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Letters to the Editor 

Week of September 11, 2002

Covering Fire

Just to be sure now -- you're talking control, right?: Lessley Anderson's recent piece, "Burning Spin" [Aug. 28], helped pull the shroud off some of Burning Man's media manipulations for those who may not be privileged to what happens behind the Wizard's curtain. But ... it's apparent that the key word in Black Rock City's current operating function is "control."

Control comes chiefly from Marian Goodell, who loves having power over everyone and everything in BRC. One has to wonder what would have happened if she and Larry Harvey hadn't started dating back in 1997. No one asked Marian to go on her crusade against the banal pseudo-pornographers who violate and desecrate the event and its participants. However, this does provide a convenient, unassailable justification for Marian's über-controlling ways.

Control also comes from Burning Man's Financial District lawyer. Nice view from up there. Just how does a nonprofit arts group afford the salary of such a tony attorney? I have to wonder exactly what "reduced rate" means in this instance.

Then there's Burning Man's control over both its participants and the expression they're allowed to realize. One by one the rules have risen since 1997, and not just to protect the participants from themselves. Those rules and judgments, such as what art is permitted in BRC and radical free expression's outer limits, are determined in line with what will make the most money for BM and generate the fewest potential controversies in the media. As such, Burning Man's overall relevance is kept safely within the realm of harmless diversion, quietly under the feet of the same elements that tame all other aspects of society.

Finally, there's the control over the image of Larry Harvey. I haven't seen such a cheesecake photo since one of my eighth-grade, white-trash ex-girlfriends went to a mall and had a portfolio done by Glamour Shots. No amount of diffusion filters can give Harvey what he doesn't have: vision or loyalty. Don't fear the Hat, ladies and gentlemen. He's just trying to realize what it's like to be the Bill Graham of the 21st century.

Paul David Addis
Nob Hill

Marinara or white wine sauce?: There's a saying in the world of publishing: Freedom of the press goes to the guy with the press. In this case, it's the Burning Man press, including Black Rock Gazette, Piss Clear, and any of the other internally circulated publications within the confines of Black Rock City. The outside world wishing to peer in -- press or other -- must abide upon entry to BRC by the Terms of Participation that every Black Rock City citizen has to, which are dictated by the community, for the community. Larry's party, Larry's rules. Period.

If the press doesn't like the rules, then they can just as well find something else to cover that allows them the freedom of access to the sensationalism they wish to cover. And everyone knows, there's plenty of that on the beaches of Miami. Go there, stay there, peace be with you.

At BRC the greedy press would likely be labeled "yahoos" -- and if you don't know what a "yahoo" is, just look at the people buying the tapes that Voyeur Video has disgracefully, illegally, and reprehensibly distributed. Remember folks, in a universe of karmic equilibrium, what goes around comes around: Voyeur Video will get what's coming to them, and all will witness from Voyeur's example not to mess with the privatized community at BRC.

This was written, by the way, by a first-time Burner. And yes, I've worked for a long time in the field of publishing. I also make great spaghetti; you should try some.

Peace, love, and playa dust.
gigsville alex
Pacific Heights

Missing Kitty

Actually, she preferred Stoli: I'm a huge fan of Hello Kitty and was sad to see the demise of my beloved cat in "Goodbye Kitty" [Puni, Aug. 28]. If only Sanrio saw the advantages of promoting Kitty doing wholesome things like shopping in the Marina, and going to fashionable bars drinking only Kitty wine. (There is such a thing.)

Grace Liu

Bye-Bye Bagel

And you say it like a true New Yorker: Re Jacqui's bagel longings ["A Few Good Bagels," Dog Bites, Aug. 28]: I spent 30 years in New York, 10 on the Upper West Side; I went to H&H often. House of Bagels is just as good.

Frankly, I don't think it's the bagels. It's that whole only-in-New-York, we-do-it-better arrogance thing. Except for cultural stuff -- museums, theater, classical music -- nothing is better in New York. Unless you're a millionaire, it's an unlivable place.

But ex-New Yorkers have to justify why they've spent their lives there. So they say it's the bagels. I say it's bullshit.

Bob Schneider
Richmond District


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