"Down in Front" Fascism Is Ruining My Burn

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Russell Scheidelman
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"Down in Front" Fascism Is Ruining My Burn

Post by Russell Scheidelman » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:34 am

(Sorry for not being able to make this short):

My enjoyment of this year's Bman Festival was utterly marred by a couple incidents which occurred during the 2 climactic Burns--of the Man on Saturday and the Temple on Sunday--winding up the weeklong event.

In the first case, after showing up early (on foot), stationing myself right up front of the viewing perimeter, and patiently waiting for the show to begin, I and the next 4 rows of onlookers behind me were pretty much ordered by a Ranger to sit down in the dust. I was wearing some robes I was quite proud of (I like to dress up in my best finery for these climactic rituals) and was appalled by the order to mess them up on the questionable grounds that he gave us. (He said that by sullying our clothes in this way, we'd improve the views of "10,000 people" behind us. But I find this hard to believe. Only those in the 6th row--directly behind the rows that were forced to sit down--would see any better. And why should the latecomers in Row 6 be privileged over the early arrivers in Row 1?) As it turns out, when we in the first 5 rows complied with his demand, not only did we lose the panoramic perspective of the fire dancers that we had while standing (because we now saw everything from ground level), but our views of the dancers were for the most part cut off by the boards in the barricades just a few feet in front of us. Moreover, both I and my 2 companions felt ourselves to be quite vulnerable--like 'sitting ducks'--to being trampled on by the crowds behind us once they started their inevitable surge towards the Man. (Sitting is a form of immobilization, you know. You are far less able to move about freely from a sitting position--especially on the ground--than you are while standing.) So the effect that this decree had on me and my friends was to (1) dirty our clothes, (2) ruin our views, and (3) give us a sense of physical anxiety throughout the proceedings.

As a result of this fiasco on Saturday night, I was determined not to let it happen again on Sunday. On this occasion I and my 2 (different) companions stationed ourselves about 5 rows back. No order to sit down came from the Rangers this time. Instead, after about a half hour of peaceful calm and friendly partying, the cry went up from some woman behind us to "Sit down! It's a tradition!" She kept yelling this over and over. Then a bunch of people, including the instigator, began sitting down all around us (but not the first row). I said to my friends that we should move back rather than sit, and we did so as best we could--but it's hard to walk among tightly sitting (and thereby immobile) people. But I was determined not to yield to such a short-sighted and screwed-up directive again, and both I and my companions held our ground standing. Then the catcalls and the jeering began. It revealed an ugliness that I had never before witnessed in Black Rock City (this was my 7th Burn). By the time the Temple Burn started--and everyone stood up anyway because the first-row onlookers had never caved to the hecklers' demands--I and my friends were left with a very bad taste in our mouths. One of my friends, who had performed as a firebird stilt dancer before these same crowds the previous evening, found the entire experience--at what was supposed to be the most 'spiritual' of the 2 Burns--so upsetting that he decided to leave early, which he did.

As a result of these 2 mishaps, I will definitely leave on Sunday next year--and avoid whatever extravaganza takes place that night--and am seriously contemplating missing out on the Man's Burn as well. I know that I and my companions are not the only ones who feel this way because I met some Burners later in Reno who had similar complaints. How do the rest of you feel about this? (And, please, don't tell me to ride an art car--it's not always an option.)

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HughMungus
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Re: "Down in Front" Fascism Is Ruining My Burn

Post by HughMungus » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:10 am

Not everyone is as tall as you. If everyone stands, only a few can see. If everyone sits, everyone can see. If you don't want to sit, stand in the back. If you want to sit and don't want to be blocked by the barricades, sit further back. Besides, the burn itself isn't about the man burning; it's about the crowd, itself.
It's what you make it.

Hotspur
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Post by Hotspur » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:22 am

Wow. Expecting a little common courtesy from people (if you want to stand, try to stand behind the sitters) is now fascism!

Good to know.

Playa Face
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Re: "Down in Front" Fascism Is Ruining My Burn

Post by Playa Face » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:30 am

Russell Scheidelman wrote:(Sorry for not being able to make this short):

My enjoyment of this year's Bman Festival was utterly marred by a couple incidents which occurred during the 2 climactic Burns--of the Man on Saturday and the Temple on Sunday--winding up the weeklong event.

In the first case, after showing up early (on foot), stationing myself right up front of the viewing perimeter, and patiently waiting for the show to begin, I and the next 4 rows of onlookers behind me were pretty much ordered by a Ranger to sit down in the dust. I was wearing some robes I was quite proud of (I like to dress up in my best finery for these climactic rituals) and was appalled by the order to mess them up on the questionable grounds that he gave us. (He said that by sullying our clothes in this way, we'd improve the views of "10,000 people" behind us. But I find this hard to believe. Only those in the 6th row--directly behind the rows that were forced to sit down--would see any better. And why should the latecomers in Row 6 be privileged over the early arrivers in Row 1?) As it turns out, when we in the first 5 rows complied with his demand, not only did we lose the panoramic perspective of the fire dancers that we had while standing (because we now saw everything from ground level), but our views of the dancers were for the most part cut off by the boards in the barricades just a few feet in front of us. Moreover, both I and my 2 companions felt ourselves to be quite vulnerable--like 'sitting ducks'--to being trampled on by the crowds behind us once they started their inevitable surge towards the Man. (Sitting is a form of immobilization, you know. You are far less able to move about freely from a sitting position--especially on the ground--than you are while standing.) So the effect that this decree had on me and my friends was to (1) dirty our clothes, (2) ruin our views, and (3) give us a sense of physical anxiety throughout the proceedings.

As a result of this fiasco on Saturday night, I was determined not to let it happen again on Sunday. On this occasion I and my 2 (different) companions stationed ourselves about 5 rows back. No order to sit down came from the Rangers this time. Instead, after about a half hour of peaceful calm and friendly partying, the cry went up from some woman behind us to "Sit down! It's a tradition!" She kept yelling this over and over. Then a bunch of people, including the instigator, began sitting down all around us (but not the first row). I said to my friends that we should move back rather than sit, and we did so as best we could--but it's hard to walk among tightly sitting (and thereby immobile) people. But I was determined not to yield to such a short-sighted and screwed-up directive again, and both I and my companions held our ground standing. Then the catcalls and the jeering began. It revealed an ugliness that I had never before witnessed in Black Rock City (this was my 7th Burn). By the time the Temple Burn started--and everyone stood up anyway because the first-row onlookers had never caved to the hecklers' demands--I and my friends were left with a very bad taste in our mouths. One of my friends, who had performed as a firebird stilt dancer before these same crowds the previous evening, found the entire experience--at what was supposed to be the most 'spiritual' of the 2 Burns--so upsetting that he decided to leave early, which he did.

As a result of these 2 mishaps, I will definitely leave on Sunday next year--and avoid whatever extravaganza takes place that night--and am seriously contemplating missing out on the Man's Burn as well. I know that I and my companions are not the only ones who feel this way because I met some Burners later in Reno who had similar complaints. How do the rest of you feel about this? (And, please, don't tell me to ride an art car--it's not always an option.)
Whos that beast walking down the street? Oh thats Playa face.....

Playa Face
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Re: "Down in Front" Fascism Is Ruining My Burn

Post by Playa Face » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:31 am

Russell Scheidelman wrote:(Sorry for not being able to make this short):

My enjoyment of this year's Bman Festival was utterly marred by a couple incidents which occurred during the 2 climactic Burns--of the Man on Saturday and the Temple on Sunday--winding up the weeklong event.

In the first case, after showing up early (on foot), stationing myself right up front of the viewing perimeter, and patiently waiting for the show to begin, I and the next 4 rows of onlookers behind me were pretty much ordered by a Ranger to sit down in the dust. I was wearing some robes I was quite proud of (I like to dress up in my best finery for these climactic rituals) and was appalled by the order to mess them up on the questionable grounds that he gave us. (He said that by sullying our clothes in this way, we'd improve the views of "10,000 people" behind us. But I find this hard to believe. Only those in the 6th row--directly behind the rows that were forced to sit down--would see any better. And why should the latecomers in Row 6 be privileged over the early arrivers in Row 1?) As it turns out, when we in the first 5 rows complied with his demand, not only did we lose the panoramic perspective of the fire dancers that we had while standing (because we now saw everything from ground level), but our views of the dancers were for the most part cut off by the boards in the barricades just a few feet in front of us. Moreover, both I and my 2 companions felt ourselves to be quite vulnerable--like 'sitting ducks'--to being trampled on by the crowds behind us once they started their inevitable surge towards the Man. (Sitting is a form of immobilization, you know. You are far less able to move about freely from a sitting position--especially on the ground--than you are while standing.) So the effect that this decree had on me and my friends was to (1) dirty our clothes, (2) ruin our views, and (3) give us a sense of physical anxiety throughout the proceedings.

As a result of this fiasco on Saturday night, I was determined not to let it happen again on Sunday. On this occasion I and my 2 (different) companions stationed ourselves about 5 rows back. No order to sit down came from the Rangers this time. Instead, after about a half hour of peaceful calm and friendly partying, the cry went up from some woman behind us to "Sit down! It's a tradition!" She kept yelling this over and over. Then a bunch of people, including the instigator, began sitting down all around us (but not the first row). I said to my friends that we should move back rather than sit, and we did so as best we could--but it's hard to walk among tightly sitting (and thereby immobile) people. But I was determined not to yield to such a short-sighted and screwed-up directive again, and both I and my companions held our ground standing. Then the catcalls and the jeering began. It revealed an ugliness that I had never before witnessed in Black Rock City (this was my 7th Burn). By the time the Temple Burn started--and everyone stood up anyway because the first-row onlookers had never caved to the hecklers' demands--I and my friends were left with a very bad taste in our mouths. One of my friends, who had performed as a firebird stilt dancer before these same crowds the previous evening, found the entire experience--at what was supposed to be the most 'spiritual' of the 2 Burns--so upsetting that he decided to leave early, which he did.

As a result of these 2 mishaps, I will definitely leave on Sunday next year--and avoid whatever extravaganza takes place that night--and am seriously contemplating missing out on the Man's Burn as well. I know that I and my companions are not the only ones who feel this way because I met some Burners later in Reno who had similar complaints. How do the rest of you feel about this? (And, please, don't tell me to ride an art car--it's not always an option.)
Whos that beast walking down the street? Oh thats Playa face.....

Playa Face
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Re: "Down in Front" Fascism Is Ruining My Burn

Post by Playa Face » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:31 am

Russell Scheidelman wrote:(Sorry for not being able to make this short):

My enjoyment of this year's Bman Festival was utterly marred by a couple incidents which occurred during the 2 climactic Burns--of the Man on Saturday and the Temple on Sunday--winding up the weeklong event.

In the first case, after showing up early (on foot), stationing myself right up front of the viewing perimeter, and patiently waiting for the show to begin, I and the next 4 rows of onlookers behind me were pretty much ordered by a Ranger to sit down in the dust. I was wearing some robes I was quite proud of (I like to dress up in my best finery for these climactic rituals) and was appalled by the order to mess them up on the questionable grounds that he gave us. (He said that by sullying our clothes in this way, we'd improve the views of "10,000 people" behind us. But I find this hard to believe. Only those in the 6th row--directly behind the rows that were forced to sit down--would see any better. And why should the latecomers in Row 6 be privileged over the early arrivers in Row 1?) As it turns out, when we in the first 5 rows complied with his demand, not only did we lose the panoramic perspective of the fire dancers that we had while standing (because we now saw everything from ground level), but our views of the dancers were for the most part cut off by the boards in the barricades just a few feet in front of us. Moreover, both I and my 2 companions felt ourselves to be quite vulnerable--like 'sitting ducks'--to being trampled on by the crowds behind us once they started their inevitable surge towards the Man. (Sitting is a form of immobilization, you know. You are far less able to move about freely from a sitting position--especially on the ground--than you are while standing.) So the effect that this decree had on me and my friends was to (1) dirty our clothes, (2) ruin our views, and (3) give us a sense of physical anxiety throughout the proceedings.

As a result of this fiasco on Saturday night, I was determined not to let it happen again on Sunday. On this occasion I and my 2 (different) companions stationed ourselves about 5 rows back. No order to sit down came from the Rangers this time. Instead, after about a half hour of peaceful calm and friendly partying, the cry went up from some woman behind us to "Sit down! It's a tradition!" She kept yelling this over and over. Then a bunch of people, including the instigator, began sitting down all around us (but not the first row). I said to my friends that we should move back rather than sit, and we did so as best we could--but it's hard to walk among tightly sitting (and thereby immobile) people. But I was determined not to yield to such a short-sighted and screwed-up directive again, and both I and my companions held our ground standing. Then the catcalls and the jeering began. It revealed an ugliness that I had never before witnessed in Black Rock City (this was my 7th Burn). By the time the Temple Burn started--and everyone stood up anyway because the first-row onlookers had never caved to the hecklers' demands--I and my friends were left with a very bad taste in our mouths. One of my friends, who had performed as a firebird stilt dancer before these same crowds the previous evening, found the entire experience--at what was supposed to be the most 'spiritual' of the 2 Burns--so upsetting that he decided to leave early, which he did.

As a result of these 2 mishaps, I will definitely leave on Sunday next year--and avoid whatever extravaganza takes place that night--and am seriously contemplating missing out on the Man's Burn as well. I know that I and my companions are not the only ones who feel this way because I met some Burners later in Reno who had similar complaints. How do the rest of you feel about this? (And, please, don't tell me to ride an art car--it's not always an option.)
Whos that beast walking down the street? Oh thats Playa face.....

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Lydia Love
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Post by Lydia Love » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:36 am

I think that by your 7th burn you should have figured out that the rangers ask the first bajillion rows to sit their asses down.

I am immensely amused at the mental picture of someone bringing clothes they weren't prepared to get dirty.

I think that when a bunch of people are trying to act cooperatively and a small number won't there will be ugly words exchanged.

I think it's reasonable to expect to have either A. mobility or B. the best view. Previous years I went with the view, this year the mobility. I didn't see the fire dancers at all but still had the best burn EVAH of my 7. If I had decided to go the more passive spectatin' route I'd have been mighty cranky if someone stood up in front of me and pretty damn vocal about it to boot. I wouldn't have given a fuck if my vocalizations were "ruining" someone's burn.

But it wouldn't have ruined anything for me to have my view blocked because I don't feel that the purchase of my ticket entitles me to a good view of the burns or a week free of negativity or fuck-all. It sure as hell doesn't entitle me to clean clothing... I know that every moment of joy or misery out on the playa is my own damn job to wrangle.

I think you earned yourself the heckling. If you you decided to stick to your guns then maybe you should have just accepted the vitriol as a part of being stubborn and not giving a shit about whether or not anyone else could see. I think letting it ruin something for you was a silly-ass thing to do.
It's all about the squirrels.

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stuart
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Post by stuart » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:41 am

once again Lydia tempts me to violate my self imposed crush thread boycott.
call me baby

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PetsUntilEaten
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Post by PetsUntilEaten » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:47 am

There are pieces of this debate scattered throughout other discussions. I failed in my small attempt to find them.

I find the SIT/STAND debate a little old & childish. Honestly everyone stands the second the burn starts - so I'm not really sure of the the point. Though widdening the circle allows more people to see but at what cost if people are willing to get so angry & self righteous to make it happen.

Moving seems to be a good answer.

This Saturday burn I arrived very late & easily walked up to the back of where people sat & sat down. Almost immediately there were yells of SIT down to the people behind me standing. Silly. I started laughing & asked people how long we've been playing the sit down game? Others laughed or shook their heads. It was the first year this stuff slid off me like water on a duck.

In the past I had thought about making up cards or pamplets to pass out - detailing both sides - that could be passed out as these angry discussions began. We discuss this every year in great detail & insight here on the eplaya so why not let these people hear & understand all sides of a complex issue. Perhaps diagrams explaining the geometry of viewing angles.

Save yourself. Save your mind.

Why argue with crowds when you can hand them all your answers in a satirical, well-thought out and/or graphically beautiful art piece/pamphlet?

What would that mean if they start blindly yelling & you arrived prepared with literature?

I wish I still cared enough about this to pull it off.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:48 am

Dang, someone never read enough Doug Adams to learn to bring a towel everywhere.

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PetsUntilEaten
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Post by PetsUntilEaten » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:48 am

There are pieces of this debate scattered throughout other discussions. I failed in my small attempt to find them.

I find the SIT/STAND debate a little old & childish. Honestly everyone stands the second the burn starts - so I'm not really sure of the the point. Though widdening the circle allows more people to see but at what cost if people are willing to get so angry & self righteous to make it happen.

Moving seems to be a good answer.

This Saturday burn I arrived very late & easily walked up to the back of where people sat & sat down. Almost immediately there were yells of SIT down to the people behind me standing. Silly. I started laughing & asked people how long we've been playing the sit down game? Others laughed or shook their heads. It was the first year this stuff slid off me like water on a duck.

In the past I had thought about making up cards or pamplets to pass out - detailing both sides - that could be passed out as these angry discussions began. We discuss this every year in great detail & insight here on the eplaya so why not let these people hear & understand all sides of a complex issue. Perhaps diagrams explaining the geometry of viewing angles.

Save yourself. Save your mind.

Why argue with crowds when you can hand them all your answers in a satirical, well-thought out and/or graphically beautiful art piece/pamphlet?

What would that mean if they start blindly yelling & you arrived prepared with literature?

I wish I still cared enough about this to pull it off.

Kathy O'Sunnyvale
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arriving 10 minutes earlier gives you what extra privileges?

Post by Kathy O'Sunnyvale » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:49 am

I hope that you come again to BRC and bring your robes, but since you've been to the burns before you'd know that people in the first rows sit, and unless you bring a blanket / stadium seat you get dusty. Sitting is good because it allows far more people to see far more of the burn and the firespinners.

If we sit then all the sitters get to see the all of the Man burn and many (but not all) of the firedancers. If everyone stands then a few standers get to see all of the Man burn, but only the front sees even a few of the firedancers.

If you haven't sat a bit further back you might not know that one or two standing people blocks the view for a triangle of people behind, not just one or two people. And then those people behind have to make the harsh choice of sitting with the blocked view or standing and blocking another triangle behind them.

So you end up with a sad game theory sub-optimal outcome because everyone standing sees less than everyone sitting, but one feels compelled to stand once a few other people do it.

And anyone arriving even a few minutes after you cannot easily move once they find that you aren't going to sit down.

The reasons for why my companions and I didn't arrive before you did aren't relevant to whether or not you ought to sit down if you aren't in a standing section. I can sympathise with the fear of the crowd or of fear of damage to a costume: I've worn fragile (el-wire) costumes to the burn, and when I do I stay back. I stay back both to protect the costume and because I figure people are there to see the burn, not the glow of my costume-- for that they can go to the lights parade. Your costume also could be worn 99% of your playa time, but for the 1% which is the burn itself perhaps the burn is more important?

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Post by Russell Scheidelman » Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:19 pm

I gave this string the more hard-edged title involving the word "fascism"--rather than using the more benign title "To Sit or Not to Sit (That Is the Question)" as originially planned--to arouse more attention and feedback, and it seems to be working.

I have sat on the playa during other Burns--but not all that I've attended--, and I would question the belief that sitting behind a bunch of others sitting (especially if they're bigger than you) improves your view over standing under the same circumstances. The very fact that each of the sitters is relatively immobile makes it harder for them to adjust and find a view space. All of us sitters lost our panoramic view of the dancers (as stated in my introduction). As for watching the Man burn, this debate should have ended when he was raised up 30 feet or so above the ground. The Temples have also been lofty enough to have put an end to this 'must sit' fixation.

I would also question the idea that heckling and venting one's vitriol at fellow Burners is OK but that standing peacefully in a crowd is both selfish and rude. I think the reverse is more true.

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~

Post by sparkletarte » Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:38 pm

The Temple burn was the worst part of the whole event for me and my boyfriend, mostly due to the 'down in fornters'. We were about 20 rows back from the front, with half of those rows sittng down in front of us. I'm pretty short and yet I had no problem seeing the temple. Lots of people were yelling to get down and after about 20 minutes of that, most people did sit down. A few didn't and was apparent they wouldn't, yet the yelling continued so much that I was more pissed off with the yellers than the standers. And interestingly enough, I could see better when I was standing, as the people in front decided to kneel rather than sit right on their bums. I thought it was funny and pointed that out to the people hear me, but no one else seemed to find the humour in it.

The couple behind us were quite vocal about the folks standing in front of us, and we ended up standing back up when someone yelled that it was starting and like pavlovian dogs eveyone lept up (which we figured would happen). The man of the couple decided to toss a ball on a string at the head of someone in front of us to get him to sit down but the ball ended up hitting my boyfriend in the eye. With all of the tension that was around us, it acted like the final straw and he exploded at the man. Of course, the man denied he had thrown a ball, but we saw it and him put it in his pocket. Within a few seconds, it elevated to a huge yelling and threatening match with the couple saying they were rangers and they were going to find out where we lived and come and get us kicked out. They kept on saying threats to us under their breath. A rather disappointing ending to a wonderful week, but we have both taken some good learning from it. And if those two were really rangers, I don't think they should be again from the way they were acting and talking.

On the flip side, there was a really nice example of people dealing with each other. A woman was really pissed that a guy was standing in front of her and was quite vocal about it. He turned and calmly said that he wanted to stand and had been there for an hour becuase he wanted to stand in that exact spot. She said okay, well then I want to get in front of you to take a picture. She walked over to him, gave him a nice hug, took her pic, and moved back to her spot.

We also had an interesting conversation with someone next to us. We wondered why some people wouldn't sit down and thought, well, maybe they can't. Maybe they have a sore leg, or a sore bum, or some other ailment that prevents them. Maybe they really have to go to the bathroom and sitting would make them explode in their pants. Sure it would be nice if everyone sat down, but where we were, it was obviously not going to happen, and when the temple started to burn, everyone, even the 'down in fronters' stood up right away.

For the man burn, we stood near the back, and from now on for both burns I'll be doing that. All of the other people in my camp that went to the temple burn had a negative experience as well. I kind of thought it would be that way because of the heavy feelings around the temple and what it means to many people. Some people don't want to or know how to deal with those kinds of feelings and it comes out negatively towards others.

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Post by Lydia Love » Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:38 pm

Obviously you put more stock into *you* getting the whole enchilada (the panoramic view) than *everyone* getting to see some of the view.

This reads as if you believe your enjoyment is more important than the enjoyment of everyone around you. It's selfish, man.

But if it's really the most important thing to you than I suggest you accustom yourself to getting yelled at. Suck it up, rub some dirt on it and move on.
It's all about the squirrels.

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Lydia Love
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Post by Lydia Love » Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:42 pm

Obviously you put more stock into *you* getting the whole enchilada (the panoramic view) than *everyone* getting to see some of the view.

This reads as if you believe your enjoyment is more important than the enjoyment of everyone around you. It's selfish, man.

But if it's really the most important thing to you than I suggest you accustom yourself to getting yelled at. Suck it up, rub some dirt on it and move on.
It's all about the squirrels.

Zeejay
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Post by Zeejay » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:01 pm

Although this was only my 3rd Burn, I had the best one ever this year, personaly i couldn't care less if i see it well or not, it's all about the comunity to me, sitting down allowed me to have a nice conversation with the beautyful
lady sitting next to me :)

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Don Muerto
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Post by Don Muerto » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:01 pm

I dunno, this guy doesn't seem all that selfish, and the criticisms raised keep ignoring the point that:

a) The people who can't see because of him might be better served by moving 2 feet to the left than trying to enforce a dubious social control over him by verbal shaming

b) Everybody stands up when the man burns anyway, and the man is elevated to facilitate viewing by everyone

c) He has stated that *his* view was impaired while sitting, why is his view more impairable than that of those behind him?

d) Its just as hard for a seated person to see over a person sitting in front of them as it is for a standing person to see over a person standing in front of them. Seating the front rows simply transfers the 'prime spot' from the front row to row x -the first standing row. How is that any more fair?

On the other hand, everybody wants an unobstructed view, and you have to know that people are going to say shit to you if they can't see through your head. You are just going to have to stay out of the front, toughen up a bit, or get DPW to build stadium seating.
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

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Post by Kathy O'Sunnyvale » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:58 pm

well,
a) move 2 feet in *any* direction how? At the temple burn I was stuck a few rows back behind a stander- I doubt I arrived too much later than him, and within 10 minutes of my arrival there was another 10+ rows of sitters behind me (and this is long before the burn itself started). At the Man it was even more crowded. And at the temple burn it wouldn't have just been me moving, it was also anyone else there to help in my moment of grief. And I'd have had to try to break through other supporting groups, those helping others remember their lost loved ones.

b) with the Temple burn I arrived and sat to watch the tiny part of the memorial devoted to my uncle who'd died 7 days earlier. Everyone stayed seated the whole time as it burned, except the one stander. 4-5 rows in front of him, 15 rows behind-- all seated the entire time (except when getting up to leave). I'd put the memorial high enough (I thought) to see it burn-- but for the one stander. Had there been room to move I would have- there wasn't. And move too far and I couldn't see my relative's memorial.

He ignored requests just to sit long enough for those with memorials to see them burn, and then left early-- just long enough to see his memorial burn, I suppose, unconcerned about the many people behind who couldn't see theirs. For me the lost moment is far less important than the lost relative... but how could he ignore the requests of weeping people? Is his heart made of charcoal?

c) Why should he expect to get a much larger view than everyone else around him? If everyone sits they see all of the man and some of the firespinners. If everyone stands then a few people see all the man, most people see parts of him and almost no one sees the fire spinners at all. In his standing up (when no one else does) he sees all the man and firespinners, and a triangle of people behind him see only part of the man. Then they have to decide to stand and block a triangle themselves. Then everyone stands and everyone loses most of their view.

d) Everyone sits: everyone sees the man and some of the spinning. Everyone stands: few people see all the man, most see parts (especially shorter people), and few see any spinning. I think its fairer for most people to have a slightly impaired view than for most people to have a more impaired view. It isn't a zero sum event: the pie shrinks as everyone stands. everyone sits is win win. Everyone stands is lose-lose.

Russell Scheidelman
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Post by Russell Scheidelman » Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:08 pm

On the subject of 'dressing up' for the Burn, this is truly a playa 'tradition.' It goes at least as far back as the (Cacophony) Society Cocktail Parties that used to be held in Center Camp directly after the Fashion Show and before the Burn. Participants wore formal attire for these functions (often in very playa-unfriendly black and gray tones); and 2004 was in fact the first year in which I failed to wear a tuxedo to watch the Man burn (due to a delay in obtaining all of my playa wardrobe). While the parties petered out a couple years ago, those of us who remember them--or who just want to add a touch of personal ostentation to an epically ostenstatious event--will continue to 'strut our stuff' on Burn night. I think it's entirely appropriate. A real 'tradition.'

To Lydia: I wrote that ALL of us sitters (not just me) lost our panoramic perspective of the dancers. And if everyone sat down during the performance, they'd ALL lose out in the same way. So it's not just a matter of 'ME ME ME', as you contend. Furthermore, my narrative makes it clear that I was not alone in having these observations. (It almost sounds like you should have gone to NYC rather than BRC this year, since you seem to favor heckling and vitriol so much.)

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Rich
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Post by Rich » Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:18 pm

Honestly everyone stands the second the burn starts - so I'm not really sure of the the point.
My experience of the Temple Burn was that everyone around me continued to sit for a _long_ time, until after they pulled down the structure and we were allowed to run forward.

The Ranger at 6:00 was great! Even after some people started to stand and run forward he modeled the 'preferered' behavior. He didn't stand up and hold his hands out in his attempt to keep people back. He stayed down and worked the crowd.

Masterful-almost like he knew what he was doing or something.

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Blenderhead
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Post by Blenderhead » Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:19 pm

>rows

Thank god I paid extra for my orchestra seats. My view was spectacular, and the shrimp cocktails served by Crimson's minions were delicious, despite the taint of flaming poi.

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PetsUntilEaten
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Post by PetsUntilEaten » Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:40 pm

Don Muerto -

I'm stealing your points for the pamphlet I'm re-interested in creating - nice job.

- K. / Pets.

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Lydia Love
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Post by Lydia Love » Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:43 pm

ALL lose out in the same way.
Sure, but at this moment you're the one here whining about having things ruined for you.

As far as your comments on where I "should have gone", you can bite my booty. I don't see how yelling at someone falls outside the realm of what is OK at Burning Man - it's honest and I like honesty. I'm not even suggesting you should have sat your ass down - wanting to stand and staying standing are honest too. I'm saying that if you didn't wanna play nice with the crowds your sense of indignation at having them bitch you out seems sort of ridiculous.
It's all about the squirrels.

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Ivy
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Post by Ivy » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:10 pm

For both the Man and the Temple burns, I sat, way in the back. I don't mean the back row--I mean at a distacnce of about half the length from the burn to the trash fence.
I had a great view of both events, I didn;t have to hassle with anyone standing in front of me, nor did I get agitated by crowding and people bumping into me. I even had a great "panoramic" view of the fire spinners before the man, which was in fact realy interesting to see the choreography and coordination from that distance.
Both my burns were great and I encountered none of the problems kvetched about in this thread.

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Blenderhead
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Post by Blenderhead » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:17 pm

>Both my burns were great and I encountered none of the problems kvetched about in this thread.


Statist.

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Ivy
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Post by Ivy » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:23 pm

Fucko.

Playa Face
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Post by Playa Face » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:31 pm

This is how I see it. If the person who decides to block my view in front of me after I ask them please move over or sit down so I can see does not move. Then I will be rude like they are and start turning to diferrent measures to ensure they move out of mine and others way. If you want to stand, go stand in the back!! Its that fucking easy, Believe me.
Whos that beast walking down the street? Oh thats Playa face.....

DoctorIknow
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Could you sit down? You're in my way!

Post by DoctorIknow » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:49 pm

I got comped some Dead tickets some year in the '80's, and went to Madison Sq. Garden.

I'd always liked them, but had not seen them since the Summer of Love back when Jerry had no beard...

At the concert, I wasn't turned on at all until some incredible percussion started happening. I stood up to get a view of how the heck these sounds were being made, and within' a few seconds, there was a tap on my shoulder and a teen girl said "Could you sit down? You're in my way!"

I said "How can anybody get in anybody's way at a Dead concert?"

I later told this story to a Dead-head, and he said "Oh, that was the drum solo and everybody sits down and chills for that."

I laughed so hard. An entire audience of conservative little shits without a clue.

The above discussion makes me laugh too. I was in front about five burns ago, and the Ranger had us sit, but got us up two times to stretch our legs. I thought it was pretty cool. But to see the "sit down" thing AS A GIVEN is the disturbing part. "I'm right, you're wrong" is so retro and non-progressive. Gaurenteed to turn all those on either side into Republicans at some point in the future. You don't think that's possible? What generation do you think was most responsible for our current president being in the white house? That's right, the LOVE generation. Hippies. Pot smoking, LSD taking rebels of the Eisenhower years.

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unjonharley
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Post by unjonharley » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:49 pm

So this is the prick that I save his ass at the temple burn. He was a real peace of work. He was screaming at people. A guy was climbing over my scooter to kick his ass. I asked him not to and calmed him down. I should have offered my cane to belt the prick with.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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