When we gay people have a mid-life crisis, we bleach our hair and start listening to Celine Dion.
But middle-aged tech scene beta males go to Burning Man, an annual festival of self-indulgence and terrible fashion at which the worst people in the world congregate for a week of free love and bartered narcotics.
More latte-slurping liberals head to the desert to take MDMA and pretend they can stand the sight of each other every year, staying in a variety of odious accommodations, classified as “villages,” “low-density campsites” and the dreaded “theme camps.” There’s a byzantine rules system governing the various camp classifications that comes across as a mixture of Wikipedia and Auschwitz.
And the jack-booted oppression doesn’t end there: I have heard that longtime Burning Man attendees are increasingly perplexed by black van concierge services that provide a “plug and play” camping experience for richer attendees who are squeamish about all that nasty mud. Plug and play! These insufferable twats can’t drop the tech-speak for 5 minutes.
Burning Man without the budget is a service that reminds me of those carefully-controlled, risk-free expeditions up Mount Everest. Of course, the primary difference is that one represents a bleak, inhospitable natural environment full of bizarre and exotic wildlife in which people have been known to faint or simply die of shock. The other is a tall mountain.
To really understand just how monstrously terrifying Burning Man is, try to imagine if Tumblr came to life and started dropping acid. For instance, this is an event that admits under-12s yet proudly sports an “orgy dome.” The existence of the orgy dome is instructive: rich white Californian liberals flicking each other off under carefully-controlled conditions–with security goons, in case things get out of hand.
The most tedious, self-involved and new money-saturated middle-class self-reflection festival in America does, at least, make one concession to how other people think of it: a giant human sacrifice in the middle of the camp. Attendees mimic the burning of this wooden model by incinerating their own brain cells with illegal narcotics throughout the week, of course.
But I can’t help wondering if more could be done. Mother Nature is on our side in all of this, of course: last year, the festival was rained off and your correspondent reported on the harrowing chaos that followed. This year there was apparently an Old Testament-scale biting bug infestation that has only just started to clear up.
Yet human intervention is still needed. I know, for example, that Obama’s new friends in Iran, thrilled at the deal they’ve struck with the President, will shortly be looking for a nuclear test site. Is it too much to hope for that he gives them the first week of September in Nevada?