Monday, September 20, 2010

Burning Man & Rotary, a commentary

I am terrible disappointed at all the hate comments I received here.

My husband and I have come out and built and given and received from our home away from home. I went along to make sure that these folks did understand what the experience is all about.

You see most of these folks only knew about Burning Man from what they read in the papers. All they knew was that Burning Man was about drinking, drugs and the naked people running around like savages. They’d experience the art only as pictures. They’d see the cars driving back through Reno after the Burn. They’d see is the craziness, the trash dumped in town and by the side of the roads, the dirty cars and dirty people. They had a very one-sided view point.

These people are not artists and most of them have never had a chance to be involved in a concept like BRC. They are muggles, going about their daily lives not knowing about another world.

I was pleasantly surprised by the openness of these folks, these “tourists”, willing to go out and experience something different, to put aside misconceptions. They did give as much as they received. They asked question and participated. They were so excited to be there. We didn’t stay with the buses once we got there. We dispersed like leaves in the wind. Some went out on bikes, some on foot.

My Mom and I went to Center Camp. She was enthralled by a drum circle and the acrobats and the art on the walls and just the overwhelming sea of people. We laughed and sang and danced a bit. She loved it.

After dinner we walked out to the man. Hand in hand like children in a dream. Stopping now and then just to turn around and take it all in. It was a very special time for me, to be able to share with wonderful place that mean so very much to me with her. For me it was a chance to come home and dance barefoot on the playa, even for just one day.

The “tourists” were bowled over by the reality of BRC. What I heard then as I still do is the amazement in their voices, that such a place can exist with all of its energy, and vitally. The amount of creative talent blew their socks off. The beauty, generosity and kindness and just plan awesomeness of the whole city was astonishing. They have a greater appreciation and understanding of why many of us are called back year after year, despite and the conditions, the weather and the costs.

Many of them would like to come again, either as “tourists” or as residents, and many will never come again not because they were ill treated of anything like that but it is just not their thing. Which is ok.

But one thing it very true, they were all very glad to have been able to come.

Some time we need “tourists” to come and become treasured friends.

Sincerely yours,
The Fiber Floozie


  1. Well said! I was amazed at all the negative.

  2. You hosted a "be-in" and some people who weren't there couldn't take it. Just be thankful that they didn't come with you and cherish your memories. They're what's important, not what other people think of you!

  3. I have never been, probably will never go. Not because I'm closed minded, but because I'm a bit of a prude lol
    I've always thought that the main mindset of people that attend burning man is that of sharing and love and peace and happiness. Am I so far off? "Anonymous" certainly doesn't see it so. He/she treats it like their toy and doesn't want to share, like the spoiled child in the play room.
    To my thoughts that form of thinking has no place no matter what drummer you march to.

  4. Blow it off. Who are they and what does it matter, really. Look at the evidence - it's a great and enduring experience. Enjoy and let the bad go - it's part of life. My mother used to say - I'll leave that bone on my plate for someone else to chew on.

  5. It amazes me how totally defensive of establishment some anti-establishment folks can be. Clearly "Anonymous" and friends just don't get it. OK, maybe it doesn't amaze me, but I would like it to. Funny, though, that this time the Rotarians on the trip were the open-minded counter-culture members encountering resistance from the close-minded old guard.

  6. I think some of those prior commenters forgot that they were first timers once too. My first year out I was poorly prepared and decidedly underdressed but enthusiasm makes up for a lot. This year marks my 5th in a row now, and I'll be running my camp next year.

    People are protective of this event because it is something truly unique and special; there's nothing like it anywhere in the world as far as I know and it is under perpetual threat from the federal government's whims and law enforcement along with the vagaries of the liability insurance industry. Casual tourism isn't part of the deal, with the event being structured, priced and sited specifically in a harsh and unwelcoming physical environment specifically to discourage the casual. This may be participants' only week free from advertising, money, cellphones, email, billboards and the daily grind (as well as tourists, as many participants live in San Francisco and Los Angeles).

    That said, it would be nice to see more tolerance displayed by the various "anonymous" posters here, especially after an explanation was posted from burning man org. on the Eplaya message boards.

    I'm sorry those less tolerant and less eloquent folks chose to insult you and yours rather than thinking outside the box for a few minutes before they hit "post comment". I do hope you had a good time, understand the event better and choose to come back in the future in a more participatory and involved way - you have smelled the baking cookies but not had a bite yet, so to speak.

    It is hard to go beyond simple adjustment to conditions and environment in the first 24 hours; to really experience it you need at least four days or more.

  7. "My husband and I have come out and built and given and received from our home away from home. I went along to make sure that these folks did understand what the experience is all about."
    ...just to be clear, doesn't this mean that you HAVE been there and that you HAVE experienced it as it is intended?
    Sorry, but I'm getting defensive for you lol this is the second comment I've seen that mentions that you should come and stay awhile... ?

  8. Well said! I wish I could apologize for those for anonymous cowards, but there is no excuse for them really. Thank you for being so level-headed and showing the rotary club what it is really about!

  9. It is a little odd when we're out there, immersed in the event, to see tourists roll up. Personally, if the BMORG wants to bring y'all on out, then who I am to complain? I think it says a lot about how much heart burners invest in Black Rock in order to feel such ownership. I'm glad you had a great time. See you next year.