Burning Man, “Burners,” and BannedCast
It’s that time of year again: Burning Man.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept, allow me to explain that this is that special time of year when today’s newest breed of pretentious hipster ravers flock to the Black Rock City Nevada desert to celebrate all things craft beer, EDM, and anti-establishment platitudes while engorged on copious amounts of designer drugs that allow for meaningless and altogether joyless sex with multiple unwashed and relatively unconscious partners.
As if witnessing from a distance the arrogant stupidity of millennial values channeled through thirty-something Silicon Valley programmers wasn’t bad enough, the very worst aspect of Burning Man is having to pretend to listen to and/or care when your coworker returns the following week and proceeds to tell you all about their Burning Man experience as you’re waiting to get coffee in the break room, which in some states is actually considered a hate crime.
And this brings me to a pressing question I have for all “Burners,” as Burning Man attendees affectionately refer to themselves: Please explain to me how spending a week in the desert shitting into a bag and bartering for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in 110-degree heat is supposed to be a life-affirming, spiritual experience.
For myself, the principal enjoyment of Burning Man is derived from watching some few tens of thousands of assholes make a mass pilgrimage out of San Francisco for one blessed week to go stand around the desert and declaim how much better they are than everyone else who doesn’t appreciate yesterday’s hippie values despite the fact that they sponsored their Burning Man vacation with hedge funds and stock portfolios chock full of predatory investment holdings and slave labor profits.
But I guess so long as that slavery is Asian and half a world away, it cannot pose a threat to your pious conviction in your own idealistic cause that you exercise by consuming expired MDMA cut with bleach and arsenic while listening to shitty EDM music and waving glow sticks around in the air like some fucking asshole who forgot just how bad the 90s really were.
Because that’s right, Burners: 100 years from now when they’re making an updated version of 12 Years a Slave with a mostly Asian cast, each and every one of us in possession of an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy or designer jeans is going to look like the worst kind of white plantation owner from Roots and all the rest of those antebellum period pieces because we seem to think that being lucky enough to be a part of 5% of the world’s population entitles us to cheap consumer goods produced and assembled by third-world, sometimes child labor.
Do you know what makes that new iPhone screen so silky smooth to the touch? The tears of the malnourished overworked and underpaid proletarian who both mined the metal and then assembled it together for you—all so that you can send pictures of your dick through Snapchat and tell your friends your innermost meditations on the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead. Spoiler alert: it totally sucked.
And I’m guessing, by the way, that there are plenty of iPads out there at Burning Man catching every blissful moment of egalitarian utopia, which apparently involves a lot of overweight topless women with tramp stamps and emasculated dudes with overgrown beards and faded tribal tattoos dancing like the worst stereotypical representations of white people from the best sketches of the Dave Chappelle show.
Which brings me to my last point: setting fire to a large decorative art piece does not bring you closer to either nature, your spiritual core, your lost innocence, or that Starbucks barista in the next yurt over who long ago mortgaged her future in exchange for a life of clubbing and an annual week-long ecstasy trip in the middle of a desert surrounded by date-rapists and Mission District hipster douchebags.
By the way, do you know who else enjoys communing with nature while setting fire to large wooden structures? The Klu Klux Klan. Way to go, Burners, you’ve successfully aligned yourself with the spiritual equivalent of Donald Trump’s immigration policy.