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You call that counterculture? 

San Simeon

Kylie Mendonca’s article about Burning Man (“American dreaming,” Sept. 11, 2008) was interesting in a disturbing kind of way—somewhat like getting advice on how to be stupid from a person of intelligence.

Burning Man, which started as a bonfire on a San Francisco beach, is not a counterculture anything. It is the tweaked and the perved dressed up in hippie colors, using the blood currency of corporate power to fuel what one volunteer coordinator described as “an obscene mess.” Over 900 gallons of jet fuel, added to the diesel for generators, added to the “huge amounts of wasted fossil fuels” do not make “art,” nor do they make an anti-statement, as the organizers claim, about “our oil-addicted civilization. The “burners,” as they call themselves, are not revolutionaries; they are deeply embedded in the conventional culture of pollution.

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