Tuesday, January 13, 2009



Ah, Burning Man... As Summer winds to a close, we all stock up on distilled water and hallucinogenics, pile into the ol' Winnebago, and head out to Black Rock City, a tolerant, globally friendly place where all us beautiful freaks can cut loose and just BE OURSELVES for a week. It's a magical, wonderful utopia where the free thinkers of the world gather to share ideas, live in tune with the land, and get naked, without fear of The Man's intervention.

WRONG!!! Burning Man is one of my biggest pet peeves, a shallow, narcissistic, hypocritical vortex where rich yuppies blow thousands of dollars to prove that they're "artsy" and "wild", a place where yesterday's ravers go to die. The one benefit of Burning Man is that it clears all the people that I hate out of San Francisco for a week, giving the rest of us (those who have to "work" for a living) a little breathing room for a minute.

Below: With the energy it took to build this sculpture, humanity could have done something worthwhile, like getting crack out of the Tenderloin or assassinating the members of Nickelback.

I've stated before that I try to keep it positive here on Illogical Contraption, and in compliance with the theme, I'd like to state the the whole concept behind Black Rock City POSITIVELY makes me puke. Hordes of "ecologically conscious" Gungans burn tens of thousands of gallons of fossil fuel to attend this carnival of excess, spending MILLIONS on top of that (money that could be used for charity or bettering their own community) to indulge in whatever drugs and vice strike their fancy. Example: Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans just days before the opening ceremonies of Burning Man in 2005. How many of these eco-friendly doucheturds let it spoil their Magical Romp in Pixie Land? Most of them, right? Right?

The hypocrisy of Burners becomes evident upon closer inspection. In 2007 (themed "Green Man"), an installation called "Crude Awakening" used 900 gallons of jet fuel and 2,000 gallons of liquid propane to blast a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. It is estimated that the energy used in this one piece of "art" could have powered all of San Francisco for one full minute. GREEN Man, eh?
With ticket prices nearing $300 dollars for Burning Man 2009 and an average attendance near 40,000, you can bet Fratboy-Fest is making more than a couple wallets fat. Once again, "Counter-Culture" has proved to be neither.
Oh, and by the way: that Magic Pixie Dust all over your Subaru Outback? It's not "playa", bro. it's just plain old dirt.

Despite my hatred for this foolish, self-indulgent, corporate romp in the desert, I must urge past attendees to return again this year. Despite the damage you're doing to the environment and the good money you're dumping down the drain in the name of "art", I treasure my one week of sanity in San Francisco, and wouldn't trade it for anything.
Sound self-centered?
Sound familiar?

Sorry to be a Negative Nancy, but I needed to blow off some steam on the subject. YES, I've never been to Burning Man and NO I never will. I have 5 reasons why not:

a) If I'm going to take a week off of work and risk going broke, I'm going way the Hell out to the mountains, surrounded by friends and/or family, and no one else.
b) I fucking HATE Port-O-Potties.
c) I fucking HATE techno.
d) I don't do drugs.
e) There are REAL ISSUES here in the REAL WORLD far more deserving of my time and attention.

Then again, maybe Burning Man ain't SOOO bad...

I sincerely apologize to any Burners I may have offended with this post, but I call 'em like I see 'em.
There seems to be a Turd in your Punchbowl.


Aesop said...

I like burning man because it is a time where SF has considerably less douchebaggy white folks with dreads, urban attention getters, and "artists." A few years back I made a stencil with the burning man logo and the words "welcome back asshole"

Anonymous said...

it's like i'm reading my fuckin' mind!

Anonymous said...

Can any of your anti-Burning Man folks come up with an original complaint? I'll give you some credit for recognizing that there are yuppies and frat-boys at Burning Man (not just hippies).

I keep see this "power the Bay Area for 1 minute" thing thrown around by BM haters, and I'm pretty skeptical.

Assume ~3000 gallons of fuel, 30 MPG cars, 60 MPH average speed. 90,000 cars will burn through that fuel in 1 minute. The "Bay Area" (Oakland/SF metro area) has 4.2 million people (7.2 million if you throw in San Jose and various smaller outlying MSAs). Going with 4.2 million, there will be an average of 90,000 cars on the road at any given time if everybody spends 2.1% of their time in the car (about half hour a day). Average commute time for San Francisco is 29.2 minutes. Granted, not everybody commutes, but I've been using conservative estimates for the rest of the numbers. Clearly, 1 minute of auto traffic alone in the Bay Area will use of 3000 gallons of fuel. Throw in other power sources, and it's apparent that "power the Bay Area for 1 minute" is complete bullshit.

Your broader point stands though. Yes, burning 3000 gallons of fuel in that manner is a complete waste. Getting to Burning Man is a complete waste of resources. Spending the time at Burning Man is a complete waste when you could be spending it feeding the hungry.

I assume you never travel anywhere for vacations, and spend all of your free time volunteering for worthy causes. Good for you. It would suck if you turned out to be a hypocrite after calling out burners for their hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Burning Man is an empty lie, a final consumerist cherry on top of the counter-revolution begun by Nixon. It is a big, dumb party people pay to get into masquerading as an experiment in anarchy and free living.

Were Burning Man held on Valencia street, in an ad hoc fashion, it would be revolutionary, interesting and it would have a lasting effect on society.

As it is now it is merely escapism, American Idol but more harmful in that it co-opts creativity and artistic resources and encourages the separation of a life lived freely from the "serious world" that all Burning Man attendees return to when the party is over.

Yes, enjoy your party, but do not try and get all philosophical about its meaning without being ready to endure the stinging backlash.

And if you want to have a lasting and positive effect on society you should close down Burning Man and scatter the creative seeds all over the land before it gets 100% played out. I'm certain that a number of great things could spawn from this event in that scenario and maybe then we could look back on it fondly.

Shelby Cobras said...


I was waiting for this one. Thank you for taking the time to read this post and also taking the time to express your opinion.
As for your question as to why the anti-Burner community has no original complaints: I would think that many of us sharing the same complaints about BM would lend a bit of validity to said complaints. But I dunno. Here's an original complaint: I don't like all the playa-covered cars clogging up the Bay Bridge in the beginning of September, slowing my (carpool) ride home from work in Alameda. Is that better?
Everyone has a right to express their opinion, sir, and if you feel I am a hypocrite, I respect that. In my defense, though, I DO make a very real effort to improve the lives of those around me on a regular basis with positivity and kindness. No, I don't spend all of my time volunteering for charity, no one who lives in San Francisco can afford to be that generous. But I think that we are put here on this planet to make those around us happy. Maybe that's how Burners make other people happy, by spending tons of money to blow shit up in the desert. They have every right. I'm merely expressing my opinion. There are many, many annoying people in this city, and I'm sure a lot of people find ME annoying too. So what? Opinions, as they say, are like assholes.
I'm sorry if you think I'm a douche, but I'm not sorry for my point of view. Despite my addictions to science fiction and cartoons, I consider myself a realist. I think that the tens of thousands of people that attend this festival every year are on the opposite end of the spectrum, escapists who flee to BRC every year to take drugs and ignore the world's problems. I feel they are working AGAINST the common good while claiming to be its champions. Maybe my point of view is overdramatic. Sue me.
Again, I thank you for your opinion and welcome you to share it here on Illogical Contraption whenever you feel it's neccessary.

By the way, I got the "power SF for a full minute" statistic from Wikipedia, dude. So it pretty much HAS to be true.

(that statement was sarcastic)

Shelby Cobras said...

BTW, that last comment was for "Anonymous" BEFORE the "Anonymous" above, who I totally agree with. Jeez. Doesn't anyone have a NAME anymore? You guys make this shit confusing.

Anonymous said...


Aesop said...

Sheep do math good.

Shelby Cobras said...

Yeah. That guy sounded like a real 3RD DEGREE BURNER! ZING!