Over the counter culture

Labor Day weekend in San Francisco is always fairly quiet because all the cool kids have packed their fur-covered beach cruisers, art projects and drug collections into their gas guzzling SUV’s with “No Blood For Oil!” bumper stickers and caravaned over to Black Rock Desert, Nevada, for the annual non-conformist, anti-capitalist, pro-anarchist, pro-nudity, post-modern, pre-Armageddon “art” and pyrotechnics festival/solstice counter-culture extravaganza known as Burning Man.

If you missed my derision in the previous sentence, allow me to elaborate. The Burning Man festival is at once the best illustration of a good idea gone bad and the most hilarious example of hypocrisy ever generated by the so-called counter-culture since the Grateful Dead franchise.

Before I clown it, I should give those who are unfamiliar with it a primer. Burning Man is a gathering in the Nevada desert that started in San Francisco many years ago as a celebration of the solstice. The name, Burning Man, comes from the big wooden effigy of a man that is torched at the end of the week each year. (This year it was burned early, which I discuss below.) The organizers and participants (no spectators!) like to float around phrases like “radical inclusion,” “radical self-reliance,” and my personal favorite “decommodification.” The description posted on the Burning Man website is fairly informative:

[The participants of Burning Man] make the journey to the Black Rock Desert for one week out of the year to be part of an experimental community, which challenges its members to express themselves and rely on themselves to a degree that is not normally encountered in one’s day-to-day life. The result of this experiment is Black Rock City, home to the Burning Man event.

There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event (save the rules that serve to protect the health, safety, and experience of the community at large); rather, it is up to each participant to decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community. By the time the event is completed and the volunteers leave, sometimes nearly a month after the event has ended, there will be no trace of the city that was, for a short time, the most populous town in the entire county. Art is an unavoidable part of this experience, and in fact, is such a part of the experience that Larry Harvey, founder of the Burning Man project, gives a theme to each year, to encourage a common bond to help tie each individual’s contribution together in a meaningful way. Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive, whether it is through a large-scale art installation, a theme camp, gifts brought to be given to other individuals, costumes, or any other medium that one comes up with.

Over time, the festival has grown in magnitude and intent, and with it the effigy has grown from an 8′ tall little fellow to a monstrous 40+ foot giant. The population of Burning Man has grown from an initial small group in Baker beach in the 1980s to over 40,000 this past year. Most descriptions of Burning Man fall short, and most gloss over the details with a wave of the hand and a snooty “you really won’t understand unless you attend.” Despite its inherent condescension, I would have to agree with the statement. When I attended in 1999, it was definitely a challenge to explain it to friends and family when I returned.

I’m enamored by the idea of Burning Man. I appreciate the need to re-evaluate how we go about our daily lives, how we interact with one another, and what brings us together into communities and cities. As I wrote in an article for Snap Pop! Magazine in 1999, “The entire city built here, complete with a department of public works, airport, ranger department, newspaper, pirate radio station and civic infrastructure, is not built to host pure bacchanalia. It is a new, temporary city not built for profit, voyeurism or self-indulgence. It is a city built for art, and that’s a mighty fine idea.”

It turns out that I was wrong about some of that – one of the purposes of the city is to host pure bacchanalia; the company Burning Man LLC, that puts on the burn every year, is enormously profitable, and the community (and sorry to all the people who go to Burning Man each year and think it’s special), is wholly self-indulgent.

As with all Utopian ideas, the devil is in the details. Implementation is a bitch, and popularity can kill even the greatest ideas. As the festival has grown in size and complexity, it has had to respond to serious challenges to its founding principles. A festival that spouted “no rules” found that, when you get a bunch of people into acting crazy and taking hallucinogens in the desert, at some point they need chaperons. You need rules to enforce the “no rules” rule. And even then, there’s always someone who will push the envelope (I love you Fawcett). This year, a participant who took the whole “no rules” rule a little too far, decided that he would set fire to the Man several days ahead of schedule. Understandably, this infuriated festival organizers who had the man arrested. This is ironic for several reasons, not the least of which is that the festival founder, Larry Harvey, moved the Burn to the Nevada desert because San Francisco Police wouldn’t let him burn stuff at his discretion.

But I digress – the point is that any large undertaking like this requires infrastructure, planning, rules, oversight and ultimately, succumb to either commercialization or tyranny – all things that go against the grain of the articulated aims of Burning Man.

This is the thing: let’s all admit that as an experiment in anarchy, Burning Man failed. Unruly people needed to be reigned in, sick and injured people needed to be cared for, cars needed to be parked, shit needed to be sanitized. Let’s also admit that as an experiment in utopia, Burning Man failed. It’s an environmental disaster (they are presently calculating their “carbon footprint,” but with all the wood to build the man, the toxins from all the nasty shit burned, the copious fuel and the garbage, it can’t look good). And as an experiment as a de-commodified, evolved society, it’s an outright joke. The Burning Man is money, folks. Let’s do the math: the average price of a ticket to Burning Man is about $200. With 40,000 participants last year, that’s a cool $8,000,000. But they bring in considerably more than that. The 2006 “Afterburn” report said that the festival brought in $32,000,000. That’s a lot of cheese! They have a lot of overhead, but let’s face it: Burning Man is a cash cow. It’s a serious commodity. The one week festival brings in more than a Justin Timberlake concert.

Burning Man hasn’t been what it claims to be for years. It is a business, so much so that Burning Man, LLC, opened offices in SF this year. This year, they invited several CEOs of “green friendly” companies to the Burn to hawk their wares. I’m not saying Burning Man is a bad business – it’s probably a bad-ass business. But it’s one suffering from a nasty case of cognitive dissonance, among other things. The question is, what is the aim of the business? My view, as cynical as it might be, is that their business is selling the counter-culture to people who need an outlet and a forum to express things that they can’t in their day-to-day lives. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the participants and organizers alike would be well served by recognizing that, like the people and civilizations they think they have evolved from, their shit still stinks, and someone still needs to clean it all up.

52 responses to “Over the counter culture”

  1. Farrell Fawcett says:

    Nice essay brooke. A few years ago I read a collection of criticism (“salvos”) from the Baffler called “Commodify Your Dissent.” I loved the title. This post would have fit in perfectly with that collection. What I find difficult in reading this though is the inherent futility in trying to do anything with pure integrity. It’s impossible. And paralyzing. At some point don’t we just have to accept the hypocrisy and just enjoy the dance party while the straw man burns?

  2. Conflicted in Cali says:

    pardon the ad homonym attack, but this guy sure looks like an anarchist, utopian. (Harvey is the guy on the right).

    Fawcett does make a good point. But isn’t hypocracy that one pill that’s really, really hard to swallow (whereas ex goes down real smooth) ?

  3. Dave says:

    Interesting. I’ve been mildly interested in Burning Man for years and have been thinking about going, but also put off by many aspects of it.

    their business is selling the counter-culture to people who need an outlet and a forum to express things that they can’t in their day to day lives.

    The thing is, most of us in our everyday lives can’t act at all like people act at Burning Man. It’s a fact of our economy — most of us have to have a steady job to keep our health insurance, save for retirement, all that shit.

    So is it wrong to provide a temporary dose of anarchist utopia? Even though the “temporary” part renders the “anarchis” and “utopia” parts impure? Given our situation of post-industrial capitalism, is it wrong that the method of provision of this temporary utopia is a multi-million-dollar LLC?

    Heidegger had it right: Even modes of rebellion are given, not invented.

    I wonder if the problem isn’t really just the size of the event these days. Weren’t they trying to start regional festivals? There’s got to be a sweet spot: enough people for a good orgy and a nice selection of drugs, not so many that some jerk starts burning the Man too early.

  4. Dave says:

    Conflicted: What does an anarchist utopian look like? This guy wasn’t a utopian, but he was an anarchist. But he’s wearing a tie!

  5. Conflicted in Cali says:

    Heidegger had it right: Even modes of rebellion are given, not invented. I agree that this is how a top-down revolution occurs, but this leaves out the possibility of a true popular revolution.

    What about Luxemburg’s spontaneity of the masses concept, which seems to have opened the door for much of the 1968 revolution?

    As for the photo, I was more referring to Harvey’s surroundings and cohorts, both of which seem to reek of do-ray-me. And yes, one could be a wealthy utopian/anarchist, but it seems like the odds are slightly against a wealthy person’s aim being completely true.

  6. Dave says:

    Heidegger’s point, I think, is that the conditions and tools and possibilities for human action are always already in place, whether you’re on the top or the bottom. Look at a bunch of rebellious punk kids — or the rebels of ’68 — and you’ll notice that they’re all rebelling in remarkably similar ways. Gray flannel suit or multiple piercings, your choice.

    (Heidegger ignored his own point here in favor of a kind of “spontaneity of the masses” in 1933, but that was when he was arguing that National Socialism was a true expression of the German Volk.)

    The picture of Harvey is interesting. He’s standing with a couple of very douchey-looking guys, but it’s just a bar, and for all I know those guys are actually alright. If you have to look a certain way or hang out with certain people to be an anarchist, well, that sounds like a pretty ridiculous political philosophy to me, then — a substitution of style and gesture for ideals and commitment, which is maybe what the Commodify Your Dissent stuff was getting at.

  7. Hart says:

    The burning man festival is selling something everyone wants –a consequence free environment. Unfortunately, there is no such thing and there never will be. The people seduced by such ideas make fools of themselves (as Brooke so aptly points out).

  8. brooke says:

    Farrell – Maybe the integrity is just acknowledging the inherent contradiction of trying to operationalize a grand idea like this. The frustration comes from espousing an ideal but contradicting that ideal in such striking ways. I would be less critical/cynical if there was less bs associated with Burning Man.

    Dave – “It’s a fact of our economy — most of us have to have a steady job to keep our health insurance, save for retirement, all that shit.” Well, the BM employees basically get to Burn all year, thanks to the proceeds from other participants. But that’s beside the point. Economics is a fact of life, and pretending otherwise isn’t going to make that go away. I don’t think it’s so wrong to have an outlet though, in fact I think it is an interesting and worthwhile experiment. I would just like to see more self-criticism and less self importance, I guess. You should go to Burning Man next year, I’d love to hear your thoughts afterward.

    As for the size, that probably is one of the main problems. Even when I went, the organizers were griping about the size and the shift from participation to spectating. But with that said, they do sell tickets and could limit the number of people…

    And who the hell is the Heidegger guy? He’s come up twice in as many days, and I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never heard of him. I guess I need to review the “H” section of critical thinkers.

  9. LT says:

    Just some info, please, didn’t Burning Man used to be free to all attendees? I think that was in the 90s and earlier? Maybe Lane can clarify. Those ticket prices certainly move the focus from anarchy to commodity.

    This post connects to another attempt at a (u?)(dis?)topia. I’ve made three treks to the Rainbow Gathering, which
    does, actually, enforce some rules, including “frowning upon” alchohol, firearms and money exchange. Heidegger in effect.

    The entire set up is supposed to leave the land better than it was found (and subsequently trampled), which is questionable. The Rainbow Faimily hippies aren’t, however, burning toxically treated items in a giant pile. That would also be “frowned upon”.

    Anyway, I had a damn good time (despite one nasty sugar cube incident), especially in nothern New Mexico (Hi Dave and WW!) and didn’t pay a cent except the normal gas/camping trip costs one would assume when venturing into nature.

  10. 7: what exactly are the generalizable consequences of going to burning man? (other than disappointment, if you share brooke’s outlook.) i agree that everything has a consequence, but i don’t understand the assumption that all consequences are unpleasurable. i’m also not sure i buy the idea that BM is basically about wanting a consequence-free environment. i think most people who go probably expect to get high as a consequence of taking various drugs, for example.

  11. Jeremy Zitter says:

    This is fascinating stuff, Brooke.

    But what I really loved here was the well-placed “(I love you Fawcett),” followed by: “This year, a participant who took the whole ‘no rules’ rule a little too far, decided that he would set fire to the Man several days ahead of schedule.”

    I can totally see Farrell doing that…

  12. ssw says:

    My favorite line was:
    You need rules to enforce the “no rules” rule. Nice.

  13. Dave says:

    Martin Heidegger, 1889-1976. Widely considered one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century. Ridiculously hard to read. I had a seminar on him back in college. We read Being and Time, his big book, and I understood about 2% of it, maybe.

  14. Dave says:

    Oh, and he was a Nazi. Who had been having an affair with Hannah Arendt.

  15. […] Today’s post is a critique of the Burning Man festival. I was originally going to just poke fun at how seriously the BM clique takes themselves, but after giving it a bit more thought, I realized that I actually had some criticisms of the festival. Have a read and enjoy! If you are going to comment, please do so over on TGW.   […]

  16. I feel like a simpleton after this whole discussion including some guy named Heidegger, but Brooke, this post really jiggles my clittie. I often stump people who don’t even think about anarchy when I say, “You know, anarchy is a heavenly concept, but it just wouldn’t work because everyone would end up killing each other, themselves, and everything around them.” And eventually, really, someone would set up some kind of rule and we’d all jump to find some kind of order amid the hell. I think William Golding had it right, even though I despise the book because I’ve been forced to read it so many times for so many different classes.

    Besides the result of Burning Man, can anyone else think of any other end result to anarchy?

  17. Bryan says:

    careful, KTG. in some states it’s illegal to jiggle certain body parts too forcefully.

    why would anarchy naturally result in mass homicide? just curious.

  18. farrell fawcett says:

    Hey! What’s up with “I can totally see Farrell doing that”?? I might “push the envelope” or whatever, but I also know when mischief-making crosses the line. Setting fire to the burning man two days early would just totally bum out 40,000 other people who are there with certain expectations. I couldn’t do that. Mischief has its limits when you start affecting other people’s happiness. Still, it is a funny story. I’d like to know more details. It sounds to me like he was working through some whacky trip where he felt called on to light the man on fire. Just a hunch. As many of us know, psychadelics will do strange things to people.

  19. what if it were 34,000?

  20. Oh, I don’t know, Bryan. I think I sat through it one time and considered all the possible situations that would happen once anarchy was in effect over the whole world. I came out with someone dying or someone creating some kind of mass destruction in the name of “I hate my mother-in-law because she’s got green eyes and fuzzy lips”. It’d defintely result in mass looting, if nothing else. But with all the social and moral inhibitions taken out of place, what’s to stop me from killing my roommate because she locked me out of my apartment spitefully? And then her little brother coming to kill me when he found out?

  21. It makes me think of The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham. Awesome book.

  22. ruben mancillas says:

    great title for the post.

    I’ve been trying to keep to the concept of valuable comments but I haven’t proofread this so bear with me.

    Burning Man deserves scorn but at least it’s not a Justin Timberlake concert, right? I haven’t been to it and the self righteousness and hypocrisy would likely send me over the edge but at least it sounds like they’re trying/aware of something beyond the more obvious forms of commodified culture. If the point is that they should somehow know better then I get it but a little bit of safe and tidy “anarchy” actually sounds potentially fun to me compared to plenty of other entertainment options. Having said that, anytime I am asked to stand too long, be in direct sunlight, or have prolonged exposure to dust and/or insects I might do a lot worse than light someone’s bitchin’ effigy on fire.

    And am I the only one who can’t stop thinking of The Wicker Man? Maybe a dose of Christopher Lee and human sacrifice would push the integrity quotient for this little shindig off the charts.

  23. Brooke Maury says:

    Dave – Nazis are bad, mmmkay?

    Farrell and Jeremy, I wasn’t really suggesting that Farrell would have torched the Man early, but in spirit it’s a very Farrell thing to do: funny, irreverent and naughty. I found it both humorous and witty (which would also be very Farrell-esque). But it probably was just a mushroom trip gone awry.

    Ruben – I love JT. I’m bringing sexy back! yeah!

  24. Bryan says:

    20 — that’s a pretty low estimation of human nature and an overconfidence in law. people can make laws, after all, that allow them to kill as many people as they want to for whatever ridiculous reasons. luckily the people who tend toward that direction aren’t the majority of humans on the planet. most people i know don’t kill others for slight or arbitrary reasons because the thought of doing so repulses them, not because they think “damn, i’d love to kill that dude, but if i did i would get caught and go to jail!” people who think, “damn! i’m going to kill that guy who flipped me off while i was driving” actually go through with it and then do go to jail, but it seriously doubt they provide a real deterrent to any fence-sitting murderers out there.

    besides, how exactly could you instate anarchy on a worldwide scale? sounds ridiculously hypothetical to me, like the rightwingnuts who say “gee, if we legalize gay marriage, who’ll reproduce the species?”

  25. Bryan says:

    “it seriously doubt” s/b “i seriously doubt,” obviously.

  26. Bryan says:

    oh, and while i’m racking up brooke’s comment numbers, i’ll ditto what ruben said about the title. i had meant to give those props earlier today. this is one clever title, brooke.

  27. Julie the ping pong queen says:

    HI Everyone…
    I wish I understood that tutorial on links but if you go here you can find the interview with Paul Addis who burned down the man early…
    It’s worth the read since he supports Brookes main point of view as of others who commented plus the head shot is worth seeing.
    When I heard about the man being torched days before the end of the festival I gave out a hearty laugh and I proclaimed, “Right on. That guy is my hero.”
    I had been invited to Burning Man in 1996 but got a film job and didn’t go. I am sorry I never saw the early days where it was only 2,000 people. It was all like minded people to a degree…friends of friends similar to TGW.
    Which makes me think about the housekeeping of last week and the idea that this site grow. My stance was the specialness and intimacy that TGW has would dilute. I worried that all that I loved about visiting TGW would be flushed down the toilet. Just as I think has happened at Burning Man
    My neighbor Chris has been a long time Burning Man person. He creates and builds his thing there and begins preparing weeks before the event. He is always full of purpose in the month of August focused and unstoppable. His smile and his countdown of the days are genuine yet my other neighbor and I joke about his devotion while he is gone. When the man burned early we both wondered if he would come back angry and disheartened.
    But when I saw Chris tan and hair ash blond I asked how he felt. Paul Addis, (allegedly) picked the perfect time to burn the man. Everyone was looking at the eclipse and Chris said he turned to reflect to the Man when he saw he had turned from green to flaming yellow. For a moment he thought they had just changed the lighting but then the sounds of fire engines alerted the crowd.
    I told him I thought it was kinda cool and to my surprised he agreed.He said he thought they should have just let the man burn but the flames were shortly put out as Paul Addis was arrested. He said the whole experience changed everyones focus as people teamed up to rebuild the man. He said it flashed back to the early days.
    I asked how it felt to be back and he said he felt depressed to back in the city.
    Walking down Hollywood Blvd. to see my friend Eleni sing, my friend Alain pulled over in his motorcycle calling my name. He too had that spotty tan and far off look. I had heard he had gone to BM for the first time. He is nearing 42 years of age. I asked “So I hear you went to burning man?” He looked at me through yellow tinted glasses and with a thick french accent he said “I do not want to talk about it” and I knodded ” yeah because it sucked?” and he looked at me dumbfounded “NO! because I am so depressed to be back.”
    As he drove off I wondered if I am somehow missing something but I know me. Burning Man represents what I should of done back in the day and didn’t. A small regret. What it has become though is not what it was. Except for the art which I have heard is the reason of it all.

  28. Conflicted in Cali says:

    I’m so bummed to have had to drop the ball on this one. Dave, I just wanted to pick up on one point you made:

    Look at a bunch of rebellious punk kids — or the rebels of ‘68 — and you’ll notice that they’re all rebelling in remarkably similar ways. Gray flannel suit or multiple piercings, your choice.

    I agree that people taking part in contemporary street protest act in similar ways to ’60s street protesters, but I buy much more into a postmodernist concept of the chains of televisual reproduction, than a structuralist type argument that all the tools are already available. To me this sounds almost Platonic: there is a formal street rebellion floating in the ideal world, and Paris ’68 and Watts ’91 were corrupt reproductions.

    I’m sure Heidegger has something deeper in mind, he was after all a negative philosopher right?

  29. Dave says:

    Conflicted: I don’t know what “a postmodernist concept of the chains of televisual reproduction” is, and I’m not sure how you’re using “postmodernist” or “structuralism.” I can tell you that the Heideggerian point I’m trying to make is absolutely not Platonic. It’s that there are limits to the possiblities available to human beings, and to physically and temporally situated human beings, and that we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking we can act outside of these limits, in “authentic” rebellion. Rebellion is possible, but we rebel the way everyone else rebels — the limits of our rebellion are “always already” in place.

    No particular political point follows from this. It’s still possible to talk about rebellion. It’s still possible to rebel. It’s just that the High Romantic/existentialist talk about rebellion, the individual Alone in his terribly difficult and pure Struggle against the Crowd, is overwrought and inaccurate.

  30. Kate the Great says:

    Well yeah, Dave. Anarchy is hypothetical, isn’t it? It’s like communism: it’s a great idea (or a horrific idea, however you look at it) but it doesn’t work well in practice.This post proves that, doesn’t it? Even if we’re looking at the basest point that Brooke makes (because she makes other, more complex points than “Anarchy is hypothetical”), she tells us that these guys tried to make this holiday thing purely anarchist and purely cathartic, but it’s morphed into something that’s much less anarchistic and more cathartic.

    I suppose the mass murder thing could be a bit excessive. That really was my first thought, years ago, when I sat down and pondered over it. I’m glad anarchy is an interesting enough concept that it deserves a second thought. I suppose a revision of that first thought would be that natural selection would reign more freely if anarchy were put in place. There are no laws in nature, and I guess it makes sense to me that the murderers would be better suited, better adapted, more predatory, than those who are held back by instinctual revulsion.

  31. Dave says:

    Brooke’s a dude.

  32. Dave says:

    Also: I wasn’t talking about anarchy. I was talking about dirty hippies.

  33. Kate the Great says:

    Uh, sorry, Dave. The post was directed at Bryan at 24.

  34. Kate the Great says:

    And hey, how’m I supposed to know what sex Brooke is? I’ve never met the guy.

  35. Dave says:

    Ah, okay.

    There’s a picture of Brooke, accompanied by some masculine pronouns, here.

  36. Kate the Great says:

    Wonderful. Sorry about the unintentional insult, however indirect.

  37. Rachel says:

    Being a woman is an insult, however indirect?

  38. Kate the Great says:

    Oh, bof. I can’t win.

    I’m just going to throw my hands up and say, “SORRY!” because I’ll just insult someone any way I try to be gracefuly apologetic.

  39. Trixie Honeycups says:

    i can only speak for myself kate, but i was not offended.
    brooke may not be a woman, but he still likes to have his clittie jiggled.

  40. Beth W says:

    Don’t feel bad Kate. I didn’t know that Brooke’s a dude. I thought he was a chick (female equivalent to dude?). I also thought Lane was a chick until he was referred to with a male pronoun. Lane’s a dude right?

  41. Bryan says:

    depends on your sense of the word “dude.”

  42. Dave says:

    Lane, being a dude.

    It’s a tough crowd, Kate. You’re doing great.

    Bryan, I’m home!

  43. Trixie Honeycups says:

    wow. lane is so butch, i thought he was a lady.

  44. Trixie Honeycups says:

    kate the great.
    true story.

  45. Brooke Maury says:

    Kate, you haven’t offended anyone, except maybe some dead Russian tsarists and shit with that moniker. Point is, don’t sweat it. Part of the fun is getting peoples’ panties in a bunch (which should either proceed or follow the clittie jigglin’, which, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, we really need a video of to fully understand its value on this blog).
    Dave, you are seriously wry and erudite for a chick. I’m captivated by the idea that there are no new ways to rebel, that even the means of rebellion have been proscribed. I mean, Farrell voiced some concerns about my cynicism, but Heidegger’s ideas (as described here) are particularly harsh. But also compelling.
    Bryan, thank you for your always insightful thoughts. It’s a big part of why I read this blog. And thank you for your compliment as well. I thought it was funny also.
    As for the anarchy debate, I have to say I’m a big fan of law and order, provided the law is enforced equally across the board and is established without preference to certain groups or interests. Of course, this is the rub. As I said, implementation is a bitch. I would note though that a conversation about the futility or success of the theory of anarchy as governance is moot because we have no case studies to analyze, and we probably never will, because a true anarchic state is no state at all, and organized power will move in and force organization. There I said it.

    Trixie, you’re a grand old flag!

  46. Rachel says:


    No worries–I was just yanking your chain. Typical dude stuff.

  47. Kate the Great says:

    Thanks, Rachel, even though you reminded me (after initally panicking) of that double standard in society: it’s considered an insult to call a dude a woman, but when women are called “strong”, the implication is that they have masculine features.

    Thanks for the reassurances, everybody. I’ll make sure to keep arguing to the bitter end and remembe, as Dave said, that you guys are one tough crowd. However, there’s something that keeps me coming back, and I don’t run away easily.

  48. LT says:

    #45: Wait, Dave’s a chick?

  49. Scotty says:

    As I do, I’d like to take a moment, if I may, and raise a glass to Kate:

    Kate welcome to your first Whatsit snarkfest. Here’s to many more.

  50. Trixie Honeycups says:

    thank you for remembering that i am, indeed, a grand ol’ flag.
    you are the best.
    p.s. you are a girl

  51. jeremy says:

    wait a second–i spent a romantic weekend sharing a hotel room with brooke in montreal recently… i had no idea he was a dude! but i was sorta drunk, so…

  52. […] Most Startling Disclosure: “A Necessary End,” by Dave B, and Most Provocative: “Over the counter culture,” by Brooke […]