BLACK ROCK CITY, NV — Burning Man — that semi-clothed, ecstasy-fueled manifestation of radical self-expression, do-it-yourself art and self-reliance — will not be held this year for the first time since its inception in 1986. Held annually in the barren desert of northwestern Nevada, organizers have decided that the uncertainties of the Coronavirus pandemic made even a late August date untenable for 2020.
What started as a singular attempt to create a cathartic gathering of wounded, creative souls culminating each year in the burning of an effigial “man” had morphed over the years into a wealthy hipster horror show of excess and over-the-top theme camps. Where bare-bones encampments heavy on sex and art had once dominated the festival, in recent years the emphasis had evolved into air-conditioned luxury accommodations populated by all manner of wannabe hanger-ons with more money than brains.
What was once a few hundred souls in the desert had, by last year, grown into a media-crazed event of over 70,000 attendees, with little of the real weirdness that marked the first 15 or so years of Burning Man. In typical millennial fashion, any soul or sincerity had been EDM’ed and bought out of existence, replaced by a typical 20-something emphasis on “influence” and materialism.
Even with the promise of full refunds, it seems apparent that the current denizens of the festival couldn’t give a flying fuckola whether an official event is actually held or not. As long as they can show their hard-to-get tickets to jealous friends, most pre-paid attendees seem oblivious to the cancellation of the actual event.
“We don’t have to go the the desert? Thank fucking GOD,” said a relieved Ashley Lipbalmer, 23, of Los Altos Hills, California. “We went last year, and the hot water in the camp was LUKEWARM! I got sand in my hair, and the food was ewwwww. They had meat.” Asked whether she cared if a refund was forthcoming, Lipbalmer admitted that “Daddy doesn’t care. He only notices Visa transactions over ten grand.”
Queried about the once-hallowed “ten principles” that defined participation in Burning Man, Josh Fistfucker, 24, of Shaker Heights, Ohio pleaded ignorance. “We had two principals in high school, and that was only because Mr. Rabinowitz had a nervous breakdown during eleventh grade. I have no idea who the other eight might be.” Corrected by a reporter about his apparent confusion between “principals” and “principles,” Josh replied, “I’m in grad school at Cal Tech. I know lots of stuff, but WTF are ‘principles’?” Josh added that “the boomers who started this shit think it’s some weird-ass metaphysical thing. But Burning Man, as all the cool kids know, is about dubstep and meth. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
Asked what he might do instead of attending Burning Man, Tyler Flemhorker, 26, of Scarsdale, New York offered that he didn’t think things would be all that different this year. “I never saw the desert last year,” said Flemhorker. “We flew to Reno, had a smoke outside the terminal at the airport there, and that was the last time time we saw ‘outside.’ I hate outside, so not actually going to the desert won’t really change things all that much for me. Hey, it’ll still be great.”