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In the Los Angeles Times, Brian Doherty goes to the Burning Man festival and sees everything that makes America great.

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  1. He has internet access at burning man?

  2. He has internet access at burning man?

  3. He has internet access at burning man?

  4. Life has conspired against me from returning for three years running now. I’ll have to make it happen for the next.

    He has internet access at burning man?

    Quite possible. Writing off Burning Man as a “hippie thing” really does it a huge injustice. It’s at least as much a “Silicon Valley nerd” thing. Last time I went in 2003, it was very wired. I often felt I may have been one of the few people attending who was truly unplugged.

  5. Gerlach’s not a real city, Brian?? You’ve insulted all 499 Gerlachians, and you’d best hide your identity on your next beer run!!!

    It’s capitalist at heart ? the festival is a ticketed event, and people can afford to live in its “gift economy” only because of the wealth accumulated in the commerce-filled outside world ? but it’s also uneasy about that capitalism.

    Brian’s quite right that capitalism enables Burning Man, but the atmosphere and driving ideology go well beyond mere unease about capitalism to hostility, with open displays of cash exchange forbidden (at least they used to be, and I acknowledge that Brian has addressed and challenged this policy in previous pieces) and replaced by a philosophy of “gifting it”, which is fine outside the implication often underlying the gushing of its adherents that it would make for a viable and superior way to run the entire world. Escape from the capitalist (and non-artistic) world I think is paramount for many participants, who often talk of the remaining 51 weeks of the year as a sort of “exile” from their true “home”.

    Otherwise, good piece!! It’s a fun time if you can put up with its difficulties and requirements. The time it takes to properly prepare and the difficult of getting any sleep amidst a 24/7 party (and the attendant difficulty of enjoying one’s waking hours on such little sleep) are largely what have kept me from returning since ’98. That and the fact that it’s really tailored to folks more outgoing (and other stuff) than I!!


    While Brian may have submitted the piece before heading to the playa, I have indeed known of people having internet access there!!

  6. Hey Brian are you going to live blog burning man?

  7. As Fyodor guessed, the piece was written before I left for the playa. I have chosen since finishing my book to not do any journalism work out there, for the sake of my laptop as well as my sanity.

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