my other garden
a few thoughts on the moving targetSat, September 1, 2007 - 10:45 AM
However, from another perspective, the Man is more than one person's--or even several people's art. It is a public icon and a private fetish that belongs to all Burners, who through the doctrine of participation are expressly and collectively invited experience it as their own and to imbue it with their own personal meanings. The act of burning it outside its sanctioned ritual sacrifice was in fact a powerful statement--as evinced by the controversy, conversations, and widespread media coverage the act received. Many people feel that this act served to restore some of the event's cacophonous prankster spirit, and also served as a kind of symbolic reclamation of the Man from the increasingly routinized bureaucracy of "the Borg." It can be construed as an act of ritual criticism--as those who applaud this act see the arsonist as speaking/acting for a sentiment they share.
But this ritual transgression also served to shift the focus from the collective to the individual, as <a href="www.flickr.com/photos/lau.../">one man</a> is reaping a great deal of attention for his "alleged" act of ritual arson, at least out here in the default world. On the playa, the organizers, for their part, appear to be reshifting the perspective back to the community by reconstructing the Man in full view of the community at the Man's central, still standing, base.
And from yet another perspective, I can't view this separately from my personal acquaintance with the "alleged" perp. My personal opinion of him is pretty low and has been for a long time. I've found him to be driven by ego, machismo, and prone to bouts of manic aggression. No thanks. (with all due respect to any beloved friends who remain close to him and whom might be reading here, I know in particular he's been a huge support to <a href="amacker.livejournal.com/"...</a> following her <a href="bullwinkle.org/amacker/">near fatal accident</a>...)
Also, his statement as posted on <a href=" laughingsquid.com/burning-m...uid</a> (upate #18) is typically arrogant:
<i>"We could give a fuck less what you all think of us for doing this. Most of you are newbies who have been drawn in by the semi-religious nature of the event, or maybe just the easy drugs and easier sex. You have nothing to offer the event other than your fucking money and obedience. You spend the rest of your lives in mortal fear of everything that insurance companies tell you to fear, and pretend that you’re free and clear because you spend four days at a desert bacchanal where spinelessness is not only encouraged but genetically replicated for implementation in successive generations. In short, you are the swine of which Thompson spoke. Get over yourselves."</i>
As if someone who attended the event 3 times--and hadn't been there since 98--can even begin to accurately characterize the motivation and experience of the tens of thousands who have participated since he decided he was too cool for school. And as if the event wasn't always semi-religious to begin with. And he doesn't care what we think, but he's here to tell us what he thinks we should think.
I also find it sad that--in terms of media coverage at least--the ritual arson has eclipsed the Green Man theme and environmental artistry, at least for now. At least Paul's act didn't appear to damage the works of art in the Pavilion (so far as I've been able to gather from afar), but it does sound like the structure was off limits for a couple days at least. Which is a shame, because a lot of people put a lot of time energy & soul into that space.
On a personal note, I'll admit that while I remain fascinated by the event and am having a ball watching it from a distance this year, I really don't miss being there. Oh sure, I do miss hanging out with my pals in the BLD, especially Juke (though, praises be, not his pork--he dropped some off for us in a freezer bag, complete with a jar of his raspberry chiplote bbq sauce, a few weeks ago when he swung through town. joy!) But it's being quite fun- and yet another perspective on the whole thing--to watch it all go down via the internet (not to mention the daily fun of hanging out with Spencer!) So tonight, we dine on pork and <a href="www.current.tv/burningman/">watch the webcast</a> of the burn.
|add a comment|