To me, the fundamental idea of the event is that we’ve become divorced from the act of creation and civic participation due to being enmeshed in a highly commodified, transactional society and that it’s worth trying to address that. Most people can’t use a torque-driver or recognize a turnbuckle. But people can learn, and when they get involved in build projects or camps out there they do. They start trying. It’s amateur art hour write very large, but the beauty of it is how many people start trying to make something of their own, sometimes with amazing results.
The event is flawed as hell and always has been, but it remains an astounding expression of labor devoted to the amateur’s search for meaning through creation. It’s art will never appeal to the traditional critic who worries more about the statement of art than it’s artifact. They can look down their noses at the idealism of those who thought to try to make something for once, instead of leaving the important job of art to those who know better, who have the right ideals, the right politics, the right message. We’re going to continue to do carpentry, to make circuit boards, to write software, and to teach others to get involved in the art of trying.
Every year there are articles about how Burning Man has 'lost' or is 'done'. Every year its still there, inspiring a new generation of these articles.
"The event is flawed as hell and always has been" is my new response to people who are consider going and worry they missed the party
Yeah, I wonder what the earliest article about that is. I did a brief search for the decline of Burning Man found a Wired article from 1997 (and of course numerous people talking about the decline later, like this blog post from 2004).
It reminds me of all those "I'm 13, is it too late for me to start learning programming/body building/learning the guitar/studying Japanese/etc." type posts. If you don't do something you're interested in because you think its too late, there's a good chance that a decade later you'll be kicking yourself for not having done it.
A proverb I remind myself of regularly:
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Including the times when I look out my window and wish my sapling was a bit older.
The older I get, the harder it is to accept being bad and new at things, and it's a constant fight to remind myself that it's okay to suck.
Pretty much every year between then and when I last went (in '14) there were new rules which people claimed "ruined the evnt forever!!!" - in '99 Steve couldn't run The Drive-By Shooting Gallery again because they banned guns. Erin's camp stopped being allowed to use theirliquid fuelled flamethrowers in around '03 or '04. The Lawrence Livermore Labs guys got told they couldn't bring their big lasers out and paint animations on the mountain range in '10 or so... But at the same time, there was always some amazing new thing to see. I don't regret any of my trips out there. I still plan to get back there again one day.
Seeing this in city after city across the USA as well.
Formerly affordable cities used to grow, attract and keep artists and ground-up, bootsrapped creatives in business. This made these "B-list" cities a cultural hub and (for search of a better word) "cool".
Wealthy people (many of whom were silver-spooned trustafarians) started venturing into the "cool" parties/scenes, loved the culture like everyone else there did — except they moved in and gentrified the city (some with good intentions and many others who didn't give a shit). Some (if not most) of these wealthy people just couldn't truly relate to the prevailing, scrappy culture and didn't really contribute anything to the dynamic and basically killed it. Only the cultural reputation remained and was kept as a corporate marketing ploy, but the core substance of the city (its working class creatives) were unceremoniously and tragically removed.
The artists and truly bootstrapped creatives can no longer afford to live directly in the city, so they move to the run-down industrial outskirts. The city becomes sanitized, gains a lot of national corporate chain conformity and loses a lot of local, novel culture that made it attractive in the first place.
Next thing you know, the industrial area becomes the cultural center and the "hip", cool place to hang out is at artsy, underground events and parties within the area.
The wealthy, of course, end up there because it's the "cool" place to be. While they're there, they eyeball the industrial spaces as future fancy, high-ceiling lofts they can gentrify. They kill off the affordable spaces and the artists and creatives are now left with no where to go but leave the metro area entirely or become another corporate working stiff with no time for art and risky creative endeavors involving small business.
That's where we are today and some of the last stragglers are jamming themselves into dangerous, crowded situations that led to the horrific fire at the CA space (in my opinion).
Moral of the story is many (not all) trustafarians suck the life out of good things because they were raised in such a way that they can't possibly relate to working people or even care to do so.
I'm not sure there's an easy answer to this short of a revolution of sorts where working people unite and demand a more level playing field instead of gross inequality and corporate greed.
That's why I support organizations such as the Justice Democrats and things such as single-payer healthcare. I don't want equality of outcome, just more equality of opportunity. I think that's healthy for society and for a culture that produces more makers instead of mere consumers. The path we're on now is unhealthy and downright dangerous. It's got to change or we're headed toward misery for all of us (including the trustafarians down the road).
But I also can't help but think that it ascribes an unnecessary purity of purpose/intent to the "working people" of the city.
Do they think they have common cause with the "working people" of a rust belt town or exurb? Do they (or for that matter, the trustafarians) think the rust belt iron worker's lifestyle or neighborhood is hip and cool?
Oh, I guess the grapes are too sour eh! ;)
There are lots of ways people try to address the problems of our "highly commodified, transactional society" within their own communities, where everyone is capable of participating. For some reason, however, many of the people I know that go to Burning Man, and many of the kinds of people that typically do go, are never involved in those kinds of local organising initiatives...
It would be nice if these ideals about art were more commonly expressed and engaged with in the areas where they are really sorely needed, rather than in a remote place that people need to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get to and be in.
Humans are more inclined to be altruistic to their in-group, and to see their in-group as 'everyone'. Often without noticing. Burning man is, to some people, a very important ingroup, because they feel that the larger social environment has not provided them with that psychological support they need - people they identify with and share their values. Important enough to traipse from all over the world to the middle of nowhere to be a part of it.
This may or may not be actually the case - perhaps the perception of it is in part what makes the reality. It is, IMHO, what caused it's initial resonance and success; it was real at one point, for many participants.
So, it's not realistic to expect these personal needs for community to be transferable to just anywhere, unless that other community is also able to meet those needs.
I'm positing that people don't go to burning man inherently to do good - they do it for themselves, and that includes the giving and sharing, in the support of a community they identify with.
What you just described is the actual altruism.
Let's leave out a few words to get something more universal:
"People don't inherently do good - they do things for themselves, and that includes giving and sharing in the support of a community they identify with."
I've never been to a burn but I do agree with these diagnoses about the shortcomings of our society. I also make efforts in my community to confront these problems and it is a whole lot harder to change things than just going out and partying in the desert. I have no problem with people going out and partying but I don't think people should be claiming that it is much more than just that - a party.
There are lots of things people can do in their communities. You don't have to do any of them to burn the man.
I think Burning Man participants should use their skills to build public showers for the homeless encampments along the sidewalks of San Francisco.
We can argue about what does and doesn't encompass the values of something like Burning Man, but I think that's clearly outside the spirit of the festival; and it's a festival where spirit and values are deemed important. If they wanted to get dirty, and rough it out, I don't think anyone would have a problem. It's the idea of fiefdoms forming with lords and servants, and the event turning into an expensive theme park for the rich that's so offensive.
>>can't afford to take time off work and trek across the country to go camping in the desert
if they work hard enough.
But no, the figure in your reference is paid vacation. These people ostensibly take non-paid days off.
I expect most Burning Man attendees are not getting paid to attend, and that's a strange bar to set.
Plenty of real-world reasons to be able-bodied and NOT being able to attend some desert party on a whim.
I'm arguing against the idea that "any able-bodied person" can attend Burning Man, or events like it. Lots of healthy people cannot afford to attend events like that, for multiple reasons.
What's toxic is unreflecting statements that proclaim general truths for everybody.
But let's ignore that, because the main point was that it's not that easily affordable if you just "work hard enough" - and in your cost estimation, you're conveniently forgetting the ticket fee of $425.
And not everybody can afford to quit their job in hopes they have another one when they come back. I'm glad it's worked out for you, but let's stop pretending it's this giant egalitarian thing available to all.
it's really alarming that you believe this
I deeply grateful for this.
The open invite for participation and collaboration on a large scale is another wonderful aspect.
Wouldn't mind reading an article on that, if you ever feel like writing it :)
That didn't stop the Smithsonian from trying to take it "seriously", nor the Art World from objecting to that. Perhaps weirdly, I applaud both things, because as far as I can tell you're right about what the point of BM art is.
(I am one of the few? many? people to have never attended Burning Man, but to have contributed to its art. I'm probably biased and ill-informed, but I like your take on it.)
: Argh! Can't find it online but IIRC either Frieze or Flash Art had a pretty on-point takedown of the show from the "serious art" point of view.
Heh, I've used these things a lot when building garden wire supports for plants, but I never knew their name!
I appreciate your take on the event.
Why is a physical space needed for this? Wouldn't it be immensely more efficient to have a forum where you teach everyone how to type <ctrl-shift-c> in their browser to inflate the work shed hidden there?
Throwing a web animation to slowly rotate Google's search page around for eternity seems a way more practical expression of the reach of the power of human creativity than giving random people torque-drivers and turnbuckles.
It's also less of a risk if those people happen to be high at the time.
Also, there's no practical attack where highway patrol can show up and throttle the forum traffic to generate quick cash by arresting all the stoners.
I seriously cannot tell if you are trolling or not. "Helping to build a sculpture-cum-shelter out in the desert" is worlds away from "making someone else's webpage rotate".
And making a physical thing is a very different feeling from making a digital thing. I make comics and put them online; I also print them, and there is a lot more satisfaction in having a book I can put on my shelf and say "I made this" than a webpage I can point to. The book will probably survive me longer than the webpage, which vanishes up to a year after the account set up to auto-renew the domain and hosting runs out of money.
> Also, there's no practical attack where highway patrol can show up and throttle the forum traffic to generate quick cash by arresting all the stoners.
True dat. There's also a buttload of smaller Burns in various places that haven't gotten big enough to be as much of a tempting target.
Why does art have to be programming art? Why do they have to be learning about computers?
>They can look down their noses at the idealism of those who thought to try to make something for once, instead of leaving the important job of art to those who know better, who have the right ideals, the right politics, the right message.
Isn't this just "looking down your nose" at someone who wants to build sheds instead of messing about in chrome dev tools?
But my observations were:
* Any single characterization of an event that is partly defined by its city-sized number of participants is going to be incomplete.
* There's a variety of different experiences to be found there. Chances are good you can find an experience to your liking.
* There's better chance that you can bring an experience to your liking, and as in other situations, a lot of what you get out of it related to what you put in. If I go back, I'm mostly likely to do so as part of a camp that's doing something I'm excited about. The blank-canvas aspect of it might be the most interesting part.
* Among other things, it's a pop-up art festival in the middle of a particularly dusty lake bed with lots of interesting pieces, some of building-sized scale. No matter what else is going on, if you're into art, chances are good you will like this (unless you also hate camping and don't prepare for that).
* To whatever extent specific norms and stated values are different than mainstream, people are still people. You can expect to see some of the best on display and some things that are disappointing.
Is it still "in its prime" or is it "over"? Have the values been commodified or sold out? I don't know. I think the questions that matter to the average person thinking of going are whether it's still interesting to you, and what values you're going to try to bring to it. I don't know if I brought enough to the time I went, but I'm glad I did it, and under the right circumstances, I'd do it again.
But that's part of the meme, just as much as Burning Man's principles invite the criticism
The founding members weren't serious about "radical self reliance" as their congregation now repeats without practicing
Its also more of a heroin hit for these people, the second hits will never be as good as the first, but its still the first hit for everyone else.
The expense also invites the criticism, it is ironic and funny. Wage workers can't take a week and a half off for burning AND have another vacation somewhere else that year, and thats if they can rationalize the cost to begin with. So it invites quirky tech CEOs and socialites and DJs, along side the actual counterculture people who barely have a social security number. For a festival in an inhospitable environment that prides itself on decommodification, it is ALWAYS going to have criticism.
SEE YA THERE! :D
Perhaps you misunderstand. I did not mean that those old-timers complained about Burning Man today and said it was passé. Some of them have not even gone again since that era two decades ago. But simply talking to a 1990s participant and a more recent participant about what they remember of the event reveals details of logistics, close-knitness, and interaction with the outside world that tell me that I would find the event much less enjoyable these days than if I had been able to participate in the 1990s.
Some of that crowd does to the area on the 4th of July week now. They say its more like how it used to be
And so is this reply. Essentially any event that has substantially changed from its original form/intent has this conversational pattern:
Old participant: "$event is past it's prime now."
New participant: "Everyone says that, but $event is still popular, and I like it, so they're wrong."
Of the two opinions, only the one from the old participant carries information about how things have changed. Whether this is relevant to a new participant is debatable, but it's certainly relevant to conversations where people try to sell a mass-market event as a niche experience.
but lets look at the article itself: why is it even written? because it transformed to being more of “the hippest party around” instead of “true experiment in intentional creative community”, despite maintaining both of those experiences for everyone that attends?
I casually hear all of the disdain towards the concept of burning man, and it mostly comes down to the contrived concept which themselves only stand out because of the costs necessary to get there
this festival in particular invites it, and I enjoy the privilege of being able to go
There were people already saying "it's not cool any more" even in the 90s. That was in fact how I first heard about Burning Man, due to someone complaining about it not being cool anymore, around 97 or so. Very likely people have pretty much always said it.
It's like the old joke about how the first car race happened the day someone built the second car:
Q: When did someone first say Burning Man wasn't cool any more?
A: The day after the second Burning Man.
If you will please refer to my post above, that has nothing to do with what I was talking about. Obviously any social scene is going to have people complaining it isn’t cool any more compared to years past. But I find that by talking to early participants, ones who don’t expressly complain like that, you can still make your own conclusion that the event now may not be as satisfying or worthwhile as in earlier years.
Is everyone in the advertising business supposed to love making adverts?
Especially since so many people never get to escape. I know plenty of people who never have had a vacation, and may very well die without ever having a day off from work and life and stress.
We're only - conscience? - for so long. It's sad if anyone laments that they only ever truly feel alive for ~2% of that time. If you want to feel alive, you don't need a major vacation or escape to do so. Or, at least, I posit that you don't. Do you not feel alive hanging out in the neighborhood park (or wherever) with your friends? Or does that feeling only come from a designated vacation campground?
One of the big reasons why gaming is as big as it is is because it provides that kind of larger-than-life atmosphere, pretty much on tap.
How much does it cost to learn to sail? If you take a Yachtmaster Offshore course, it'll cost you somewhere in the region of $15,000. If you show up at any marina and look keen, someone in need of crew will take you on board and show you the ropes for free. Many people have sailed around the world at almost no cost by crewing on other people's boats.
How much does a sailing boat cost? A brand new 50 footer with all the trimmings will cost you upwards of $400,000. You can buy a rough little boat and properly fit it out for bluewater sailing for about $20,000. It'll be ugly, it'll be cramped, it'll have faded gelcoat and threadbare upholstery, but it'll safely take you across oceans. That's not a trivial sum of money, but it's well within reach of most skilled professionals. If you look after it, you'll be able to sell it for close to what you paid for it.
What are your other costs? Mainly food, running repairs and mooring fees. If you want to do everything in five-star luxury, expect to spend about $80,000 over the course of a circumnavigation. If you don't mind sleeping at anchor and eating from dented cans, you could easily circumnavigate for under $8,000 - less if you avoid the Panama Canal.
There's a widespread belief - particularly in America - that adventurous lifestyles are the exclusive domain of the gratuitously wealthy. The reality is very different, especially if you're young, childless and have marketable skills. Even if you're none of those things, your options are far wider than you might imagine as long as you're willing to think creatively and live modestly.
Certainty, and minimizing risk is expensive, but accepting the opposite can open up a lot of opportunities.
You can't skip over the cost (both time and money) of learning to sail, though. It's not a cheap hobby, though you might get lucky and find someone to take you on for free.
Having a boat and crew large enough, comfortable and capable enough to sail the open ocean is really the hard part, but you can get most of the pleasure while avoiding that.
I think capitalism is sad, I think society is sad. I think it's unnecessary. I think it's sad that in reading this sentiment, there will be people that will reflexively scoff at me for my communist, hippy ideals. "Happiness, you fool! You have to WORK for a living?" "You want communism, why don't you move to VIETNAM and tell me how it's working out!" I need to work to pay a cell phone bill and my world of warcraft subscription. I don't need to work to stay alive. I've gathered berries before, it's not so bad. As 3d printing and solar energy gathering/storage techs get better, the idea of "working" (generating value for your local billionaire) is going to become sillier and sillier.
The fact that these people seem completely incapable of understanding how to live the life they want more than 1 week a year is astounding. If you want to be naked, spin fire, drink and do drugs with your friends while listening to mixes of house and world music, get a back yard with a tall fence and go to town.
More and more I find myself being really glad that I work in software, where flexible working hours and companies that try to offer something to their employees (because there's actual competition) are more common than in many other fields I guess.
That's probably the MDMA comedown, to be honest.
I'm not trying to pick an argument, or imply most people are emotionally dead inside, but _come on_. You really gotta take an expression about enjoying an escaping from the humdrum of day-to-day life and use it to snark about a person's entire existence?
If your friends are part of any theme camps then they might have events going on throughout the year; there's a burner scene and hanging out with them certainly builds anticipation.
In my mind it's turned into a side gag from HBO's Silicon Valley, where entitled tech bros throw money at plug-and-play camps in the hopes of seeing world famous DJs play unannounced sets, so they can post selfies on Instagram.
It's all of that and also none of that. It's the most exhausting vacation.
Having a spectacular, out of the world location was always important with 'rave', this could be the grandeur of the great outdoors or an illegally occupied premium site, e.g. the council's own offices rigged with 40K of sound with the place completely off limits for the authorities.
To some degree, whether in town or in remote countryside there was always an aspect of squatting to a true 'rave' event. Even if a venue was legit, e.g. a farm with the farmer being in on the deal, there would be laws, neighbours and active policing with searches. Once inside the autonomous zone life was lived with a very different, trusting 'security model' of community. There was an alternative world there, the same thing Burning Man attendees go to seek but get a ritualised, pastiche of.
In time the law banned 'repetitive beats' and people got old. The dance music that was a big part of 'rave' did live on in the commercialised club scene and with DJs doing legit concert style events, nowadays to fill stadiums. The 'rave' free party scene died along with the ability to temporarily live 'free' from a world of conventional law and order.
Burning Man might not be ideal and far too American for the tastes of many however it offers the illusion of being able to live in that way the UK free party scene offered. Even if it is more akin to an organised festival you can at least pretend that you are living as a 'free man'. Maybe Burning Man can only ever offer a glimpse at the ideals that it is supposed to be about just because there has to be some organisation rather than it being utterly spontaneous. This matters not, Burning Man is established as its own thing and it has been that way since the end of the beach party scene it inherited.
My friend who went to early ones and said his role was "armed postal worker" said they were pretty boring because lots of business people tried to make it a scalable festival quickly, and that the only fun part of it was Mutant Fest, which happened the week before Burning Man opened (at least, historically, I think it still exists).
Mutant Fest was just people driving around in fucked up cars shooting guns playing heavy metal.
The purpose of Burning Man, and a burn in general, is to participate. If you're not participating, there is no purpose to Burning Man. This creates a good deal of the confusion and indifference to the event by spectators, and the world at large.
When I talk to people who go, most of them seem to suggest it’s still an amazing place. I guess it largely depends on who you are. I really dislike the society we’ve built. It feels too focused on work (I live in the Bay Area) and not enough on community. So burning man sounds ideal for me, it’s just been scheduling issues that have so far prevented me from going.
Anyway, I just wanted to point out that apparently these articles come up every year. Take them with a grain of salt.
Edit: here’s the article.
His mother and her BM crew make some of the big art you see pictures of every year.
They think it's still great.
Usually when you bring this up they'll say "it's worth it" for all the other ideals. But irrefutably it's still a fake ideal, which calls into question the authenticity of all of them.
For people who don’t party, they get a chance to decompress and live at a different pace.
As an old school massive promoter in SF/SoCal and CO, it’s great it comes back year after year! Time to one up the previous!
There was IMO and experience genuinely something special (I won't say unique, but probably... unique) there, which is now vestigial. Still discoverable but at a time, in some strata of the event, all but axiomatic.
I would describe that special thing as an emergent aspirational culture of techno-utopianism made possible by expending profound resources in the service of simulating (creating if you like, temporarily) an environment best described as "plenty."
Much about our culture is defined by axiomatic scarcity, from which competition emerges.
The thing that made me keep going back was the recurring experience of an inverted order, in which a uniquely large scale collaborative game was being played, in which the rules were changed. Lots of rules. This created open social space and possibility. Guards went down and spontanaeity blossomed. Altruism and kindness and generosity were, quite often, emergent.
This was of course highly imperfect in a very long list of ways. And there were of course as always, bad actors, bad experiences, and a shadow side.
But that does not diminish the power of experiencing the potential of existing in a culture in which the competitive instinct can be harnessed to drive collective rather than individual benefit.
Many aspects of the now ossified and largely ignored "precepts" attempted to define and explain the constituent aspects which made this emergent culture function. A fools' errand but an absolutely necessary one in the face of massive growth and the encroachment of the outside rules.
Many (most all) cultures have some sort of time-out-of-time in which traditional norms are suspended. It's a pressure valve and a laboratory in which the culture can tinker.
I consider myself unspeakably blessed to have lived in SF at a moment when my culture and generation experimented at this scale, thanks to the (at the time permanent-seeming) very temporary apex of the post-Cold War internet boom, when the Bay was still a meeting point between a lot of very creative, very iconoclastic people, and, suddenly, a f--k ton of money and resources.
We still have the latter, and it shows in the preposterous scale of very cool vanity projects on the playa now.
But we are in a much much darker moment historically and generally, the culture of the Bay is now within the event horizon of money and conventional rules of power.
I still have fun when I go, and there is still idealism.
But the safety, risk taking, collaborative play from a smaller city and the sense of fellow travelers who frankly were a lot more freakish and non-normal than attend now, lives on only in individual interactions and nooks and crannies.
It's still the background radiation shows, and to the extent the "precepts" are pursued, still leads to magic.
And it's still a great gathering of freaks, and celebration of potential.
Still worth it IMO if you can find the right people.
Never expect to see something ignite at that scale again in my lifetime. For a while Occupy had potential to be something more. Ah well.
It's simple but I really do have this kind of emergent, creative, slightly anarchist experience in every day life simply by stepping out the front door. As long as I have the presence of mind to recognize myself in someone else (and empathy, and genuine other-love with that self-love) something fantastic will happen, something strange that changes me and others.
Other than this I really don't know what you're saying about burning man, but I think the concept as I understand it can flourish under modern city-conditions, maybe only in such conditions. There never will be a time when the dam isn't about to burst, unless it already has and we're in that moment of filling up again. That's what's wonderful, there is no permanence. That essential property underlies everything, there is nothing to worry about, no potential lost just funneled elsewhere. Maybe when people recognize this they won't go looking for love at burning man. I'm sure it's still worth it for the surrealism.
edit: and you can't get by on just a feeling and a quick session of analysis.
The closest comparison I have in my own life is what it's like when you're somewhat self-aware and find yourself in a culture where the social norms and expectations are different.
In the case of my own experience at BM, I consistently found a hybrid synthesized culture which clearly emerged from the people who chose to be there and put themselves 'out', but also, transcended any particular subculture or precursor.
I used to randomly encounter and take long walks with another artist who'd started going around the same time, and a recurring topic for us was what happened when the ravers colonized.
My take was that if it was a choice between them and their MDMA-fueled energy, and the much darker FSU punk acid/speed/alcohol faction which was the primary counterbalance for a long time, I'd take the ravers.
But that changed thing and dilluted the weird equilibrium and skewed it a lot more towards "conventional" (sic) rave culture. Which is a fine thing but not the same exactly.
Yet a different take would be to simply observe that never and nowhere have I experienced what it means to live in a city for a week, year after year after year, which is intentionally constructed by and for and populated by a lot of people who take their psychedelic experience seriously (c.f. Pollan's Changing Your Mind). That sounds hokey or derisively dismissible, and it absolutely meant a lot of superficial edges which were...
...but it also created a social space that is truly a foreign place, not least, when it's inhabited not for a night or a weekend but for a week or more.
Totally unsustainable, under the requirements of current civilization, and not advisable IMO even if it were.
But as a place to suspend the norms for a week and be reminded that this is all of it a collaborative consensual construction and what we assert as "normal" is merely the artifact of our own limitations and historical moment?
Unspeakably valuable and unique in my experience...
For myself I'd say that back in the day, I had the luxury born mostly of historical blind luck of going to that event and seeing it blow up, when for a brief period it really seemed both like we were over a hump, as a civilization, and things were going to get better (for all), and we in SV were right there making it happen.
That naive optimism married to the de rigeur aggressive curiosity, monomanaical focus and work ethic, intelligence, and growing affluence of the boom times, really defined how things scaled up.
Fast forward to today. SF is again in the midst of profound inequality and cultural shift; an industry which collectively seemed headed towards doing no evil is now beset by endless . scandal for ethically dubious behavior; the current boom has been defined publicly, accurately or not, as identified with a cavalier contempt for the interests of the commons...
...and the political moment is much much darker.
Not just in the industry, or the Trump years; also things like Occupy and BLM and our various neocon fabricated military excursions have reminded everyone at some deep level, things are not actually getting inevitably better, have never been getting better for _all_, are really broken in lots of ways; and now we are more divided than ever...
I think all of this inevitably translates through the preconditions into BM as much as anything.
TLDR it's only able to be a distillation of what's brought into it, which has changed.
Today I personally wrestle with whether it is "OK" to go indulge myself in escapism, when [ so much ] is going wrong.
It is, if it makes life worth living; but that's a different thing than not having to even ask the question.
(A wiser older me recognizes those questions were always there, but there was a giddy moment in which they were collectively disregarded in favor of self-serving but well-meaning optimism.)
Ideal, and idyllic, things often seem to be ruined by popularity (and the commercial or other exploitation popularity brings?).
See "overtourism" as another example (and somewhat related).
What is the carbon footprint of this festival?
They should rephrase that to "Leaving no visible trace"
It's not without criticism.