From where I sit, admittedly hatless in the noonday sun, there are two kinds of people in this world:
Those who worship Burning Man, and those who get no pleasure from having sand wedged in places nature never intended.
Burning Man takes place each year in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. You wouldn’t be far off by calling it a party on the playa, or a festival in the middle of nowhere, but those who regularly attend Burning Man appear to consider it much more than that. To many of them, it’s a spiritual gathering that just happens to have endless happy hour and enough of the back-to-nature nuance to last the rest of the year.
From its official website comes this description: “Burning Man is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance. … Burning Man is also a thriving worldwide community of participants, with events happening all over the globe. The culture spawned in the desert has taken root everywhere!”
All over the globe? Everywhere? So it’s pretty much bent on world domination, this Burning Man.
You see, people who love Burning Man really love Burning Man. In fact, folks I know who mark Burning Man on their calendars also really like talking about Burning Man. I don’t talk about my kid as much as some people talk about Burning Man.
Apparently, this obsessive behavior isn’t a limited phenomenon. In an effort to put an end to all the blather associated with Burning Man attendees from the Bay Area, the intrepid hucksters from Cultivated Wit have generated a crowd-funding campaign to raise $7.3 billion to build a 300-mile wall around San Francisco during Burning Man to prevent attendees from returning to talk about their experience in the desert.
“The week of Burning Man is the only week the rest of us don’t have to hear about Burning Man, but what if that week could last forever,” one of the creative culprits says in an online video.
At first blush $7.3 billion seems like a lot of money, but if the would-be wall builders added solar panels they could probably get an Obama administration renewable energy expert to underwrite it in no time. In the alternative, there’s almost that much money being spent by shady Super PACs in support of Republican candidates who have no chance of ever being elected President, so merely diverting those dollars could do the trick.
Although the wall’s planners were apparently not expecting to raise the whole $7.3 billion right away, their idea is positively bursting with merit.
I can think of a few others who rate walls around them — and not just the burning mad man Donald Trump.
For my money, Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy rates a wall of his own. Something to keep his cows in and the Bureau of Land Management. (As an aside, the BLM has also had as much difficulty rounding up Burning Man acolytes as Bundy’s trespassing bovines.)
There should be a special wall constructed to prevent the selfie-absorbed from continuing to practice their photo-snapping everywhere from the supermarket checkout line to the public library.
People who ride solo, usually while snapping selfies, in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane should also receive the wall treatment.
The list of folks worthy of being walled off from civilized society — even as we Nevadans define it — is long.
If you remain intrigued by Burning Man, this year’s event runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7. The theme for 2015 is “Carnival of Mirrors.”
If you go, I suggest you take plenty of ointment.
John L. Smith is a lifelong Nevadan and a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal Contact him at 702-383-0295, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.