Burning Man has jumped the shark

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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TheJudge
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Burning Man has jumped the shark

Post by TheJudge » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:20 am

http://mediamorgue.blogspot.com/2008/08 ... shark.html

Someone had to say it. It might as well be me.

Thoughts?
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Post by AntiM » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:35 am

Someone had too much time on their hands.

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TheJudge
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Post by TheJudge » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:36 am

I've been writing this article since the announcement of last year's theme. So no, not a lot of time, just a lot of opinion.
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Post by Fire_Moose » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:45 am

This is my first year....I was a little dissapointed when i hweard what the theme to my first burn would be....

I got over it.
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Post by hunter S » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:52 am

I think you have out grown the event! nothing wrong with that.
But 50,000 other people are still having a great time and embracing a diffrent veiw point.

I did enjoy the read!
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Post by TheJudge » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:53 am

Why have a theme? Why doe we all need to conform to someone else's idea of what the event should look like? Why not allow radical self-expression to exist outside of the box everyone tries to cram it in?
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Post by zabsinth » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:01 am

What changes would you make to the current format of the event?

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Post by hunter S » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:09 am

If the event eroided over the next five years to say...? 50% & no theme, whould you come back?

I tride make a change once...I told everone to "just keep it", or "I'll just owe it to you".........worked about half the time!
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Post by misfit » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:29 am

>>>>It doesn't matter to me anymore, because I wont be there.<<<<

couldn't afford the ticket price this year,,, eh....?....
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Post by Timezone LaFontaine » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:56 am

TheJudge wrote:Why have a theme? Why doe we all need to conform to someone else's idea of what the event should look like?
We don't. I sure as hell won't be out there in some Uncle Sam outfit reminiscing about cars. I'll be doing my own thing as per usual, and having a great time, volunteering with the Lamplighters, whatever.

I think the phrase "jumped the shark" is a bit played out.

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Post by lurker » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:15 pm

Lotta effort just to say "Burning Man was better....>insert personal opinion disguised as qbjective observation here<".

And can all the theme whiners shut up already? There's no Burning Man Secret Police waiting at the gate to make sure all your art conforms to the theme. You CAN do whatever you want. And the founders and owners can, too.

They call theirs 'the theme'.
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Post by RegRad » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:26 pm

That's Great! You don't like the event anymore.... Stay home, mope around your domicile and reminisce about how good it was when you and 400 other people were the only ones there.... :lol:
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Post by TheJudge » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:47 pm

Timezone: Yes, you don't have to follow the theme and that is thankfully part of the fun of going to the event: completely ignoring the stuff the Borg wants you to see and do and just do and discover stuff on your own. I've been doing that since they started doing themes. However I think it sends a mixed message to have a theme and in the same breath talk about how amazing it is to see everyone express their own version of what the burn means to them.

My point: themes are stupid and are an excuse for someone that is not creative enough to come up with an idea on their own.

And I don't think "Jumped the shark" is played out. Just because it refers to a show that was off the air for several years before you were conceived doesn't mean its played out. I think it fits perfectly.

Misfit: Not an issue. Never has been. Never will be.

Lurker: Blah blah blah. I used to hate the folks that said "burning man was better last year." Now that I've grown, I understand why they say that. Sure there is some amazing stuff out there, but just how "radical" do you think you can express yourself with that many people out there...which naturally draws the attention of a lot more government authorities all wanting a piece of the BM pie?

Mmmm. BM Pie. Yummy...

RegRad: No moping to be done. I still hang out with the same fuckos I met the first year I went and I love every one of them. For me the event has never been about the man burning or the costumes or nifty forms of transportation. For me its the desert itself. And with that, I dont need 50,000 people. I just need the people I like and a good bottle of scotch.

Hunter: Good point. If the event was only 20,000 that would still be too many people to REALLY do whatever you want. However now that every government agency in the state knows about the event, there is no way to put the money-grubbing, bureaucratic assholes back into the bottle.

Zabsinth: Dispose of the theme, stop making the man the central point of focus and limit the number of tickets sold.
"Be at one with the dust of the earth. This is primal union." - Lao Tsu

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Post by Ugly Dougly » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:05 pm

Didn't you know? Any numbskull can have a blog, and suddenly his words are sacred writ.

Image

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Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:12 pm

TheJudge wrote: My point: themes are stupid and are an excuse for someone that is not creative enough to come up with an idea on their own.
So what? Had Burning Man not "jumped the shark" when perhaps you liked the themes better, or has it only because you don't like the theme and the fact that more people have brought their friends and family out with them?

Whatever. It's your world. Go play in it. I guess I don't understand why somebody would publish an article trashing somebody else's good time. I'm not even really certain why "The Daily Dissection of Hollywood" is relevant to -anything- intellectual, creative or relevant, but, that's between you and your intended audience. Hollywood itself has largely jumped the shark and in no way resembles the Black Rock Desert , empty, with a bottle of Scotch...although a whole bunch of us in places like Nevada and Oregon kinda wish it did.

Personally, I like the street names and the theme in 2004. Naming the streets after the planets... standing out there on the playa at night, staring at uncountable stars an unimaginable distances, and then looking at BRC as its own little thriving system in the middle of vast emptiness, revolving around The Man. Perfect. They'll never do better than that.

Or they could have just named 'em A street, B street, C street and dispense with a theme altogether.

-c
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Post by TheJudge » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:53 pm

Zaphod - the theme is not the only problem, just one of many. The big one is over saturation of people and most with a non-participatory attitude. Everyone feels entitled to be entertained by others without having to feel the need to contribute on their own.

And I agree with the street names from 2004. Simple and easy to understand. Now they all have to comply with whatever politically correct theme the borg decides for that year.

As for "the Daily dissection of Hollywood," the website focuses on issues related to the media. Hollywood tends to be the main focus, but since Burning Man is so ingrained in the media now, it seemed appropriate to include an article about it.

Dougly - My words are not sacred, just my opinion which seems to be part of a growing consensus. But thanks for the promotion anyway.
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Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:24 pm

TheJudge wrote:Zaphod - the theme is not the only problem, just one of many. The big one is over saturation of people and most with a non-participatory attitude. Everyone feels entitled to be entertained by others without having to feel the need to contribute on their own.
I'm not sure what this "Everyone" is you speak of. When everyone feels that way, there will be no art on the playa. Last I looked, there was a whole lot of it.

As far as the tourist element, people in New Orleans have been saying the same thing about Mardi Gras since before political pressure forced the desegretation of the krewes in 1993 or whenever. The problem is the media. They hype it. They spread misinformation and rumor... they talk about it. You, for example, wrote about it. Mardi Gras Cops, Reno 911, CurrentTV, YouTube... nothing holding 'em back now except the difficulty in getting there.

Solution: Stop exposing it in the media. Protect it from the mainstream. Nobody knows about the other event that happens out there, and it's probably more Burning Man than Burning Man for it.

Also, I wonder about the word "ticket," versus, say, "fee" or "license." You buy a ticket to Disneyland, or to a movie or a concert, and you expect to be entertained. But on some public land pay a camping fee, and you're on your own. You buy a fishing license but they don't guarantee you're going to catch anything. Maybe that will discourage some of the entitlement-types who think that their ticket comes with a blowjob and a tour guide.

-c
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Post by Zulegoona » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:08 pm

I wasn’t there in “98,.. 2004 was my first year. I’d only heard about it a year earlier and had spent a year downloading pictures and becoming part of the e-playa on-line community. The first person I met on the playa who’s name I knew from on-line was “The Judgeâ€

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Post by hunter S » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:16 pm

Zule,I tip my hat my friend! Well said.
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Post by Finnegan » Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:45 pm

Why doe we all need to conform to someone else's idea of what the event should look like?
Um, I don't. Ignore the theme, make art for the masses and have a great time. What is so hard about that?

On the other hand, the event is getting huge, and I applaud your decision to reduce the crowd by one. Well done.
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One down!

Post by Melvynman » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:57 pm

Its not about the event, its about the people that make the event what it is.
You got that right. You won't be missed.

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Re: One down!

Post by Kinetik V » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:14 pm

Melvynman wrote:
Its not about the event, its about the people that make the event what it is.
You got that right. You won't be missed.
Bullshit. A community is only as strong as the sum of it's parts. The event keeps losing veterans, the people who plow thousands of dollars into the insanity of it all without much of a thought. As they leave, yes there's new blood to take their place but it's still going to take time to get up to speed on what works out there. Don't discount what veterans bring to the event. When they turn their back on BRC, anyone with even a remote interest in the event gains nothing...but we all lose a little bit more and more of what makes this event so special to many.

And as for what was written on the blog, it came from the heart and IMHO it was a damn good post. If you don't like his opinion hit the back button on your browser and move along. There's lots of other things online to look at.
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Post by thirt33n » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:42 am

without reading anyone else's reply i just want to say.......


....yawn. have fun at the labor day bbq. biatch.


edit...KV, i agree with your first point, but "the judge" did ask for our thoughts. and it appears the judge doesn't like to hear what many of the "jurors" have to say.

I believe that the subject matter of "the judge's" blog "jumped the shark" within a week of 'The American Dream' 2008 theme announcement. ....or maybe even before.


can't yuk my yum

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blow.

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TheJudge
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Post by TheJudge » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:05 am

Yes, I did ask for people's thoughts and I continue to welcome them. Perhaps this can be less about my article on the website and more about the philosophical discussion of the underlying problem: gentrification and the evolution of the culture.

Zulegoona - thanks for seeing past the words and hitting the nail on the head. Its what the Buddhists call "impermanence" and I'm starting to understand that more with each passing year. I'll be happy to share a drink with you any time. Glad I made an impression on you your first year.

Melvynman - You dont know me. You will never know me and you will never understand the bigger picture. In short, go fuck yourself.

Kinetic - thanks for always having my back and understanding what I was trying to say.

Thirt33n - I enjoy hearing all opinions. And opinions - as you so eloquently illustrated with your nifty ebonics - are like assholes: Everyone's got one.


As the city gets bigger and bigger, certain aspects that made this event unique slowly evaporate and the line that separates Burning Man and just another big-ass festival gets more difficult to discern. The culture is changing, that is obvious.

I still keep the spirit of the event inside of me, I just don't need to be surrounded by 50,000 frat boy spectators to experience it.
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Ron
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Re: Burning Man has jumped the shark

Post by Ron » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:31 am

TheJudge wrote:...

Thoughts?
You've illustrated the common burner change and growth line very well. :)

Seems to me that many of us, our first few times to BRC, are overwhelmed with awe and wonder. We wader around, seeing all the cool people doing cool stuff and fall in love with the place. As the years pass we come again and again but, inevitably, that awe and wonder diminishes, to a greater or lesser extent.

Lacking the filtering abilities those reactions give now we start to see the ugly side of the burn. Folk don't seem so cool when they are in a fist fight, screaming insults at each other, pissing on our stuff, taking pictures of naked boobies, stealing bikes, or whatever. Now we've seen, 'the other,' and quickly label them as "weekenders, frat boys, tourists, spectators," or so on.

In our mind they are new additions to the burn. Something that must have developed since those wonderful first years when we were consumed with the awe and wonder. But, really, they are us and they have always been there. As we get more used to BRC we see more of it and think it has changed. But really, we have changed.

You never could do, "anything you wanted," at burningman. That's a common myth but there have always been the noses of the other burners to limit the swinging of your fist, not to mention that it's always occurred in the U.S. And theme or no we still are every bit as much creating our culture with every interaction out there, wether there are 50K folk doing it with us or 500.

So you grew out of your good time on playa. It happens. But that's a function of changes in you, more than changes on playa, seems to me. It happens to *lots* of burners as far as I can see things.

Ron

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Post by lurker » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:47 am

And then there are the 'bigger' whiners.

Y'know what? I WANT BRC to get bigger. A lot bigger. I'd like to live to see the day when it's population includes the population of the planet.

As it's gotten bigger I've noticed something in the yahoo population of the city--there's a whole lot of them who are at least trying to do something. They've been changed by the event.

Sure some people might not like what they do--but they're participating--not simply watching.

BRC is a city that wobbles near that line of total human freedom. It is that which makes Burning Man the slice of heaven that it is to so many. Here you can be yourself--without much referent to the structures and mores of the default world. And the idea, the need, for this is spreading.

Isn't that a good thing?
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Post by CapSmashy » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:08 am

I have this friend. He's a drunk. He drifts from one dead end job to the next, one damaged relationship to the next, one drink to the next. The one thing you can always be guaranteed to hear from Drunk Tony are thrilling stories of the "Good old days". The same fucking good old day stories rehashed and retold every fucking time Tony decides to get drunk and escape the pathetic life he has created for himself.

Tony's problem? He built up a set of expectations of what he felt his life should be. The more he tried to make those expectations his reality the more disgruntled and disillusioned he became with who Tony is. So Drunk Tony emerged out of it and can do little else but keep telling all of us how much better it used to be despite the obvious fact that the rest of us have moved on and kept evolving with our lives. Adapting and changing our flow to what is, not what we think it should be.
Why have a theme? Why doe we all need to conform to someone else's idea of what the event should look like? Why not allow radical self-expression to exist outside of the box everyone tries to cram it in?
Who is being crammed into a box? Who is conforming and what exactly are they conforming to?

Did you ever pause to consider that radical self expression is possibly not so radical after all?
Hollywood tends to be the main focus, but since Burning Man is so ingrained in the media now, it seemed appropriate to include an article about it.
So that's why I continue to get blank stares from people when I tell them I'm headed to Burning Man?

Burning Man is still very far from the mainstream culture.
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Post by TheJudge » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:27 am

Malcom in the Middle and The Simpsons would beg to differ.
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Post by CapSmashy » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:46 am

TheJudge wrote:Malcom in the Middle and The Simpsons would beg to differ.
No. No they wouldn't.

The few casual references made on a handful of television shows (even ones where the creative force behind them involve long time Burners) has not really done much to make Burning Man mainstream.

Otherwise, as I mentioned earlier, I would not get the plethora of blank stares when I mention Burning Man to people that have no fucking clue as to what it is. Even people that have heard of it do not know much more about it than its something in the desert somewhere out west.
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Post by ZaphodBurner » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:50 am

TheJudge wrote:I still keep the spirit of the event inside of me, I just don't need to be surrounded by 50,000 frat boy spectators to experience it.
It sounds like you're saying that you're the only participant, and the other 50,000 people are just spectators to your event.

Seems a little cynical.
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