html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Still more than good.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Still more than good.

It is a shame the Man burned early; there was a person who designed it and planned it. Thousands of hours of work went into building it, and those workers had a vision of the way it would burn at the end, in a monstrous spectacular flame. The arsonist who set the man on fire early disrespected the vision and labor of people who put incredible effort into making something happen. His likely reasons (wanting attention, spite for the event, self-centered lack of thought) are not good enough reasons to cost them the reward for their vision and work.

However, it is only a shame that the Man burnt early. This is not a tragedy or a message or symbol. Whatever you think of Burning Man is only a small fraction of the event. There is an aesthetic to it, and a conformist in-group. But it is also big, and heterogeneous, and densely intricate. The Man is one of several themes, any of which are enough to be overwhelming experiences for the length of the week. The themes I know I'll give my attention to are being with friends, being open with strangers, to seeing surreal things that someone made real. I will be shocked, often. I'll dance for sure and I'll watch for shooting stars and I'll ride my bike in a city with no moving cars. I'll come home tired and raw and overstimulated. I will feel kindness sincere enough to prick tears, then very funny obnoxiousness only minutes later. Some of the most vivid things that will happen in my life will happen in the next few days. A ritual burn is only one of those sparks.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, I'll bet many people are outraged to the point of apoplexy by this kind of vandalism. There's something about casual disregard for the efforts and aspirations of others that is maddening.

Michael

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

Why is it vandalism? According to BoingBoing it is part of the culture of Burning Man, and indeed such pranks were once encouraged:

[quoting Scott Beale]
http://www.boingboing.net/2007/08/31/premature-man-burnin.html
Many people are very upset about Tuesday’s premature burning of Burning Man, but others consider it to be the ultimate Burning Man prank. For years the joke on the Playa was to set the man on fire early and in the mid 90’s Bigrig Industries used to hand out match packs printed with the words “Burn The Man Early”.

Burning Man has a long history of prankster activity which is largely due to it’s association with the The Cacophony Society during the late 1980’s to mid 1990’s. Burning Man 1990, the first event on the Black Rock Desert was a collaboration with The Cacophony Society as part of their event “Bad Day At Black Rock (Zone Trip #4)”.

10:44 PM  

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