Burning Man Lingo

I’m back from Burning Man and I learned some new terms, e.g., the following:

  • darktard/darkwad: person who walks around at night without wearing LEDs
  • Sunday watermelon: a gift that is more about the giver wanting to get rid of something heavy/bulky (the Man burns on Saturday evening so a “Sunday watermelon” would typically have been purchased at least one week earlier)

(See BRC Weekly for additional)

I noted some conversations unlikely to be heard elsewhere…

“It’s so cold you need to be dressed like it is fucking Siberia.”

Male Burner 1: “What should I wear tonight? I have got these tights.”; Burner 2: “If that isn’t gay, tell me what is.”

  • Burner 1 (looking at some photos): “These are great!”
  • Burner 2: “Thanks. I also took some good ones on the Playa this morning.”
  • Burner 1: “How do I find them?”
  • Burner 2: “Just keep scrolling until you see shaved pussy and you’ll be in the right area.”

“I don’t know why they make Viagra in 100 mg pills.  You would have to be a fucking elephant to take 100 mg. Chop it into eighths and it gives you a nice tailwind.”

Burner eating cashews: “It says they are salted. Where the hell is the salt? Fucking health food.”

Burner eating breakfast: “This is almost as good as what they’re serving in Camp Superdouche.”

Medical professional burner: “He really should not do so many drugs.”

“Do these boots go with this bikini?”

Burner noticing tent-mate about to step into tent from camp shower: “Aaaargh! You have Playa Foot!” (paste of dust and water stuck to foot)

2015-09-03 11.59.01 HDR

16 Comments

  1. Izzie L.

    September 8, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

    1

    There has been some controversy recently as to the distinct lack of black people at Burning Man. One explanation put forward is that black people don’t like camping. This does not strike me as fully explanatory. I think a better explanation is that Burning Man appeals to the same demographic as a Grateful Dead concert, which also does not conform strictly to the overall demographic profile of the US population. Does anyone have any thoughts as to why sisters and brothers find Burning Man lacking in appeal despite the sexual opportunities?

  2. philg

    September 8, 2015 @ 2:46 pm

    2

    Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man, was asked the same question at a press conference last week. He responded “We are not a Utopian society. I will believe in Utopia when I meet my first perfect person. Unlike our liberal critics, half of my family is black. We’re not going to set racial quotas or judge people by wealth. I’m unwilling to impose change from outside. We have to generate change from the inside.”

    My own explanation? The majority of Burners come from Silicon Valley or the East Bay, plus some techies who live in San Francisco proper. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/07/black-workers-google-facebook-twitter-silicon-valley-diversity says that the Silicon Valley workforce is approximately 1.8 percent black. It should not be a surprise that Burning Man reflects the mixture of people you’d find in Silicon Valley.

  3. George

    September 8, 2015 @ 6:29 pm

    3

    Open a Twitter account. Title it “Overheard at Burning Man”. I will subscribe. Not sure where you will get material the rest of the year.

  4. Izzie L.

    September 8, 2015 @ 6:35 pm

    4

    That’s sort of begging the question. Can’t get to Black Rock from Oakland?

    Why does the SV workforce itself not “look like America”? Why are rustbelt industries presumed guilty if their workforce does not stricty reflect broader demographics but Apple and Google (and Hollywood) get a pass? Not that I want them to be harassed too, but somehow it’s OK to look the other way in some cases but not in others.

  5. paul kramarchyk

    September 8, 2015 @ 8:06 pm

    5

    If I committed some heinous crime, attending Burning Man would be a fitting punishment. Nothing I’ve ever seen or read about BM is interesting to me or worth the price (indulging crowds of people who think they’re hip or cool and want you to know). Google “burning man 2015” and click images on the results page. I rest my case.

    If blacks avoid BM, I attribute it to good taste.

  6. paddy

    September 9, 2015 @ 12:01 am

    6

    Why would there be any controversy about a private function that doesn’t have too many black people in it? There are plenty of private functions that blacks willingly attend, that hardly have any white people in it – are they supposed to be worried about this, and try to entice more white people to such functions?

    How come we complain about percentages of black CEOS but don’t complain about NBA (over 76% black) or NFL (68% black) over-representation of blacks; the top 350 NBA players get over $1 million in salary alone, not including non-cash bonuses and any endorsement or ad deals.

    Really the nose-counting is silly.

  7. Mark

    September 9, 2015 @ 1:05 am

    7

    Phil,

    How (and why) did you manage to post stuff about bicycles, airplanes, Serena Williams and politicians while you attended Burning Man??
    THAT is the question we all should be asking you!!

  8. Steve E.

    September 9, 2015 @ 9:23 am

    8

    How come there was no way to relate your Burning Man experiences with “Real World Divorce”?

  9. ianf

    September 9, 2015 @ 11:04 am

    9

    Much as I hate being a kill-joy, and—PROVIDED I COULD FIND A MEDIA SPONSOR TO FOOT THE BILL OF MY GETTING THERE (hint, hint)—as I’d love to experience Burning Man first… limb(?), I must admit that I always felt it being a West Coast hipsters’ version of the Bohemian Grove “holiday camp” for the Beltway crowd, as described with some precision in SPY Magazine‘s November 1989 issue. An annual event also ending with spectacular burning of a humanoid effigy, in the latter called “CARE.” (SPY cover + the entire article is present & downloadable as PDF @ GoogleBooks.

    That said, I keep waiting for a sabotage (way premature) arson of the BM sculpture, as has become kind of “sports custom” for the near-yearly vandal dismemberment & burning of the Swedish town of Gävle’s hay straw Yule Goat (=a local Christmas shopping commercial “tradition”).

    Lastly, observe the beyond-conservative attire of Philip’s, more suitable for Bohemian Grove, than BM. I’m afraid one measly & not even pierced! nipple won’t do it… you need to step up the game, parade @ BM and in these pages with at least one XXX Red Hot Chili Pepper freely dangling with a suggestive swagger.

  10. Thomas Cooper

    September 9, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  11. philg

    September 9, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

    11

    Mark: WordPress lets a publisher schedule postings in advance!

    Steve: Burning Man has a lot of people with money from California. Any time there is money in the U.S. there are plaintiffs circling trying to get it! Look for a follow-up post.

  12. Toucan Sam

    September 9, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

    12

    Phil, did you fly into burning man? I was up in Lake Tahoe and was surprised at seeing all the transient traffic pull up to south lake tahoe airport covered in dust. It seems many of these planes will have playa dust on them for decades to come!

  13. Alan Cima

    September 9, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

    13

    Ianf – Bohemian Grove also a bit north of San Francisco, not really a beltway thing, definitely also a California thing. Richer and less public and sadly no women, but same idea – feel special by camping with fires.

  14. Izzie L.

    September 10, 2015 @ 10:10 am

    14

    I totally agree that there is no reason why every event (company, university, sport, etc.) has to reflect overall demographics but my question was, WHAT about Burning Man makes it unappealing to blacks ? Why is Burning Man less appealing to blacks than say Mardi Gras? It seems to me that certain aspects of Burning Man do align with things that blacks find to be fun, but these must be outweighed by other aspects that they consider to be not at all appealing.

    The very fact that the event is predominantly white may make blacks feel uncomfortable. Some blacks that I know are (not without reason) paranoid that attention is focused on them (in a negative way) whenever they are in a predominantly white setting.

  15. philg

    September 10, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

    15

    Toucan Sam: It was my friend’s dream to land on the Playa, so we did. And yes we are still working on de-dusting the airplane, inside and out.

  16. Dudjo

    September 13, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

    16

    Phil,

    Did you fly into BM and if not: why not, how did you get there, would you fly there next time?

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