The Digital Shutterbug (aryx) wrote in burning_man,
The Digital Shutterbug
aryx
burning_man

Reno Gazette-Journal

I am posting an e-mail I received through the Earth-Guardians e-list, written by Dan Henklein. He talks about a recent article that the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote trying to slam the Burning Man event. The letter that Dan wrote is rather long, so I'll post the first couple of paragraphs, then use the cut tag (if I remember how correctly :/ )


My dear Earthguardians:

I would draw your attention to the copy of the Reno-Gazette Journal article
Karina just forwarded.

I've met the manager of College Cyclery, the owner of the business is a
friend of mine.
The manager of College Cylclery has neither the background or authority to
speak on environmental subjects. I'm not sure where the Gazette-Journal
found such an unqualified commentator, or why they solicited her opinion.
I suggest the initiation of a boycott of College Cyclery by the Burning Man
community.

I've had my bicycle tuned up there before several Burning Mans.
Not anymore, although the question is moot since I don't live in Reno
anymore.
My impression of the manager of College Cyclery when I met her was that she
would have a hard time understanding anything that was not rooted in the
bourgeois world.

The Reno Gazette-Journal seems to be reverting to its old anti-Burning Man
slant.
We struggled against this in '97 and '98. Things seemed to have changed.
Apparently they haven't, really.
The truth is, the Reno Gazete-Journal has NO credibility in Reno. It is
well known to locals that the paper is a tool of the casino industry.

The paper's attempt to find anti-Burning Man spokes-people really seems to
be scraping the bottom of the barrel.
The quotes from John Bogard reveal his private agenda.
He is not concerned about the environment, but rather, about "children".

I would remind you all that fascism is fond of creeping into our lives. It
will do so anyway it can, but one of its favorite techniques is to convince
ordinary people that THEIR CHILDREN ARE SOMEHOW THREATENED. If this can be
accomplished, then all sorts of draconian limitations on personal liberties
can be instituted.
(See the writings of Wilhelm Reich on the mass psychology of fascism.)


>But Bogard also has concerns about the public nudity and drug use that is
>often associated with Burning Man.
>Last year, Pershing County deputies arrested eight people and issued 21
>citations, mostly for possession of small amounts of
>marijuana.
>
>"There are children out there," Bogard said, noting that families often
>attend the event.

Earth Guardians:
Please understand that The BURNING MAN Earth Guardians are an arm
(department) of the Burning Man Project.
The Burning Man Earth Guardians were created to PROTECT BURNING MAN from
people like those quoted in the paper who have no understanding of Burning
Man, the environment, or the effect of Burning Man on the environment or on
world civilization.

Earth Guardians should be environmentally aware and concerned people, and
should work within the community and the project to advance a low
impact/leave-no-trace event.
But
this is hardly necessary since things are going so well on those fronts. Of
course we should continue in those efforts.
But
look how clean things looked as we were leaving.
my impression was that the DPW was going to have an easy time of it this
year if it doesn't rain.

The Burning Man Earth Guardians are a new arm of Burning Man. Not the
newest, but still the weakest.
The Earth Guardians took form at the same time the DPW did.
Look now, at the DPW: the strongest arm of Burning Man.
A member of the DPW asked durning the event, "...so what IS it exactly that
the Earth Guardians DO?"
That is a question that the DPW can well ask too, as they are the ones who
actually clean up after the event.

The Earth Guardians were created as a PUBLIC RELATIONS arm of the Project,
so that the Project could improve and clarify its image with regard to its
activities that benefitted the playa after the event and year-'round.
After '97 the Reno-Gazette Journal printed a number of scurrilous articles
denigrating Burning Man and accusing it of damaging the environment. Forces
also gathered that attempted to thwart the production of the festival. It
was important that Burning Man present concrete evidence of its positive and
beneficial role environmentally.

The original ideas for the Burning Man Earth Guardians were Larry's and
Marian's.

Earth Guardians need to be aware of the positive cultural benefits of
Burning Man.
It is not Burning Man that is damaging the environment, but consumer
civilization (worldwide) and the fearful, possesive bourgeois values that
propel it.
Burning Man attempts the reevaluation and overhaul of these values, as well
as the creation of a new mass psychology for humanity.
These are difficult goals,
and,
difficult too for those in the thick of consumerist bourgeois society to
even understand.

It is up to those of us who understand them to advance these goals, even in
the face of mindless opposition (that seems to wax and wane).
But we can't let our guard down.

Following this, is an essay I wrote for the leaders of Burning Man last
March (I believe).
The essay was well received by many: it has never been posted to an
announce-list before.
I hope you too, Earth Guardians, find the words to follow useful.

I believe we can best reverse environmental degradation by altering the
underlying VALUES of world civilization.
The best way apparent to me to do so at present is by working with, and
altering, the symbolic underpinnings of "mainstream" culture.
All along, I've wanted to say mainstream American middle-class culture, or
Western Civilization, but this is too limited because all the world is
emulating that: all the world wants what Western Civilization has.

We need to change the basical VALUES now!
We need to steer people away from valuing possessions and toward valuing
experiences.
Open, honest experiences.
These are what enrich life the most: not the treasures we tear from the
breast of Mother Earth only to hord away as symbols of a (false) status.

Only when status is assigned to those with the most wisdom and experience
instead of to those with the most possessions will the destruction of our
planteary home be averted.

The promulgation of the ritual of the Burning Man holds great promise for
this.

Earth Guardians: remember that by working to ensure the survival of Burning
Man as an event you are working to foster values that can ultimately turn
humanity from the path of possesive hoarding that is contributing to the
collapse of planetary ecosystems.

Please read the essay "Who does it serve?" that follows.

I love you to death.
TipiDan
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