Dirt, Drugs, Deviants: The Dessert Debauchery of Burning Man
By Sheila Watson
Unkillable super head lice and hordes of big green stink bugs might put some off, but not the burners.
Waste particles from germ and atomic warfare testing, embedded in apocalyptic dust storms that rot your lungs, and your car under-carriage, might put off others, but not the burners.
The utter lack of minorities and the smell of unwashed bodies, for as far as you can see, might be a turn off for a few, but not the burners.
While the “regular public” might enjoy the thought of unhampered sex with anybody, and anything, across the vast wastelands of this desert Playa; the “regular public” is also irked at the sexual diseases, immature non-commitment and community intent to “never think about tomorrow”. Burners are not into consequences.
Out in “the world” the burners are “shocked”, shocked, I tell you, about the “exploitation of women”. But, on the Playa, all women are encouraged to dress like sex slaves, futuristic hookers or prehistoric sluts. The dichotomy and the duality of the sexism is amazing. Hint: Garter belts on the outside really do say “F*ck Me” to most of the world.
Most of Burning Man is about “Look-At-Me”. The narcissists of the world unite at this desert wasteland. More selfies are generated, at Burning Man than in all of Africa in a decade. If you are a biker, lost artist, old hippie or Silicon Valley overpaid programmer you are at burning man showing off.
This Mad Max Cosplay event is very particular about it’s post-apocalyptic anything-goes mentality. It is a land where nobody wants to grow up. It is Peter Pan’s Never Never Land for adults who refuse to grow up.
When you look at the images of the people, who run Burning Man, on their website, you notice a certain kind of look. Then, when you Google the words “Meth Teeth” or “Adult hippies”, on the Google image search, much is made clear.
For all of their “open-ness” and “Community”, burners are not the least bit open to anybody who doesn’t “fit in” or who sleeps with two many of the staff.
So… the Burning Man staff all do the polyamorous thing. A top staffer, known by an animal name that I agreed to keep secret, told me that almost 80% of the Burning Man staff have had sex with each other. After two or more bad falling outs, the burner gets ostracized. When you do the math, by dividing the number of Horney staff members by the number of years Burning Man has been around you can see that attrition will eventually take a severe toll.
The old, disgruntled burners go off and form splinter groups and cause a ruckus. When they see an ex burner staffer sleeping with a new burner squeeze, they get even more incensed. Most Polyamorous people are only polyamorous and “open” when it is convenient to get lots of sex with strangers in a rapid cycle without a girlfriend harping on you. When they have to deal with reality and jealously, coveting, control and normal subconscious emotions, all that crunchy granola feel-good goes right out the window in about a second.
1/3 of the burners are hot looking attention whores. They are the ones you see in all of the blog postings. They go there for sex, drugs and attention. They were the “cool kids” in school and the ones who use their looks for social status. They are the DNA Lounge Thunderdome: “I’m dirty and my clothes are torn, …but in sexy ways” people.
1/3 of the burners are old hippies and meth heads who are just grizzled into husks.
The last third are the newbies who bought into the PR, rented an RV and expect to touch some kind of supernatural nirvana by rubbing shoulders with the enlightened ones. A good chunk of them are there to spend their parents money. This third is more desperate than all the rest. They need validation like other humans need oxygen. They exist in a mutual admiration cloud of TED Talk personal aggrandizement and Singularity Event name masturbation.
Burning Man has a group of employees who are “in-house artists”. They are actually prop builders. They are hired to build big weird things that can be dragged out to the desert, to help make the whole place look as weird as possible, so that the marketing will work to drag more unsuspecting fresh meat members of the public there.
For all of it’s superficial religious and cult-ish overtones that say “you can do what you want here, we are Post Apocalyptic so we have to pretend like we are living without rules” the understated date rape issue is most disturbing.
Mind altering drugs and communal “environments”, Orgasmic Massage and required “morning hugs” create a half lidded army of numb-smiled acolytes who are placed in an environment where date rape does not stand out like it might in an urban mall. The subtle move from “I need to hug you” to “Just put this glass LED ‘art object’ in your butt” is a careful dance of peer pressure and manipulation of the naïve, nubile newcomer.
Many first-time burner girls wake up the next morning, covered in dust, sore in every orifice, with no idea what happened the last few days. The local sheriff has under-cover officers, dressed as old hippies, on the look-out, but with thousands of tents and RV’s to check, the task is nearly impossible.
While they hide in the desert to do their deeds, this year every cell phone can live-stream and Tweet the bugs, sexual horrors and the most toothless mouths.
The reckoning may be coming.
All the sex has created too many STD’s, too many single moms, and too many Burning Man staff who are jealous of other Burning man staff; The hedonism has created too many prematurely dead burners from drug and alcohol body decay. The heat and the dust have destroyed too many cars, lungs and electronics. The tattoos of the founders have faded into blotches of darkness and despair. The commercialism has become rampant. The long lines to get in, lineated along empty roads of hell, are intolerable. The Silicon Valley cash and show-off-ism is a horror-show.
The smell of tons of human feces cooking in plastic portable toilets, roasting in the satanic sun, is blasted at you in a sudden gust of desert wind infused with the most noxious dust you will ever find. The smell burns through your sinuses and into your soul. The dust cakes onto your body and your sweat turns it into a layer of mud, which dries into a covering that turns you into a sex-crazed Golem.
At one of the Burning Man Café’s, under a tent awning, we overhead one worker tell another worker that this was “all BS that they get paid more than we do..” AHA, so “open communities” only extend as far as convenience.
Make no mistake about it. Burning Man is about making money. The event is carefully crafted to put big bucks in about 29 people’s pockets so that they can live off of Burning Man year-round. The Burning Man staff pitches their asset to corporations as a “captured audience with no outside brand distractions”. That they are.
The nearby town is in a state that allows prostitutes, gambling, machine guns and owning your own pet lion. All the locals hate Burning Man. They are OK with the prostitutes, gambling, machine guns and owning your own pet lions because they consider them to be “honest, upfront sins”. They think Burning Man is a façade and a “fake church masquerading under a huge rationalization” as one local gas station worker called it. They don’t like the pretense. Another said: “we put a red light on the front of our whorehouses so you know the score; At Burning Man, they sucker these young girls in there and nobody comes out the other side with their dignity intact”
If Burning Man has degenerated into one big rationalization for the dark and the lost, does it foretell what will become of America?
Is Burning Man the Donald Trump of the new society, or is it more the Scientology of the old society?
The Playa will endure. The Burners?…not so much.