August 23, 2014

The Ashes Formerly Known as “Man:” Light-Hearted Reflections on Burning Man. ~ Steven Budden

burning man

Burning Man is this week.

I’ve never been, and I have a few questions.
Two obvious ones:
First, why is it a man?
Secondly, why is he burning?

‘Burning Man’ is oddly gender specific.
The only way I can swallow it is to pretend it represents the ‘burning away of patriarchal structures.’
Or is it ‘Man’ as in ‘The Dawn of Man.’
Which is obviously patriarchal.
What about ‘Burning Person?’
Oh but there’s still the violence in it; the burning.
What about calling it ‘Person, Extinguished Now Is Safe’
Or P.e.n.i.s.

That might get to the heart of the issue without all the violence.
Or ’The Ashes formerly known as ‘Man’?
I guess that’s stepping into the future.
But the Burning Man is a perennial ritual.
Ever present.

If it’s an effigy, a symbolic, continual burning away of the past, why a man again?
Would ‘Burning Woman’ be too incendiary? Probably.
If it’s the fires of passion, call it Burning Woman.
The burning woman burns the man.
That is, her passion, her power incinerates the patriarchal structure.
Out of her passion, she births the new world’s men.
What about Burning Man, Woman.

‘We’re going to BMW this week.’
‘Why, are you buying a luxury car?’
‘No we’re participating in an event that doesn’t believe in commodification.’
‘How much were the tickets?’
‘How much did you spend to get there?’
‘Two grand.’

Ah Burning Man.
That just rolls off the tongue.
“Burning Person. Burning People.” Not as much.

What about just ‘Person?’
Why does everything have to be burning, burning, burning to make any headway in this world?
It’s because of people, burning people.

It’s all quite outrageous, really.

Anyway, the point is, we’re going there Wednesday to see what all the fuss is about.

I’m inclined to wear my own clothes, but I think I’m supposed to dress like someone from Mad Max for some reason.

I suspect to symbolize that I’m on the ‘Fringes of Society.’

So I may wear leather straps of some kind. Possibly with a t shirt.



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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: elephant archives

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Steven Budden