, 2003 6:01 pm

Bob wrote:No comment.

Image Image Image


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Postby Badger » Tue Dec 16, 2003 6:57 pm

Que es mas macho?

Carbine or cigarette?
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Postby Bob » Sat Dec 20, 2003 3:25 pm

Ich bin ein Homburger.
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Postby que.f.o. » Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:42 am

Bob = cogent + succient
Is it time to Burn yet?
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Postby Patience » Wed Dec 24, 2003 11:52 am

Well I for one am planning to vote for Gonzalez on election day. I think people should pay more attention to politics.
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Postby Booker » Wed Dec 24, 2003 2:15 pm

succient


ITYM succulent.
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