Friday, September 04, 2009

Burning Man - Politics

I would say about half the people I talked to were from San Francisco. Another quarter or so were from Oregon, and the rest were pretty evenly split from across the world. As is no surprise San Francisco and Portland are probably the two most liberal places in the United States. A lot of the stickers I saw on cars backed this up. (Including one that was seriously telling anarchists to unite.) As a weird corollary I was also surprised by how many people had earned their living at some point in their life by working in the circus. I only see it as a matter of time before conservative talk show hosts start saying that circuses have a secret liberal agenda.

It’s funny, when I was researching Burning Man on what to bring I kept coming across the idea that previous years were better. If it were to be believed every year Burning Man gets progressively worse. While I understand that there is probably a change over the decades that they have been doing this I think it has more to do with desire to be part of something special. For the same reason that people have elevated Woodstock to a concert that there will never be an equal of; each year that passes the nostalgia builds further and further for older Burning Man events too. I think this is also evidenced by the fact that I heard a lot of people say that this was one of the best Burns they have been to.

There were signs taped up in all the porta-potties advertising camps or stating political opinions. One that stuck with me is “Certain people will rebel unless the reason for the rules are explained to them, and most people at Burning Man are in a state of rebellion wouldn’t you say?” I think it sums up rather well why anarchy and organization can so easily co-exist together here.

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