I Just Don’t Get the Burning People

This is always a strange time of year for year because inevitably, there are a couple of acquaintances I know who tell me I should go to Burning Man. For those who haven’t met me in person, let me assure you that I’m not a let loose, free spirit, run naked through the desert, high on mushrooms type. And while I do things like recycle, vote towards the liberal side of things, and lead my life in ways that seem pro-hippie, I am seriously anti-hippie. So, I always wonder why these people tell me I should go try it when based upon what I’ve heard, the people I know who go to it, and just the general overall “thing” to it, why it would be my bag?
2005 marks 20 years of this thing since it started only a couple miles from me on Baker Beach here in San Francisco. And, to a certain degree, I can admire the original intent of the festival. There was artwork, creativity and an overall sense of good being that seemed to permeate the results produced, but it all started when I was oh… eight years old. My real introduction to The Man came in 1998 when I was about 21 and by then, I was reeling from my first encounters at Berkeley and discovering that while I was raised by artists form the sixties, they really weren’t hippies by todays standards. Hippies today (from the groups I’ve met) are lost because Phish doesn’t tour anymore, seriously bummed because of all that stuff that white dude in the White House is doing, and are really down with working at an organic grocery store despite the fact it’s a national chain. It is true that they do lend their hands to good causes here and there, but it seems that a lot of these bedraggled souls go to protests mainly to meet up with the opposite sex. Yes, I’ve seen this first hand. Don’t forget, I live in San Francisco, protest capital of the West Coast.
I’m seeing pictures of the Burners out there and I see far too many white people with dreadlocks for me to want to go anywhere near it. There’s too much freedom for the sake of freedom dammit! In simpler terms, it’s why I moved out of Berkeley to San Francisco, because the in-your-face quality of all the causes and ideas is too much over there in the Near East Bay. Sometimes, they made me feel like shooting a gun just to shoot a gun and eat the leg off a live cow to prove a point that I have my own ideas and they may not mesh up with theirs.
It is obviously and without a doubt very close-minded to say I’ll never go to something I haven’t seen firsthand. Someone would have something of a point there, but based upon the death toll, the suicide bombers, and the fact I’m an American, I don’t think I’d like to go to Iraq right now and I doubt anyone could have a sane argument with me that I really should go regardless. Such is the case with Burning Man and of the people I know who have gone once, they said it was interesting to see, but that there was a good deal of culture that was supposed to be there which seemed to be lacking. And, the later people have gone there, the more often and heavier the comments are in this area.
It’s probably great for those that go, but a lot like how my tea bags aren’t recyclable and how working in the computer industry promotes bad working conditions and pollution throughout the world, I have to say, yes, I know, fine. Have your Burning Man and enjoy it with the thousands of other out there. Just please, please stop trying to tell me how it’s sooooo good and amazing. I’m sure I’ve had a Pistachio Sorbet in Istria that’s come damn close to your experience.