I've steered clear of the minor controversy over coffee vending in center camp. Yes, it's at odds with both the festival's principles and the rules the rest of us must comply with on pain of ejection, but the whole thing seems too tiny to really get worked up about. But this year it was pointed out to me that the volunteers in the cafe take their tips home. So let's get this all in one breath: the festival sells coffee, from which it makes money and produces an enormous amount of trash, and the "volunteers" actually make money on their shifts. The Black Rock Gazette went so far as to find an apologist by the name of Durgy to come up with a public rationalization:
Some folks make it to Burning Man with just enough food and cash to the Gate. They trust they will be able to gather the resources and/or influence to make it back to their default world existence when our week in the sun has ended. For some, the $30 or so they can make in tips during an eight-hour shift at the Cafe is the difference between being able to leave the playa with enough gas and food money in their pockets and running out resources on the road.
Allow me to construct a nuanced rebuttal: fuck those people. If they can't take care of themselves, if they aren't prepared to cover their own needs, what the hell are they doing at Burning Man? Says Durgy, "It's hot work, and it's real work." The baristas work in the shade. Morning and day shift rangers, gate, and perimeter people do not. Nor do any of those people get tips. To the patrons of the Cafe and the parasites behind the counter, I offer a steaming cup of radical self-reliance.
Next up, who adjusted the meds over at Piss Clear? The edition I picked up on Wednesday had an editorial - not an article, mind you, but an editorial - with a definite pro-Burning Man slant. And that's not all. Page three featured a "rant" about the Rangers. Allow me to quote: "Some of them are committed, life-saving heroes [...] The Rangers should be applauded, though, for their consistently superior performance negotiating between acid casualties and the real police [...] The Rangers do a great job of crowd control during the Burn [...] The Rangers should be commended for their selflessness." My goodness! Can the Clan In Tan ever recover from this withering barrage? I could do a better job of tearing our khaki-clad militia roleplaying club a new set of assholes, and I am a Ranger. Way to lose your edge, guys.
Note: the preceding opinions are needlessly inflammatory and may not reflect the actual opinions of any persons living or dead.