Thanks to Merritt for getting me all fired up about this.
Man, some people love to kill the joy of others, take this GUY for instance. Google Guy Farmer and it becomes immediately and painfully clear that he's an ultra conservative, which instantly puts my hackles up. As usual, this neo-con's arguments are full of hypocrisy. He claims that the previous Governor was a good one, yet the previous Governor had more important things to do than try to ban Burning Man (did he write letters to him asking him to ban Burning Man?). He refers to Burning Man as the "Burning Man naked drug festival", which is clearly a direct insult (hence my returning of the favor in this entry). As an 8 year Burning Man participant, I can honestly say that I see just as many people (if not more) in Reno who are visibly inebriated and oftentimes violent at "Hot August Nights" than at Burning Man. Worst of all, if Guy has ever had a glass of wine, a shot of whisky, a Valium, an aspirin, or ANY other drug, he has no right to say anything. Drugs are drugs period. If you've ever taken drugs, you have NO right to tell anyone else what they can or cannot do (assuming they are a consenting adult), otherwise you're just a hypocrite. Look up this article and tell me it's not the "just say no" days all over again. Particularly egregious are Guy's assertions that weed causes car accidents; in nearly all cases, the people charged were also drunk on ALCOHOL. I'm not advocating that people EVER drive when inebriated with ANY substance, I'm just pointing out that using people's poor judgement doesn't help build a case against marijuana. We tried banning alcohol, and look where that got us. Amsterdam has less marijuana usage than the U.S does, and it's legal there. Hmm.... Also, the idea that Marijuana is a "gateway" drug has long since been proven false. Also, what's so bad about being naked? Guy Farmer is naked under his clothes too!
The part that gets me most heated, enraged actually, is the claim that;
"... drugs aren't the worst of it because young children are present as naked "free spirits" cavort on the desert playa in what looks like child abuse."
I have a 2.5 year old son, and I would bring him to Black Rock city in a heartbeat if I thought he could handle the living conditions (heat, dust, dust storms, very low humidity, pervasive lack of silence within city proper). What I'm NOT worried about is him seeing naked people. Hell, the kid hardly wants to wear clothes himself. Protecting him from inappropriate sexual situations is important and my duty as a parent, which is of course why Burning Man doesn't allow people under the age of 18 to attend unless they are emancipated minors or are accompanied by an adult. In the old days of the event, this wasn't enforced, but with the current regulations placed on Burning Man by the State and Federal government w/ regards to oversight, the number of "illegal minors" is minimal. I've seen young people be turned away from bars repeatedly in BRC and even gently turned away from child inappropriate events. Burning Man is far more of a community that Carson City could ever claim to be these days. I've never once walked through Carson City and had a local resident even greet me, much less offer me cookies, milk, water, juice, beer, hugs or even hardly a smile. Black Rock City is the nicest, friendliest, generally happiest city I've ever been to, which is 50% of why I can't stop going back every year. Guy's assertions that BRC has no "family values" couldn't be farther from the mark, further reinforcing my assertion that Guy has never been to Black Rock City.
"I don't think this is what Congress had in mind when it designated the Black Rock Desert as a National Conservation Area."
Burning Man was taking place in the Black Rock Desert for 9 years before the area was designated a National Conservation Area. Burning Man is the LARGEST Leave-No-Trace event in the world, and it's continued license to operate is largely contingent on the event not adversely effecting the BRD. Burning Man 's cleanup effort is unparalleled within the event industry, leaving the area cleaner each year. Burning Man has also brought increased prosperity to the residents of Gerlach, Empire, Nixon, Wadsworth, Reno and Winnemucca. The influx of nearly 40,000 people creates it's own set of problems, yet it also brings in large amounts of capital for the state of Nevada. Burning Man participants have raised money for local schools and charities, further increasing their contribution to the communities it effects by it's presence.
Most blatantly offensive to me is that Guy claims to be a semi-retired "journalist". My idea of "journalism" doesn't include adding your own opinion to your reporting. That's what "blogging" was created for; opinions have no place in mainstream journalism. Granted, his "open letter" appears in the Nevada Appeal OPINIONS section, but I wonder if his reputation as a "journalist" influenced the opinions editor into publishing it.... would my complete obscurity be a factor if I submitted a condensed version of this blog entry as a rebuttal? Probably, but that's what blogging is for, it's here for all to see.
CURRENT MUSIC: Rush, A Show of Hands, Closer to the Heart; punctuated throughout w/ the sweet sounds of our chop saw and dust collector...