Skip navigation

So one week ago, Burning man closed up for the year and burners everywhere went back to where they came from, presumably to begin preparing in earnest for next year. But some of them apparently have bigger fish to burn, because they’ve had time to threaten a lawsuit against sandwich company Quizno’s, who put out an advertisement that spends equal time mocking Burning Man, The Scorch Trials (a middle of the road film adaptation of the YA novel by the same name), and Quiznos itself. In case you want to watch it right now, this is what I’m talking about.

So okay, it may be a sandwich commercial, but its a pretty damn high concept one. And while it might poke fun at something that lots of people take pretty seriously, you’d think that one of the foremost creative and original communities in the world could see the humor and just shrug it off, especially since the commercial brings up a few salient points; calling out the festival for becoming something for ‘rich people to cross off their bucket lists’ was probably my favorite line in the ad. But apparently the people in charge of the festival feel like their intellectual property is being infringed upon, and in that regard, they are pressing for legal action.

Which is okay I guess, because they have a right to protect what they feel is a commodity-less lifestyle for part of the year, and by using the Burning Man name to promote their product, it does feel kinda like Quizno’s is violating one of the big Burner rules. But a lawsuit? Really? The most creative and artistic and empowered people in the country can’t think of anything better than a lawsuit? Something about it feels so sour and wrong, so much more so than a cute little ad that doesn’t even deface what the festival is about, and in fact embraces what it used to be over what it has actually become.

Which leads me to my final point. It seems like the Burners are mainly just upset about their culture being inserted into the mainstream and finding so many outsiders in their midst. This sentiment has been building in the last few years, and led many to declare that the fest is ‘over.’ But that just feels like more whining to me. I mean, isn’t this the point? The point of art? To capture people’s imaginations, to entrance and enthrall them, and then while you have their minds open discovering something they never knew existed, you can teach them. Show them a better way, a way that isn’t full of commodity and corporate mentalities and blandness? That is what you have the opportunity to do right now, Burning Man. And instead of embracing the mainstream culture and changing it, you just whined, sued, and tried to tell all the norms that they ‘just don’t get it.’

And honestly, that’s exactly what ‘The Man’ would do…


    • The Peculiarist
    • Posted September 13, 2015 at 4:28 PM
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Bashing Burning Man has become quite fashionable, but you didn’t actually say anything I can disagree with, so…
    I also understand their complaints. Festivals start off great, and then they become well-known and popular, and then they become over-priced and over-crowded. The same happens to cool holiday destinations.
    I think the problem is not enough festivals. There’s one Burning Man once a year for the entire country (and beyond)… people should start a similar festival with similar ideals so that each one doesn’t get overcrowded. Cons do a good job of this, for the most part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree completely, and I’ve attended a lot of smaller similar events and had such an amazing time. Events like Burning Man becoming so popular will probably encourage more people to make them happen locally, and even though there might be an influx of passive observers who just don’t quite ‘get it’ at first, everyone has to start from somewhere and I don’t believe in excluding anyone at all from participating in something so amazing. The takeaway should be that no matter what brings you to the festival life in the first place (party vibe, artistic exploration, bucket-listing, etc.) no one should let the message and phenomena be wasted or diluted, and when people everywhere start complaining about newbies and corporations ruining it for everyone, they are letting that happen. The spirit of Burning Man (and any other festival that I’ve been to) cannot really be squashed by something that petty, IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: