Ian is a wild man. I last saw him in 1997, when we shared a bus trip to burning man
. It was on that trip that the Messiah camp named him their Messiah
, and on that trip he named himself the Techno-Pagan Octopus Messiah, and on that trip that he decided to break up with his girlfriend and travel the world. Last I heard, he was in England
winning poetry slam
contests and selling his book, unsurprisingly titled The Techno-Pagan Octopus Messiah.
But that's not what I came to talk to you about. I came here to talk about Kevin and his sculpture. Kevin had a dream that burning man, and his dream was to build a sculpture out of small household appliances. And then to supply a sledge-hammer or two for the people passing by, so he could watch the slow destruction of his sculpture. Perhaps even take pictures of its change over the days. And so he spent weeks collecting toasters and blenders and Easy-Bake ovens, assembled them together with superglue, and set out some sledge-hammers.
But like many things at Burning Man, it didn't happen quite the way he planned. This was the year that Burning Man had been required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on police services. It was also the year of the media, and there were tons of press and people in addition to the numerous police.
It was a little out of hand that year, so it wasn't a big surprise to anyone when Kevin stepped out for a walkabout, and returned to find his sculpture in tiny pieces well before he had planned. He was a little disappointed, but that's just the way things go sometimes at Burning Man.
So we were all amused a day or two later to hear Ian (remember Ian? This is a node about Ian.) pulling an excellent reality hack on the press. He was telling a reporter about how my good friend Kevin put his heart into building his sculpture. And it was a thing of beauty. And then, while he was out, some people came along and started taking a sledge-hammer to it. And when that didn't destroy it fast enough, they took bigger sledge-hammers to it. And when that didn't destroy it fast enough, they took a big 4x4 and ran over it. And Kevin came back and saw his beautiful statue in ruins. He cried, man. And what I want to know is why, if Burning Man had to pay over $300,000 for police presence, why they couldn't stop this one single act of vandalism?