Burning Man vs. Straw Man

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By Steven T. Jones
I was glad to see both the Chronicle and SF Weekly this week give some ink to the story I wrote last week on the lawsuits among the three founders of Burning Man. Or at least I would be happy if the Weekly's Matt Smith was such a sneering, bitter, deceptive tool. I've never understood the disdain Smith has for San Francisco or why he'd want to live somewhere he so abhors. And I've never been terribly impressed with his skills or integrity as a journalist. But it was still surprising to see him reduce Burning Man to a cult worshipping Larry Harvey (half the people who go have never heard of Harvey, and most of the other half still goes in spite of him rather than out of some vague sense of reverence), although it was certainly convenient to the ridiculously illogical straw man argument that he makes (although I'm still baffled with his conclusion of trying to equate Cachophony Society culture jamming with opening the Burning Man name and icons up to corporate exploitation). And just to destroy any last shred of credibility and respectability that Smith might have retained, he had to equate Black Rock City with Nazi Germany, lying about the event's supposed columned boulevards to make this ludicrous point. Puh-leeze.

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