Burn Your Money

A Line Is Drawn in the Desert
At Burning Man, the Tech Elite One-Up One Another

By NICK BILTON AUG. 20, 2014; The New York Times

“…If you have never been to Burning Man, your perception is likely this: a white-hot desert filled with 50,000 stoned, half-naked hippies doing sun salutations while techno music thumps through the air.

“A few years ago, this assumption would have been mostly correct. But now things are a little different. Over the last two years, Burning Man, which this year runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1, has been the annual getaway for a new crop of millionaire and billionaire technology moguls, many of whom are one-upping one another in a secret game of I-can-spend-more-money-than-you-can and, some say, ruining it for everyone else…”

I asked my friend, Rainbow, about this phenomenon, since he’s been attending since the mid-90s. Here’s what he had to say:

“Man, we were just, like, tripping off these guys. The Facebook cat–starts with a Z–he had obviously coke all over his face, and he’s running around yelling, ‘We’re the one percent, motherfuckers! You all can suck it!’ He started peeing on my friend T-Bone, then asked, ‘How do you like me now?!’ My dog’s all chill, so he’s just like, ‘I do not like this. This is not cool and you’ve got to chill, bro.’

“Let’s see, then there was some guy walking around in just a suit and tie. No fucking pants or nothing! Can you believe that shit? Someone told me they had sold him some fake E earlier. I don’t know if he was high on other shit or just a natural douchebag. He was chilling with some guy who was a big shot banker. He was trying to take people’s tents and shit. He messed with the wrong guy who got in his face and was like, ‘If you don’t go back to your spot, we’re gonna’ burn you.’ Then the guy sat down and cried for about half an hour. I really felt bad for him, you know?”

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