Negativity Abounds at This Years Burning Man

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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Negativity Abounds at This Years Burning Man

Post by hipechk » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:03 am

What is happening to burning man? Is reality catching up to it?

Last year it was the most positive experience of my life, and I bragged about how I didn't hear even one voice raised in anger, let alone witness a fight. It renewed my faith in mankind that (for at least a week) people could be kind, and patient, and understanding and create a community of peace.

This was not even close to my experience this year. I heard many voices raised in anger. The event was thick with frat boy mentality. The night of the temple burn, usually a night of reverence, was especially disturbing. Three men in front of me (one dressed in a silver sequined dress) mocked and sang (horribly) over the opera singer the entire time in the largest display of disrespect I could have imagined. Meanwhile, a young woman with a megaphone stood behind me showering the crowd with a barrage of magnified "[email protected] Off!" variances.

Are these newbies that don't understand the philosophy of Burning Man? Is the event getting so big that it's drawing in too many lookie loos? And most importantly, what can be done to bring the event back to its philosophical roots?

These negative observations are not mine alone. Several of my campmates had similar experiences - which is making us question whether we'll return next year. It would be sad if this bad karma drives off exactly the type of people that embrace the spirit of Burning Man.

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Post by magician » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:17 am

I wonder if you yourself understand the true philosophy behind burning man. Take a quick peek at this page: ... ience.html

Or read this first sentence from the FAQ:

"Burning Man is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance."

Seems to me the folks you complain about were just as true to the spirit of burning man as you, if not moreso. They simply had different feelings and emotions which needed expressing. (and with the whole Mars situation, and a mercury retrograde to boot... I was surprised there wasn't much more anger and disruption at this years event).

The thing I love most about BM is the lack of judgement from others... I wonder if there are too many happy loos coming in trying to impose their idea of spirit on the event.

the magician

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Post by stu » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:23 am

I wonder if there are too many happy loos coming in trying to impose their idea of spirit on the event.
<with apologies to III>
</with apologies to III>
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This is not a new thing

Post by Hoyden » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:24 am

I'm glad to hear that last year was bliss for you, and sorry to hear that this year was not, but don't for a minute imagine that the event has taken a 180º turn in the last year. Last year I saw fist fights, verbal altercations, and while volunteering in the café, was subject to more than one angry diatribe by the people I was working my ass off trying to help. This year was no different. It’s all about time and place. It’s all there every year. This year the main burn was great for me (unlike last year), but the temple burn was ruined by the pounding techno pumping out of three separate art cars. Did I get mad? Yeah, a little. Did I get confrontational, and ruin someone else’s night? Nope. I just walked off to my camp, and danced my ass off there. If you choose not to come back, well . . . that’s your choice. But I will be going back, because the good outweighs the bad, and until the scale tips, I’m still in . . .
Your god is forgiving, Cthulhu thinks you'd make a nice sandwich.

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Welcome to being veteran.

Post by Rob the Wop » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:37 am

Just kidding, but there is a serious side to this. When you first hit Burning Man, its a wild ride on your consciousness. The next year its the same, but after repeatedly going- the event changes. I quit going after 1999 because of the loss of serious large scale art and the intrusion of more dance/rave/sound installations. The event is changing, if this year was your first year- you would be stoked to go next. But all the old time veterans I know quit going after a while. If you are the type that likes the changes that are happening, then you keep going. If you want the art to come back, forget it. The interactive, visual, artistic bent is giving way to the artcar, dancing, and partying crowd.

The best thing is to give it a break for a year or two, then come back. If you still don't like it- maybe you've gone past the need for Burning Man. I went this year and found that I no longer wanted to go. I even left early (though actually for a number of reasons).

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BM is what you make of it...

Post by ignatia_amara » Thu Sep 04, 2003 12:35 pm

We've been to BM twice and LOVED it both times. This year we helped build a playa art project, wore fiber optic based costumes, and hung out with many BM artists. It was a working BM for us so there was not a whole lot of time for partying. Did some of the obnoxious behavior bother us? Sure, but we didn't let it ruin our good time. Yes, there are too MANY party buses and dance places on the Playa...BUT there are also a ton of dedicated artists and interesting people out there as well. The BEST thing was having a ton of people come up to us and ask about our costumes.

Like life, BM is work. You have to work to get involved and you have to work to meet 'your people' that you will hang out with. If you go to BM and expect it to be the BEST thing in the world w/o lifting a finger you'll be disappointed. If you let the 'frat boy mentality' constantly piss you off, you'll be pissed off all week :D . If you think that there is no more art and that BM is a big rave in the desert, you are missing a major part of BM.

Keep in mind that BM is a volunteer organization. If you want BM to focus more on art and less on partying, let them know, speak up, volunteer! This is what we are planning on doing.

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Post by nodule » Thu Sep 04, 2003 12:56 pm

Two years ago, I was right next to some similar mocking behavior at the Temple of Tears burn. There were others who began to challenge that behavior and argue about it. I was there remembering a close friend who had died a month earlier, but I was fascinated by the whole confrontation, and wondered how this community was going to resolve it. What happenned finally, was that those who were there with reverence and serious intent (including myself) just seemed to make it more internal - ignoring the harsher irreverent playfulness around us. It worked. everybody got what they were there for.

Frankly, what I find more disturbing is the passive "entertain me" spirit that seems to permeate all the big burns (including The Man). I don't go to the temple burns anymore and I hang back behind the crowd at The Man, interacting with people, art cars, etc. A fire dancing show and a front row seat are not what it's about for me.

I'm also missing the interactive art - but this is a you-make-the-event event. The obvious solution is for me and others who feel the same, to make more interactive art.


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Post by PJ » Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:27 pm

I'll confess that I perceived an air of something not being quite right this year.

Maybe it was 100% inside me and had nothing to do with the event.

The skeletal condition of much of the major infrastructure well into the week--the Man's base and the big entryway thingie at the south end of the Promenade, for example--contributed to this sensation. I'm told by an .org staffer that the late start on major art projects was intentional, as part of the financial decision to reduce head count prior to the event. But for me this merely lent vague a feeling of "disorganization at the top" to the city.

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BM is what you make of it indeed

Post by PureJoy » Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:30 pm

The 2003 temple burn was by far the most intense spiritual experience I have ever had. As the temple collapsed, I impulsively ran with many others in the inner circle towards the fire and I believe this was the most amazing experience for anyone who was sharing it there with me... no more noise, no more techno, no more yelling... just sheer energy, intensity of the fire, pure communion, pure joy, people chanting, oming, crying, holding hands.... the universe around collapsed and we stayed there for many hours...

Let's not rely on indignation to make this world (or BM) a better place. Let's first accept things the way they are. It then becomes obvious what to do to make things the way you want them to be (e.g. a more spiritual temple burn) -- e.g. you could hush, chant, om, hold hands, spread the word to fellow burners during the week that temple burn is spiritual time, etc, etc, create the right energy -- just a million things you can do to enhance this experience that you and us (and nobody else) create.

It all comes from inside. It's the giving....

Hope you won't shy away from 2004 !!
(all I experienced in 2003 was beyond-belief positivity !!!)

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It was my fault....

Post by ravenluv » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:50 pm

Maybe it was Mars and a retro Mercury, or maybe it was me.

2K2 was my first burn and, like hipechk, it was for me a joy from start to finish. This year I brought along a newbie who also happens to me my girlfriend. Logic, intuition and a couple of dreams told me what was going to happen this year. I was ready to bail, but she wanted to come. Not wanting to disappoint, I made the trek anyway.

She's a complainer, pure and simple. I was once a complainer much like her, so I see this relationship as part of my karma (oh, how I do sympathize for former girlfriends...). All the same, it can be a bit much sometimes. It's not that she doesn't see accurately what is wrong with any given picture. It's just that her blind spot tends to obscure what is good.

My experience of BM is that it is an intense psycho-feedback vortex of some kind. By the end of a week there, examples of synchronicity and psycho-feedback are simply too numerous to list. But here's one for the record....

Me and my companion were inevitably forced to deal with issues between us at BM. This came to a head on the night of the burn. The burn was fantastic and furthered my belief that the universe was choosing to gift us. However, some intense discussions arose between us afterward. At one point, I felt like I was being too heavy for the playa, for the event and all the rest. Deep down, I knew that I had to make my point. I didn't want to be heavy though I felt I was being just that. I felt kind of bad about it. I wasn't loud. I was just saying some very serious things in serious tones.

That's when a group passed by and a girl started singing "He ain't heavy, he's my brother". That was a real gift and a moment of profound psycho-feedback. She could have sniped something about me not being in the spirit of the event. Instead, she sang the most perfect song imaginable in that moment.

Such things happen a lot to me on the playa. Kind of like the ridiculous number of times I heard other people calling out my name while calling for their friend.

As for the negativity, this was a much rougher burn for me than last year.
I was more negative than last year. The two things I most looked forward to this year - seeing Mars through a telescope in the desert and having a female companion at the event - didn't work out. I never found a telescope (as according to the 'prophecy'). As for the companionship, that was far more of a challenge than a joy. Maybe it was more than mere coincidence that I worked with a man named Jude a few days before departure whose son had attended BM. If you knew where I live, you'd understand how far-fetched this is. This year required a lot more patience than last year.

So, maybe it was me who made it negative. And maybe it was the fact that I brought someone along who is brimming with negative energy much of the time.

As I said, my companion complains. We went out Wednesday and all she could do was complain. She didn't feel like she 'fit in'. She wanted better clothes, etc.. The more she complained, the more I saw that absolutely no one we saw was dressed anywhere near normal. Everyone we saw had fancy costumes and lots of interesting things to wear. I'd never seen anything like it before, even last year. And as she complained further about the attitudes she saw (indifferent, superior, ravers draping their bodies on the art), it was all I could see as well. By the end of our trek, I too had become absolutely cynical about everything there. This culminated in me screaming "No! No! No!" extremely loudly during a dream that night which I promptly forgot.

Things got better, of course. We went out Thursday with friends. The presence of others always mitigates her complaints to some extent and, if they are optimistic people, opens her up to seeing things less critically. Oddly enough, we saw LOTS of people who weren't super decked out in crazy finery. In fact, we saw lots of downright normal looking people.

She doesn't believe that BM is truly a psycho-feedback vortex. It's a crazy theory, after all. But it'd be a hundred times harder to deal with if it were true. What could be more challenging than having your psyche spilled out onto the playa to force you to deal with it? The thought of it scares the hell out of me, and I'm the one who is most likely to believe it!

Anyhoo, this is just a lot of rambling to offer conjecture as to where that negativity came from. Basically, it was my fault and I apologize. Sort of.

Finally, a story from last year relating to hipechk's temple experience...

I went to the temple burn last year imagining it to be a quieter, more spiritual event than the man burn. I envisioned people breaking out into a big OM sometime during the event. When the event began with a rendition of "Amazing Grace", I was convinced that it was truly going to be more spiritual. Then a large group of people immediately to my left broke out into a big OM. A drunk man to my right then chimed in with his own mocking OM. I wanted him to stop, but didn't have the guts to say anything. Just then, another man to my right looked at the guy and without anger or shouts simply said "Snip it." The man stopped immediately (for which I respected him greatly). Again, the universe was gifting me in the most moving way possible that night.

(All of this was caught on audio tape)

There is lots of discussion as to what BM is supposed to be. The implied conundrum is an ancient one - what is the proper relationship between the individual and the group? BM seeks to allow the individual their fullest expression. And yet, it is a group event that can only exist by way of the individual's participation as part of the group. It is in those group situations that the individual's energy can either add to or disrupt the energy of the group, and thus of the individuals within it.

It is my belief that the best of all possible worlds is the one that has a place for everyone. If I want to be in a peaceful, calm place, then that place should exist. If I want to be rowdy and raucous, then there should be a place for that as well. That's what BM can be.

But does that mean that the non-rowdy's should chase the rowdys away, or that the rowdys should invade the solemn spaces of the non-rowdys? If 99.5% of the people in the group wish for a solemn moment of spiritual reflection, must they be forced to contend with that small element that could go just about anywhere else and be rowdy? Moreover, we don't advocate the complete domination of the individual by the group. Yet, does this mean we must accept the individual's right to ruin what a particular group is seeking to achieve in a particular time and place? Why not advocate John Ashcroft coming to BM and then shutting it down because it is HIS act of self-expression?

As for the techno stuff, I've been a raver and loved it. But even I think it was too much this year. Or rather, there was too little of everything else. Hopefully, next year will bring more live music and more of the earthier stuff that 2K2 had. Or maybe next year I won't let myself be tied down by someone who can only see what's wrong with what abounds. After all, it may have been there and I simply missed it this time around.

As a two-time burner, I have seen for myself just how much can change in a year. But more importantly, I am able to put this thing into perspective. It's a vacation, it's a place to be, it's a psycho-feedback vortex, it's a hell of a party, it's what you make of it, but it is not the ONLY place on earth to find happiness. It's kind of sad that people get turned off by it eventually, but I can see how it happens. I am much more ambivalent about attending next year, though I don't rule it out. Rather, I'll just wait and see where my head is at first.

If hipechk has actually read this far, then I'd really be interested in knowing if there was negativity in her personal realm before or during this year's burn. I'm not seeking to lay judgement here, I'm just really interested in knowing whether anyone else is experiencing the psycho-feedback phenomenon that I've mentioned here.

Also, I want to thank her for bringing up the negativity for discussion.


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Post by III » Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:05 pm

sometimes negativity is a neccessary part of life. there can be unpleasant things to deal with, and trying to remain positive about their unpleasantness can only make you more susceptible to them.

but in the spirit of dijkstra's complecity analysis, there is also a fair share of unneccessary negativity out there as well. and, as with dijkstra, it's not always easy to tell when you go from one to the other.

i'm noticiing that there's a fair amount of negativity here on the bbs as well, some of it from me. i think i'll blame it on the new format.

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good times bad times

Post by debkakes » Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:34 pm

ravenluv, thank you for your thoughtful words. last year, my first burn, was overwhelmingly positive from the start. there was not one weird or bad moment, and i'm not just romanticizing it. my beau told me he loves me for the first time, in the middle of the only dust storm. the burn and everything surrounding it were lovely. the art was astounding as well.

this year, we did an art project together, and were beset by petty shitty little communication issues from the start (unusual for us). we didn't plan our shopping and our camp well enough due to the late finish of our installation. we started our BM week with the same shitty stuff hanging over us. the day we left for the playa, on top of everything else, his housemate's (who was joining us in our camp, her first BM, etc.) cat had a seizure and eventually died (i was there through the whole thing with her at the vet). a patina of sorrow lingered over our camp, at least for me (so not her fault, her mourning was graceful and touching).

i found, indeed, i was noticing ugliness more this year. i know much of it was residual. much of it is part of being in a desert with 30+K similarly hot, dehydrated, and oft-uncomfortable people. some of it is the selfishness of intent that most human bipeds will exhibit under conditions both difficult and not.

i have learned enough to look away or avoid these people and situations. letting them wash off your back, not so easy sometimes. but you're very much in charge of your experience in the desert, and we learn every year how to cope a little better with this place, and this life.
gotta walk thru the ouch to get to the awe

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Post by debkakes » Thu Sep 04, 2003 5:22 pm

however, having said the above, i will also add that i was in many ways more moved by the art this year, and met lots more wonderful people as well, and by the time saturday evening rolled around, said beau and i had the remembering of what is important and resolve to be mindful that we had only half-heartedly displayed earlier in the journey. although leaving day proved challenging, we reigned supreme over pettiness and it's like we just walked out of our dust storm hand in hand like last year. only better. yeah yeah, there's a big ol lesson there.
gotta walk thru the ouch to get to the awe

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Post by _tears_ » Thu Sep 04, 2003 5:34 pm

Well, seeing as this was my first year i do not have anything to compair it to. However i believe everyones experiance is different that year,pending on what it going on with them, in there worlds and in there heads.

For you a bad year could have been bliss for someone else.

As for the temple of honor, it was an emotional time for me personally.
I wrote a poem that day while sitting in the temple,dedicated to my brother who passed away from cancer, and one to my beloved boyfriend and was killed at war. Normally i write a copy of my poems, but this one was different, i wanted it to burn with the Temple. The poem was about closure,about a new start for me,overcoming there death and moving on with my life. I left the poem there and made a quite walk back to camp, that night i headed to the temple on out Lamp Lighters "art car" and watched as the temple burned,tears falling from my eyes yet a burden lifting off my chest. Listening to the people shouts as the temple didnt touch me at all, because everyone deals with things differently..

:idea: ---TEARS--- :idea:
Tears 2003, 2004
The Ties That Bind Me Hold My Soul

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Post by TestesInSac » Thu Sep 04, 2003 6:37 pm

Like PJ, I felt something was off as well. I had chalked it up to bringing expectations with, even if I couldn't say what they were.

But, I also think the "disorganization at the top" comment is spot-on. And I also think the comments regarding the "entertain me" types are fairly accurate. I get a strong sense of some unpleasant changes afoot.

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Post by blindtoaster » Thu Sep 04, 2003 6:51 pm

I feel eally negative right now that I have a choice of "emoticoms" to my left and hope that BM is not becoming a fickin hallmark card. My bliss is sometimes to be profane too and in my heart of hearts I love the art of the temple but it is still a man made obect that has only been there for 8 days.

I'm rambling but just wanted to say my bliss may not be your bliss d just like greeters who say "welcome home" just because it is on the script I have had enough religion in the real world. BM is also about getting along and negotiating the experience with 30000 others.

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Post by TawnyGnosis » Thu Sep 04, 2003 7:01 pm

I believe that we are in control of our own experiences and the world is tainted through our own eyes. This was my second year out there, and I did notice more of a negative vibe at times. Rather than blaming it on "them" or some invisible force of yahoos waiting around the corner, I looked inside myself.

The expression of negative or rough behavior is a part of the burning man experience I believe. Personally part of my playa experience includes wrestling and shouting and playing rough. It's a part of me and how I need to express myself. We can't all be positive and loving 100 percent of the time.

There were some experiences that left a bitter taste in my mouth because of the sheer rudeness of them. These werent simple expressions of the darker parts of ourselves, they were rude. One night I was running around in search of an art car to relieve my twisted painful ankle. There was a big art bus zooming past us and we scurried up to catch us. Upon seeing us, the driver slammed shut the door so he didn't have to interact with us. I didn't understand his need to be so rude, even in the "real" world, people have basic manners.

Another incident happened when someone commented on my body. Those of you who know me know that I'm not heavy or oddly shaped in anyway. Yet he commented on my stomach in such a rude way, as if he were appraising a side of beef. As if he he had any right to judge me at all. Again having basic manners was secondary to asserting his little opinion of me.

I think the playa intensifies emotions, both positive and negative. Lonliess, insecurity, and depression don't magically disapear when we enter those gates. In fact burning man is a great place to cleanse ourselves and face these things inside of us.

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Holographic Universe

Post by freia » Thu Sep 04, 2003 7:07 pm

In holographic universe theory, everything is a microcosm of everything else. Sort of. As much as we might like bm to be separate from the outside world, we and it are all still part of both worlds. Any negativity felt at bm only makes sense, taking into account at all the shitty stuff going on in the world right now. Especially given the intensity of the event - maybe it focuses whatever energy is going on in the world at large, like a magnifying glass in the sun. But it wouldn't mean that something is 'wrong' with bm per-se. Just that bm reflects the rest of the crap that we're all inextricably connected to. And we can make a difference with that crap, each doing our best to improve things in our world.

I definitely did notice more negativity at bm than I'd expected as a newbie. There was also a lot of negativity in my personal life during the weeks leading up to bm. It's all connected, and I'm trying to view it all as a personal wake-up call - to do more of whatever I can do to put more positive energy out there. Be that doing more out-there activist stuff, or doing the kind of airy-fairy positive-energy-generating stuff that I like, or just trying more to walk the talk in being a good citizen of the earth. It's all part of the same thing. Burning Man did energize me to be able to do this more, I've noticed since returning. The challenge will be to keep it up, and not get re-seduced into the world of consumerism and complacency and my favorite network t.v. shows, all the things that numb me and try to prevent me from getting off my ass and creating a positive impact on the world.

Anyway, that's my take on it, sorry for pontificating a little, and sorry if I sound like pollyanna. (hmmm.... that sounds like a name for somebody in the poly camp.... Poly Ana)

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Post by duster770 » Thu Sep 04, 2003 7:16 pm

2003 was my 7th burning man. Usually when I try to describe the event to people who have never been before I make some mention of the prevailing attitude and vibe of the crowd. Which as you all know is very positive and giving. In fact in my first 6 b.m.'s I hardly ever encountered a bad vibe at all. Except for the stranger that ripped my mountain bike off in 98 and the postal worker that was a complete dickhead in 2000. Well this year I had 5 run ins with assholes! I'd like to think that the proximity of Mars had something to do with it...otherwise it could be a snowballing trend of too many people which equals more bad apples per capita. I think the way to counter act it is not to give up on b.m. cause for the sheer amount of people at the event you must admit that almost everyone is cool as hell! (is that an oxymoron?) So lets all make an effort to be right on and help spread the love around the city that we love. lets make the next year and event one we can be proud of. I was at Sleizure on fryday night and was asked to write an emotion on my bar cup. I wrote "love overcomes anger"...remember that and burn on!

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Post by TestesInSac » Thu Sep 04, 2003 7:20 pm

Well, I'm also somewhat energized to do some things post-event. For one, I'm back on the wagon and getting back into my physical training. And I'm thinking of becoming more active in trying to balance out the undue influence of Berkeley and SF in state politics, especially where economic policy is concerned. Hopefully that'll leave some room for BM2k4.

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Post by Halo Joe » Thu Sep 04, 2003 9:48 pm

tempest wrote:I think the playa intensifies emotions, both positive and negative. Lonliess, insecurity, and depression don't magically disapear when we enter those gates. In fact burning man is a great place to cleanse ourselves and face these things inside of us.
VERY well said, T.

(Oh, and ANYONE who offers a negative comment on your stomach can answer to me and my shovel. Just send 'em my way. You can say you're directing them to the Comlpaint Department. Hehhehheh...)

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wasnt too bad for me at all

Post by Trash » Thu Sep 04, 2003 10:13 pm

Compared to 99 I think the fratboy mentality was far less. I would love to see no tickets sold at the gate at all or not past tuesday. Obviously some judgement calls should be made as far as exceptions.

One fratboy type was standing in the 2nd row at the pre burning of the man. About 20 people were shouting at him to sit down. After about 10 minutes of this I gave him a shove from where I was sitting right behind him. Not hard enough to knock him over, but enough to get his attention and told him to sit down, many people cannot see because of your selfishnesh. He got all huffy and puffy then put his girlfriend between us. A few minutes later the rangers pulled him and his girlfriend out because they refused to sit down.

Remember just because you arent a ranger doesnt mean you cant take charge. I always do some first aid, a bit of rangering and try to help other people. 80 percent of the 1st aid I did was feet, mainly blisters & playa foot. Moleskin & clean socks are great gifts.

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Post by electrolux » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:49 pm

I'm gonna say that I had the best burn of the 3 i've been to. Maybe I was able to filter out the negativity, or maybe I didn't encounter it, but I had a really good feeling out there this year. I just saw so many people who had poured a lot of themselves into their projects. I think over the years I've been able to figure out quicker what is for me out there and who i should be talking to, and go with it. Anyways, nobobdy can convince me it was a bad year.

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Post by TawnyGnosis » Fri Sep 05, 2003 12:41 am

Yeah I rather like my stomach now, especially after burning man when the little lines are visible. I get touchy when I feel like men are appraising me like a piece of meat.

Yeah the negavitity is there but we don't have to surround ourselves in it.
Heaven's going to burn your eyes

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Post by olivia » Fri Sep 05, 2003 2:00 am

burning man is about "radical self-expression." as anyone can tell you, you're not filled with happiness and light at all times. i was a completely cynical bitch - in my head and in conversation - for a lot of this year's event, but i never pushed anyone, and i never told anyone off for their actions. that is real negativity, taking the violent or confrontational way out of a situation that could be remedied in a non-violent way, or just by getting over it.

express yourself, but make sure it's yourself that you're expressing!

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Post by Haveed » Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:19 am

The thing I love most about BM is the lack of judgement from others...
Yeah, that's what I thought too... I found out that people at BM can be just as judgemental as folks in the real world.

I didn't have many costumes this year as I was flying and had to pack in a lot of gear for a project I was doing and didn't have much room for clothes. Besides that, I've never been a big costume person - if dressing up is supposed to be an extension of who you are, well I guess I just feel more comfortable in my own clothes... that's who I am - I express myself in other ways. Nevertheless, at least once I was accused of being a frat-boy even though I probably understand and adhere to more of the bm culture and ethos than half the people out there - and I certainly wasn't exhibiting any fratboy behaviour: drunken, beligerant, leering at girls... this person just took one look at me and decided that I had nothing to contribute to BM and should be chastised.

I hadn't realized that costumes were required to be a participant. I mean, isn't there more to it and can you really make that judgement just by looking at me? I welcomed hundreds of people into my camp and fed them throughout the week and yet here's this asshole calling me a frat boy because I'm not wearing sequins. And the night that I did wear the one costume I was able to pack in, some jackass told me I looked dorky! ???? How are these people contributing to the greater community of BM?

I didn't allow these things to ruin my experience... I shrugged them off and just decided that what's in my heart is more important than what these idiots think... but it still left a bad taste in my mouth, and did get me thinking about this...

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Post by redhot » Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:31 am

Someone else said BM is a microcosm of the world, so if all isn't so great, yes it will be reflected. Despite that, I didnt feel so much negativity and some was internal. I'm kind of bummed about all the stuff stolen especially art-related stuff - although one should be able to pee and still have your bike there when you get back. Someone offered me a bicycle at one point during the week! Actually, this year I pretty much brought every creature comfort I could want, so I turned down a lot, especially drinks. Life is always a series of peaks and valleys or abyss, without the abyss the peaks aren't so high.

Some guy on a megaphone was yelling at people to walk their bikes because he didn't have one, I didn't take it personally so it didn't get under my skin. Be confident in whatever you want to express, don't let the jerks get to you.

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Post by Zane5100 » Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:53 am

Haveed wrote:
The thing I love most about BM is the lack of judgement from others...
I found out that people at BM can be just as judgemental as folks in the real world.
Sometimes even more so.
middle-aged, wannabe-hipster, dilettante

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Post by stu » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:06 am

Maybe it has something to do with the neighbourhood. While there was a complete fuckwit camped with one group beside me, the boys at Burning Love Camp, and the rest of the folks I met on my daily coffee stroll, more than made up for him.
<i>What's</i> my fucking gift?

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Post by Cheesus » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:59 am

All of the negativity I experienced on the playa this year was completely of my own making. I promised myself before heading for BRC that I was going to leave some emotional issues I was dealing with back here in the default world... well, the playa had different plans for me.

There's a woman in my camp/band whom I've had a pretty heavy-duty crush on for a while now. We arrived on Friday before the event, and the first three days were great. Then, on Monday, something snapped inside me, and I became a huge emotional, crying mess, spending the better part of the afternoon laying on my air mattress, sobbing my heart out. The aformentioned crush was the impetus for this (somehow, without being aware of it consciously, I just KNEW that it would never be more than a crush... and that HURT), but it wasn't everything I was crying for. Eventually I calmed down and went to sleep.

On Tuesday, I went out to the open playa with a couple friends to spin staff/poi/hoops. After about 5 minutes of play, I dropped my brand-new, just-finished-making-it fire staff (my favorite tool) - it hit the ground like a javelin and snapped in two. I allowed that to throw me into another funk, which lasted until Wednesday evening.

And after the Burn on Saturday, we (The Mutaytor) played the show of our dreams, and everything was terrific... until the show was over. I got our fuel station cleaned up and secured, which took all of 15 minutes. In that time, the whole attitude and energy at our installation had changed (to my eyes, at least) from one of celebration to, "Oh man... EVERYONE here is on some kind of drugs, I'm not, and I don't want to be." And that seemed to be the same feeling I got wherever I wandered that night.

All of this was my doing, all of it in my head, and the only thing that could have changed it would have been for me to shake myself out of it and go DO something. Instead, I let myself wallow in self-pity and doubt, and spoil a goodly chunk of the event for myself. This was the year of dichotomy and release for me... in some ways the best year, in some ways the worst, and I was finally able to let a LOT of shit go. But all of that letting go could have been done with a lot more positivity. I'm actually happier to be in the default world again than I ever have before, so I'm letting this year's event go, as well. What happened on the playa STAYS on the playa.

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