Burning Man (originally posted on Facebook, September 2015)
(from September 2015) I am not sure if my point about 'Radical Inclusion' came across during my sunrise set, but I hope that the publication of the recording will make it clear for those who missed it.
It is about time we cut the crap with some of the 'ten principles of Burning Man' and I decided to focus on 'radical inclusion' in my set because of what is going on in the world around us right now.
Burning Man is NOT about radical inclusion
First of all, I think Burning Man is awesome. This was my 12th year DJing on the playa, I fully acknowledge what my presence there has accomplished for my overall career, and for this I am very grateful. But that doesn't mean I don't have growing concerns about the way that so many of participants latch on to some of the ten principles in order to feel that they make the world a better place while they run around in costumes and indulge in numerous variants of debauchery.
Burning Man is NOT about radical inclusion. In real life, Germany is currently facing an actual experiment of radical inclusion as refugees from Syria are flooding across European borders by the tens of thousands. If next year early burners would arrive on the playa and find a refugee camp of 60.000 stranded and desperate world citizens, THEN we could all truly test our 'radical inclusion' skills, but until that happens, Burning Man is a congregation of rich people whose lives year round are comfortable enough that they want to spend a minimum of $1,000 per person (and that is low balling it) to be surrounded by discomfort for a week. Sue me, but those criteria make you 'rich' in my book. There is very little challenge to feel inclusive towards people in a socially homogenous tribe. The idea that 'everyone is welcome' at Burning Man is really not any kind of achievement when there are considerable financial barriers that filter out anyone of a low social class. It is like saying "everyone is welcome to party on my private island, as long as you charter your own boat to get there". That wouldn't create a socially challenging experiment of diversity and integration would it? And this is why I also take issue with the criticism of Burners against the so called plug&play camps of people they denounce as 1%ers. Wake up Burners; we are ALL 1%ers.
nobody ever died at Burning Man because they ran out of granola bars
And then there is the increasingly painful hypocrisy of that other principle "radical self reliance'. There is nothing 'radical' about stuffing an RV full of food and liquor on your way to the festival. Nobody at Burning Man ever had to shoot a bear to feed themselves, just like nobody ever died at Burning Man because they ran out of granola bars. Beside that, people who would ever be at risk of running out of food would conveniently not be able to afford to attend anyway. As for dehydration at Burning Man, that stems overwhelmingly from excess mis-management (i.e. stupidity), rather than from an actual water shortage. And don't even get me started on the irony that Burners (who are more 'carbon footprint' savvy than any other demographic) still pride themselves that they 'leave no trace'...but I digress.
As you decompress from Burning Man this week, and you see the growing reports on the news about REAL self reliance and REAL radical inclusion of REAL refugee camps, please pause for a moment and realize how fortunate you are that you have a credit line and a network of fellow 'rich' friends, and perhaps stop using the terms Radical Inclusion and Radical Self Reliance to describe what is still undoubtedly the most amazing party in the world. Burning Man is awesome, and it is radical only with the disclaimer that all participants have a reasonably comfortable safety net.
As the issue of 'inclusion' is shaping up to be our world's biggest challenge this year, let's step up to the plate, and extend our burner attitude beyond the inclusion of rich party people.
Just a thought, and it's not that radical
Love you all
The audio segment from the sunrise set about this topic can be heard here, at the 1hr26m mark: https://soundcloud.com/robot-heart/the-scumfrog-robot-heart-burning-man-2015
See the original post from Facebook, and the subsequent discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/ScumfrogArtist/posts/868543819867119