WALL STREET JOURNAL ANTI-BM ARTICLE... or PERSONAL MEDIA?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
IGOREK
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WALL STREET JOURNAL ANTI-BM ARTICLE... or PERSONAL MEDIA?

Post by IGOREK » Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:41 pm

[color=darkblue]
WALL STREET JOURNAL POSTED THIS:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122058209244302597.html


I don't know what were the intentions,
but it is very disturbing as it is mis-leading public by publishing one personal opinion, with false info per Entheon Village response

The article is also being discussed here:

http://community.livejournal.com/burnin ... 70516.html

My support to entheon village and all the burners affected.[/color]
LIVE TO LOVE

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TD-2441
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Post by TD-2441 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:17 pm

That article is written in the typical negative style of the mass media. IMO Travis totally missed the point of BM. 2008 was my first Burn and I seemed to have attended a different event to him. Not once does he describe the beauty of the art and the hours and hours of work that has gone into it. BM showcases the power of our imagination when it's let loose - and the beauty and creations that come from it when it's set free to do as it pleases. Being surrounded by all of this has changed so many people onto better paths in their lives.....but he can't and won't ever see that.

Not once does he describe the Temple, made out of our discarded trash - the inscriptions written on it, the atmosphere that surrounded it if you sat there for a few hours and people-watched. Nor did he mention the Temple burn and the respectful silence of the crowd, as thousands of peoples memories, love and messages went up in smoke.

Not once does he describe the freeing feeling when your cellphone loses its signal and you know that you're going somewhere that has no TV, no internet, no phones, no "outside world". You can be who you want to be at BM, not what society or your job or your partner expects you to be.

"Swimming with drugs" writes Travis. Well I didn't see any of them, I only got a good few whiffs of ganja as I cycled around the Playa. One of the things I've told people back here while telling them about my Burn, was that I never once saw anyone smashed out their heads on alcohol or drugs - staggering around, puking, fighting, or being abusive. It just didn't seem to be that sort of event.....as if people were high enough on just BEING there.

You can bet that if the majority of BRC had been Brits it'd have been a booze and pukefest, as we Brits seem to be the Kings of binge-drinking and vomming before beating the crap out of someone then collapsing in the street with our pants round our ankles.

I *did* see a few things that IMO were a tad distasteful, but in a city of 30-50,000 people then yeah, shit happens - it's not a perfect world and never will be. I accepted this and didn't let it mar the event for me.

Yes, BM does have a massive Carbon Footprint but who is Travis to preach and pontificate when he himself no doubt takes lots of internal flights and international flights in the course of his job, owns an SUV, and consumes as much pointless crap as the majority of the American people do in their everyday lives.

Where else could an event like BM take place but in a remote desert? Have it anywhere near civilization and you'd get light pollution, complaints about noise, complaints about traffic queues, complaints about everything. The whole point of BM being right out in the fuck-off desert, is so we can get AWAY from modern society and all the shit that comes with it!!! :D

I note Travis mentions the dragon art car. A car which I saw close up and I was stunned at the skill that had gone into the build of that car. It was beautiful, a work of pure art and love by it's creator. Travis mentions nothing of this. He acts surprised that Hedge Fund Managers and wealthy people attend - as if he was expecting to find a load of poor-house hippie dropouts without a cent to rub together??? (he'd have probably bitched about that too) So what if wealthy people go to BM??? So what if they hire an RV? After spending my first burn in a very uncomfy impractical tent I'll be darn well hiring an RV in 2010 :oops: :oops: :oops:

He pisses on the whole festival in typical sneering journo stylee. One would hope that anyone reading this article who is even remotely curious about BM, will still decide to come along and make up their OWN opinion about the event.

When people come to BM they either "get it" or they don't. If I'd brought my mum to BM she'd have reacted in exactly the same way as Travis, and said the same things. My mum is one of the most scared people I know, she's only left England twice in her life and is 67 years old. Her mantra is "don't take the risk, stay safe, if you take the risk something bad will happen". She lives thru the mass media and believes everything they say, and has convinced herself that the world is a shitty place. She even said to me once "there aren't many nice places left in the world". OMG this from a woman who has only left England twice.

I didn't tell her I was doing BM until about 3 weeks before the flight, purely cos I didn't want any negative crap from her about how "it'll be full of drugs" and "you'll probably get raped". If Mum read that article she'd take it as absolute truth and tell me I was lucky to survive the event....instead of asking me "how was it for YOU Rache" and accepting another opinion of the event.

I told her when I got back that I'd met and talked to so many people who were SO friendly and chatty (in comparison with Brits who just don't DO casual chit-chat with strangers), and she immediately said "they were probably all on drugs". The Mass Media should be very proud of their creation that is my mother's mind....

Travis you're an arse - don't come back to BM, stick to false plastic corporate crap like fucking Disneyworld in the future.
"I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, Damn. I am less nurturing than a desert". - Demetri Martin

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Post by Toolmaker » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:39 pm

Perfect example as to why I am disgusted that soo many media folks are permitted inside BRC. Did this guy even attend the burn? The man is not made of wicker and doesn't even remotely resemble wicker.
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Post by Marscrumbs » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:48 pm

In general I saw much less nudity at this years Burn, probably due the large numbers of virgins. Also much less drug use than at a rock concert the same size. His recycled criticism of The Greenman's carbon footprint means this guy already had his blinders on.Then what I know about New York City I learned from TV shows like Seinfield and I Love Lucy.If it discourages more virgins next year, then I approve!

Compare this to Time Magazine's who's the oldest burner/ billion bunny march writeup. I think that burrner had a better week and was look for fresh experiences..

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Post by betrdanevr » Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:09 pm

I can certainly appreciate the anger here, though I've not been to BM yet (have to save money for a couple of years, coming a great distance) but I will be coming. And if I don't, it won't be because of an article like that.

Send in some letters to the editor and see what happens!

This guy has written a mood piece. It's not straight journalism. Obviously opinion. Some of it he's obviously assuming unless somebody hit him up for drugs.

Good point that he didn't "bother" writing about the temple burn. He had a good time capturing the "sensationalist" view. I'd be REALLY surprised, however, if he has not read a lot of this forum.

I'll bet, though, that half of the U.S., were they to come to B.M., would leave and have the same impression. Good thing they don't come!

Though I'll be a virgin when I come, I do agree with you, Marscrumbs, maybe it'll discourage . . .

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Post by TD-2441 » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:00 am

betrdanevr wrote:Good point that he didn't "bother" writing about the temple burn.
I reckon he'd gone home by then, couldn't hack the Sunday dust storm....
"I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, Damn. I am less nurturing than a desert". - Demetri Martin

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Post by ZaphodBurner » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:45 pm

My wife noticed this:

"The hotel was happy to host the Burners: A cocktail waitress told me that, despite their shabby appearance, they seemed to have more money to tip and gamble than the usual tourists. Money to burn, you might say."

So basically, the hotel is saying that burners are good business and they tip well. Spoken as sort of a condemnation, in the Wall Street Journal even. We tip well? The subtext suggests that tipping well is beneath him.

Also "It is a society that prides itself on a back-to-nature freedom, but it caters to people who will go back to the office when the festival is over."

Wow. Imagine that. We have jobs and we work for a living. So much for the hippie/trustafarian rhetoric. It sounds like this jackass got all of his preconceived notions handed back to him and he inadvertently exposed his own asshattery. GREAT article.

-c
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Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:18 pm

toolmaker is right....

He was clearly made from Rattan...i hate shoddy journalism.


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Post by roamer » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:05 am

For every journalist that doesn't get it and spreads negativity about the event, fortunately there's another that does get it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/a ... n.festival
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Post by The Bass » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:30 am

Travis Kavulla is a young conservative writer, formerly editor of the Harvard Salient and a National Review contributor.

That he should discover libertinism and hypocrisy, but little else, among the hippies of today is less surprising than predictable.

He's doing his own pilgrimage: an homage to Bill Buckley and Tom Wolfe.

That's his trip.

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Post by Grazelda » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:06 am

poor guy wasn't bright enough to know he was praying with anal beads - not a rosary. but jesus was suitably entertained so no one had the heart to tell him.

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Post by gyre » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:56 am

TD-2441, I am much more upset that you don't seem to think my carbon footprint is impressive enough.
If I could bring enough energy, I'd set up a volcano out there.
That would count, wouldn't it?


My experience with Londoners is that they are very chatty, that is if you can ever find one that speaks english.
Maybe it has to do with being from somewhere else, or maybe it's just about breaking the ice?

And I thought you said something about people being a little standoffish at the burn?
Did I get that wrong?

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Post by Major Mallet » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:18 am

He obviously wasn't at the event; at least not mentally. Aside from inaccurately describing the man, he missed the opera singers, jazz bands, Mozart, art, sculpture, photography, the Temple (and the poignant tributes left there by some of our fellow citizens), the beautiful sunrises and even more stunning sunsets, fireworks, art cars, and countless acts of selflessness, good will and humor.

Sure, our event has contradictions. Contradictions are everywhere in our culture. Sure, there are negative aspects of the Burn. Sure, he has every right to report about his experiences and offer his opinion. However, I am disappointed in him professionally for not reporting the blatantly obvious and empirically positive aspects of our event as well. As a “journalistâ€
Back to Burn in 2016 or Bust!

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Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:14 am

gyre wrote: My experience with Londoners is that they are very chatty, that is if you can ever find one that speaks english.
Londoners rock. The school kids all look like members of AC/DC or the kids in The Wall movie, but in my experience they can out-cuss a US Marine.

The best thing about Londoners though is that after two, everything is free.

"one, two, free..."

In the meantime I've given up on the mainstream media--particularly from the east coast--ever catching a clue about Black Rock City. They seem to bitch about the things in Black Rock City that are exactly what they bring to it: vapid, clueless tourist spectator hypocrisy. The come, they walk around for awhile, take some pictures of the most outrageous things they can find, and then suddenly they're expert enough to write about it in, say, the Wall Street Journal.

-c
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Post by thirt33n » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:46 pm

..i've yet to read all y'all's responses to this column.

i don't find it so horrible. 50,000 people=50,000 opinions. this writer is just another spectator.

if you can't enjoy your experience in my city then try and find something else to do.
blow.

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Post by thirt33n » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:59 pm

Major Mallet wrote:
I fell a bit sorry for him personally because I think he came to the event looking only for the negative and – what a surprise – he found it. He completely missed a wonderful forest because he was fixated on a few bad (in his mind) trees. I guess it shows just how powerful preconceived notions can be in blocking out reality.
word. i sat upstairs in the temple one evening and watched. a couple snaked around behind me, they were masked with headlamps. the guy said, "oh wow honey, look at all that beautiful wood. they're just going to burn it." she replied, "yeah, i'd have to put a end to that,...let's go." and she tried for MINUTES to go down the upside of the staircase ignoring his warnings that it was one way.
blow.

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Post by Elderberry » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:17 am

Am I the only one that doesn't think his article is that bad? Lots of people go to BM and either don't get it or don't like it. I think if I had never been to BM reading his article would have made me want to go.

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Post by actiongrl » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:18 pm

"Perfect example as to why I am disgusted that soo many media folks are permitted inside BRC. Did this guy even attend the burn?"

To be sure, there is absolutely NO WAY you could keep a writer out of the event. None. He wasn't a member of the registered press, and he didn't identify himself in any way, and legally speaking, anyone anywhere can write whatever he wants about Burning Man. It's called freedom of the press, as you probably know, and there is not a single thing we could have done to prevent Mr. Pantybunches from attending even if he had identified himself to us.

The only thing we can control is image use, and you'll note there was no photo included with the story, so we couldn't even deny them permission to use an image as a means of interacting with what they planned to say about Burning Man...we never got a chance to have any interaction with this feller, since he did not identify himself to us or check in at Mecca or ask a single question of anyone, apparently, that didn't just mumble something to him in the dark somewhere.

If he had, we might have been able to talk to him about how plenty of us did indeed learn about Katrina and what a massive response there was, and what became Burners Without Borders. We could have shown him some art (did he even see any?) or introduced him to some camp organizers, or suggested an event or a performance that might have been up his alley - say, folks from his neck of the woods, or with whom he shared some common interests - or given him an opportunity to volunteer for something and get a look at how much work it takes to put on the event and how much people give of themselves, with no expectation of return save for a good time.

The reason we work to interact with the press who attend is so that we can help them get a grasp on Black Rock City. Remember, they're not showing up with an open mind and an anything goes attitude. They're there to get a story, and often are accustomed to sweeping in, hitting the press tent for some free schwag, and never having to spend much time with the masses. By requiring that the press buy tickets and register and go through our process, we aim to fast-track them on the road to understanding Burning Man by requiring them to immerse themselves and become a part of the experience. We essentially gently force them to step out of their reporter boxes and be a part of Black Rock City. So while we can't require writers to register the way we can photographers/videographers, we do heavily encourage it, because if you show up at Burning Man expecting to just report on it and you don't immerse yourself in a personal experience, it's almost guaranteed you'll tell a story a lot like the one Travis has told.

In short, this guy got nothing out of Burning Man because he put nothing into it. Pity, but it doesn't take away from the great time and the powerful experience that so many other people had, not really.

Lazy reporting, for sure.

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Post by Boijoy » Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:14 pm

I agree. He sucks. " the place is utterly saturated with drugs " ha!!

WHERE the heck are all these drugs??? Of course I've only been three years, but not once have I seen drugs being used nor have I been offered any. FALSE advertising I say!! Sue him !!
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Post by Boijoy » Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:16 pm

I've also been thinking the last two minutes. Next year I'm going to sign in as a journalist so I can get the grand tour from ActionGirl.. she's kinda neato!
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Post by Isotopia » Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:45 pm

I'd rather read negative reviews any day of the week instead of the following in the latest Time magazine.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 60,00.html
Desert Storm
By Liam Fitzpatrick Monday, Aug. 22, 2005


In recent years, an ever-growing chorus of festivalgoers has complained about the sanitization of music and arts fests, and not without reason. At this year's Glastonbury music festival in the U.K., for example, well-heeled attendees paid more than $10,000 each to stay in luxury tented accommodation a far cry from the event's countercultural origins. And it seems that no large gathering from Japan's Summer Sonic to Scotland's T in the Park is without its gaudy glut of sponsors' logos. But for those who rail against the commodification of culture, there is always Burning Man (burningman.com). Now in its 19th year, this arts festival in the Nevada desert remains inexplicably free of meddling from high rollers and brand managers. At its heart is Black Rock City, a temporary community of some 30,000 outlandishly dressed souls who make camp for six days (Aug. 29-Sept. 5 this year) with the aim of expressing themselves through music, exhibitions and performances. Regulars know to expect the unexpected, from startlingly decorated floats to interactive art installations to spontaneous dance parties. In an oddly beautiful gesture, much of the art created for the event is destroyed during the festival's climax: the ritualistic incineration of the Burning Man, the 12-m effigy that dominates the camp until the festival's last night. Naturally, there's a great sponsorship opportunity here for kerosene manufacturers but anyone in a suit and tie stands little chance of making it past the gate.


Or this: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article ... 06,00.html

[quote]

I bet my cousin, Irving Kofsky, was the oldest man at Burning Man this year. But Andie Grace, a spokesperson for the festival who keeps track of such things at the annual, week-long circus in the Nevada desert, said there's no way to know. "Among the oldest participants I've ever had the pleasure to hang out with, one was actor Larry Hagman, who was born in September of '31," she said. "So your cousin has him beat." Easily. Irving was seven when J.R. Ewing was born.
More Related

"Do you think you're the oldest guy at Burning Man?" I ask him.

"Don't go there," he says sharply.

Irving, a physicist, is my hero. This is his second trip to Burning Man. His son, Lewis, who's made the trek from New York to the desert eight times, turned Irving on to the scene here and Irving liked what he saw. How could I resist tagging along, too, to gauge this pre-Depression Baby's reaction to one of the most unbridled examples of 21st century self expression and self indulgence? Techno-hippies, freaks, self-described "mutants," the pierced and the tattooed and the nude streamed past us on foot, on bicycles and in two-decker "art cars" festooned to look like pirate ships and space shuttles.

We were walking along the esplanade that rings the crunchy, white sand of the central playa, where 45,000 people materialize, suddenly, every August to construct huge metal sculptures, geodesic domes, mobile dragons that shoot real flames and other art installations that, well, wouldn't be possible anywhere else. Here in the Black Rock desert, a sandstorm caused a white out last Monday and again on Saturday, but on this day, it was clear and windless. Irving, bare-chested beneath a rainbow-colored vest, and a straw pith helmet festooned with a lei of red, purple, blue and yellow silk flowers, looked like he'd just arrived. Which, come to think of it, he had, after a two-day drive in a truck from his summer place in Montana.

We stop in front of a three-story statue composed entirely of bleached, animal bones. I am impressed, Not Irving. "What are we missing here?" he asks. "Art is supposed to inspire."

When I was a little boy, Irving was a man of mystery, like James Bond suavely passing through Miami International Airport. My grandmother and I greeted him as he came off a plane and we sat in a coffee shop, where he diagrammed an atom on a napkin and explained his job — nuclear physicist. Only years later did I learn that he was involved in Operation Dominic, as the U.S. detonated 105 nuclear explosions in the Pacific and he flew in an airplane trying to measure a bomb's electro-magnetic pulse. He hardly ever discussed it.

Could anything be more riveting than watching an atomic bomb explode? What could possibly trump seeing the sky, high above Johnston Island, turn into a man-made aurora borealis?

As usual, my cousin Irving swats aside my questions as if they were pesky mosquitoes. "It was disgusting," he says. "A terrible waste of time. We learned nothing."

Now, across the desert, a giant explosion of flame sends up a rubbery puff of soot-black smoke, and a diaphanous form slowly takes shape: A perfect smoke ring. Framed against the deep blue sky it hangs lazily above the playa — one of hundreds that an attendee known as "the smoke ring guy" will crank out this week. It's typical of the science-heavy art here: Burning Man is where the right brain meets the left brain, where technologists use science to create art.

Suddenly, Irving and I find ourselves surrounded. A mob of people dressed as bunnies — hundreds of them, maybe thousands, with bunny noses and bunny ears and buck, bunny teeth. They swarm the esplanade, carrying picket signs ("The only good human is at the end of a key chain.") The lead bunny is yelling through a megaphone, inciting the crowd, and we are engulfed in a bunny stampede, the annual Billion Bunny March.

We can't move and are frozen to the spot. One bunny pulls a wagon with a boom box that blares "Little Bunny Foo Foo," and a bunny brass band, with a tuba and trombone, marches by. I glance at my cousin and see the light sparkling from his eyes. "See?" says the oldest man at Burning Man. At last he'd found his inspiration. "This is the kind of thing you could never explain."
[/quote]

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Post by actiongrl » Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:42 pm

Boijoi, don't be confused. There's no grand tour. We do one art tour to introduce artists to journos who want to write up their work, but other than that, the only grand tour a reporter ever got from me was a kick in the ass: "Get out of Media Mecca and go see Black Rock City!"

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Post by moshe! » Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:37 pm

Ahh who cares! he was an admitted conversative and came and hated it. Surprise! THen he wrote how much he hated it. Frankly if his article dissuages wall street journal readers from coming we should all thank baccus and the rest of the hedonisitc gods we worship that the stuffshirts are staying away.

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Post by thirt33n » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:59 pm

Iso-thanks for them articles. that second one is a keeper
blow.

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Post by wedeliver » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:47 pm

thirt33n wrote:Iso-thanks for them articles. that second one is a keeper
Made me start to cry like a baby. go figure..
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Reporters and opinion writers are free to follow their path

Post by bradtem » Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:58 pm

Andie, while I was not particularly fond of that WSJ opinion piece, I express no surprise that he made no contact with you. It has to be understood that the goals that the media team expresses, to help the media understand Burning Man, are going to set off all sorts of alarm bells in many journalists.

Burning Man is old enough now, covered enough now, that the "official" or even "community" view of it is no longer news.

If I were a newspaper editor sending a reporter to BM, I would tell her "Of course read the spins of all sides, and talk to all sides, but don't let anybody influence you more than anybody else -- especially the official PR team -- and find out the truth for yourself.

And, sorry to say this, but in my judgement the media team lays on the "good interpretation" a little thicker than most other places I see. Or perhaps it doesn't, but it seems that way because we put on automatic filters over corporate PR. But either way such an interpretation is going to create even more skepticism.

I doubt the WSJ writer was given this message. The WSJ is a paragon of independent journalism on the news pages, one of the world's most accurate, but it is well know to have a very strong slant on the opinion pages, a highly conservative one. They were bound to send somebody who would react to an erotic massage in Entheon with disgust rather than "oh, cool" or disinterest. Or a talk on the war on drugs.

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Post by regynalonglank » Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:19 pm

i think that article is hilarious. speaking as someone who was camped next to Entheon watching them frantically try to build the condos with air conditioning that they are renting out, and leading the sheep that tried to find them to the right gateway since they had no signage, helping their lost campers find where to park, how to find them, and then after they found out that their condos weren't done, letting them hang out in the shade in our dome (and by hang out I mean have tantric sex all over our pillows) I have to say the dude seemed right on to me. at least in the 'that don't seem like burners to me' aspect of things. if that's all he saw then it's no wonder he weren't too impressed :) cuz I weren't neither.
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Post by madmatt » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:27 am

TD-2441 wrote:That article is written in the typical negative style of the mass media. IMO Travis totally missed the point of BM. 2008 was my first Burn and I seemed to have attended a different event to him....He pisses on the whole festival in typical sneering journo stylee.
His article was total bullshit, and he's obviously a complete idiot. Also, if he was worth his salt as a journalist, he would have found A LOT more interesting and revealing things to note.

I disagree about "the typical negative style of the mass media" - going to Burning Man for 8 years now, and I try to read every article I can about it. There are LOTS of really ones about Burning Man, mostly written by good journalists, who go to the event, even if for just a few days, and are transformed by it.

See this one in New York Times about NYC burners preparing for the long journey - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/arts/ ... 4burn.html

This multimedia feature on Chicago Tribune (from LA Times) is great, more for the pictures and panorama things, but that tells the story too - http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertain ... 0342.story

Even Time Magazine had a really nice article that even has active links to youtube videos - http://www.time.com/time/nation/article ... 06,00.html

Sorry, I'm a little defensive because I used to be a journalist and they're not all like the idiots on Fox, or this moron Travis whatever.

honeyfire
Posts: 180
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:49 pm
Location: Denver, Co

Yes, please, keep the assholes disinterested...

Post by honeyfire » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:15 am

If the piece that Travis Kavulla wrote keeps other people like him from coming, i'm down with it.
I don't have a big problem with tightasses telling other tightasses that the Burn is not the place for tightasses to go.
That is all.
I'm just trying not to be liveMOOP...

Civil rights: use 'em or lose 'em!

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chinacatsunflower
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:51 am
Location: Armpit of America
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Re: Yes, please, keep the assholes disinterested...

Post by chinacatsunflower » Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:35 pm

honeyfire wrote:If the piece that Travis Kavulla wrote keeps other people like him from coming, i'm down with it.
I don't have a big problem with tightasses telling other tightasses that the Burn is not the place for tightasses to go.
That is all.
Could not have said it better myself...kudos
See you on the playa!

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