Monday, September 14, 2015

Radical Litigiousness!

Pictured: grown-ass adults marching
around dressed-up as bunnies. 
So you're probably sick of reading about Burning Man on this blog and I completely understand. You come here for posts about what I think about Star Trek and which Republican presidential hopeful is the biggest gaycist. That's why I try to limit myself to only one or two posts about the burn per year, but I saw this and thought I'd share: the organization that puts it on is thinking about suing Quiznos. They're upset about an ad the sandwich chain put out that makes fun of their totally serious week-long celebration of blinky lights, nudity and setting shit on fire in the desert.

It took someone hundreds of man-hours
to create this piece, but it wasn't really art
until someone came along with an iPhone.
Click on this to see what's got their Utili-kilts in a twist. I've been six times and I've got to say the video isn't entirely inaccurate. Sometimes we go by playa-names, there is a people-wash where you get squeegeed by strangers and burners do like to take photos with stupid filters. But the guy in the video says that people at the event trade back rubs for Quiznos® sandwiches and this is bullshit for several reasons. First, there's no bartering at the burn. People give things with no expectation of reciprocity. Secondly, eww, Quiznos. Right?

But the big issue is that the company is using Burning Man images and intellectual property to sell shit which is totally contrary to the spirit of the event. Brands and advertisements are considered poor form, people avoid wearing clothes with labels or logos and those who rent vans and trucks to haul their gear out to the desert are encouraged to blot out the rental company names.
We're also encouraged to mentally revert
to the age of 13. Heh. It says 'penis.'
"You'll be hearing from our lawyers..."
-The Burning Man Organization
It might seem somewhat hypocritical for an organization so staunchly opposed all things corporate and business-y to go and do something like sue someone over intellectual property, but I'm kind of on their side on this one. Yeah, the ad is a parody and pokes fun at the event's pretensions and ridiculousness, but it also makes use of art from the event, including last year's Embrace and the Man itself. I'm not like a lawyer or anything, but it seems like they'd have a case.

Sure, lawsuits are gross and so what if the ad was kind of funny? Burning Man is about freeing ourselves from the corporate oppression and branding and when someone's using your annual protest against consumerism to hawk their fast food chain, I say go get'em.
Unless it's In-N-Out. They're great. We always stop
there on the way to the burn and-wait, goddamnit...

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