Rich Pricks Ruined Burning Man (Again)

OK, this headline is misleading because it implies Burning Man was ever not lame, but for old-timers who cherish the annual pyrotechnic MDMA and BO festival, the end has been nigh. Now the New York Times is here with more bad news.

It's a familiar report. Burning Man used to be about "authentic" obnoxiousness (bad music, bad art, unattractive naked people) and now it's bogged down by "corporate" obnoxiousness (CEOs, startup dudes, cushy air-conditioned RVs).

The playa culture wars are more tense than ever, according to Nick Bilton of the Times:


"Now, we have the craziest chefs in the world and people who build yurts for us that have beds and air-conditioning." He added with a sense of amazement, "Yes, air-conditioning in the middle of the desert!"...A few people, mostly female models flown in from New York, get to go free, but when all is told, the weekend accommodations will collectively cost the partygoers over $2 million.

Two million bucks! For a fraction of that amount of money, you could throw an even better party that isn't in the middle of the desert, and also won't spoil the time for the usual gang of sunburned Gen-Xers. But for those with Silicon Valley money, a private party is never as much fun as one that can be seen by a crowd—and what is Burning Man if not a sprawling, arid social network, the Path of glamping?

The latest feature for rich attendees is not lifting a finger, perhaps echoing the on-demand sloth apps they're creating back home:

The rich are flown in on private planes, then picked up at the Burning Man airport, driven to their camp and served like kings and queens for a week. (Their meals are prepared by teams of chefs, which can include sushi, lobster boils and steak tartare — yes, in the middle of 110-degree heat.)

"Your food, your drugs, your costumes are all handled for you, so all you have to do is show up," Mr. Hanson said. "In the camp where I was working, there were about 30 Sherpas for 12 attendees."

There is truly nothing people from San Francisco cannot make worse.