Their statement sounds good, and includes:
Love all those intentions and pretty sure almost everyone in the Burning Man community thinks they are overdue. Not going to get much argument as to the principle of them I suspect. Three cheers!
The problem is that they aren't willing to apply those rules evenly. They are willing to let a for-profit adventure tour operator flaunt all of them.
At the end of the article, the BMORG writes,
"Note that is the sole exception to our position on because of its established program for bringing engaged participants to Black Rock City and the valuable service they provide to the community."
Like Opulent Temple and all the other real theme camps that are gifted don't provide a valuable service to the community? That feels a little insulting or condescending to all the camps that actually operate within the rules AND provide a valuable service to the community.
(Incidentally, I get it - Green Tortoise is not for rich people, but that doesn't make it one iota less of a fully-commodified camp whose operation flies in the face of the rules every single other Theme camp has to follow. Even Caravansicle was not, I believe, a for-profit camp despite all the other nasty shit they pulled.)
They go on to say, for the second time (they used the same phrase a few months ago when defending GT), that Green Tortoise is "the exception that proves the rule."
I don't mean to be pedantic, but I don't think that phrase means what you think it means, Org. It is a meaningless statement used in this way, and is typically used when someone wants to handwave away some hypocrisy they're engaging in. I've included an explanation of what it actually means at the end of the post.
Look, Org, Black Rock City is a real temporary city, and in a very real way the Burning Man Organization is its government. (It's muddied a bit, because we have the equivalent of externally-imposed United Nations peacekeepers too, in the form of law enforcement).
And worse, you even treat GT better than the real theme camps. It feels really shitty to make long-established theme camps that gift their experience to all of us fight for tickets in the DSG sale while you just hand the fully commodified Green Tortoise a block of 185 tickets to resell AND build their infrastructure for them.
Don't get me wrong: This is not the end of the world or some earth-shattering controversy to me. But it makes you look either corrupt or clueless about the message you're sending, and does not inspire confidence. (Note I said 'look'....I didn't say you were corrupt or clueless, though I'm still left totally baffled by what the possible real reasons behind GT being permitted are).
Even Larry Harvey agrees, writing:
"I think the current controversy over Plug and Play camps is not so much about equality, but concerns a very different though related concept: inequity – a basic sense of unfairness. Whenever a select group is allowed special access to tickets, especially when these tickets are in short supply, this can inspire ill feeling. This is doubly so if such a camp is widely perceived to be flouting nearly all of Burning Man’s Ten Principles. This is what has stuck and rankled in the public mind. It is as if these camps have been allowed to parade past the Main Sale ticket queue and insert themselves at the head of the line."
Almost as if he's literally speaking about Green Tortoise isn't it?
I realize it's too late to deny them placement this year, but I really hope that you fine folks at the Org will consider what a terrible policy it is to give preferential treatment to a camp that openly flouts the rules every other Theme camp has to follow, and deny them placement next year.
There's no place on the playa for commercial tour operators whether they're called Red Hare or Green Tortoise or Disney's Black Rock City Camp.
Hold all Theme Camps to the same standard or there is no standard, just an arbitrarily-applied set of rules.
What "The exception that proves the rule" actually means:
Two bits from Wikipedia, because the mis-use of this phrase is so common:
""The exception that proves the rule" is an exception to a generally accepted truth. This is an archaic use of the word 'prove', which means 'to test'. It does not mean that it demonstrates a rule to be true, but that it tests the rule. It is usually used when an exception to a rule has been identified: for example, Mutillidae are wasps without wings, and therefore are an exception that proves (tests) the rule that wasps fly."
Meaning: The phrase doesn't demonstrate that a rule is true at all, and is irrelevant in this case as we're not talking about a generally-accepted truth. We're talking about a very specific set of policies that Burning Man has. We know they're the rules, because they are defined as such. Exceptions never prove rules in the sense that you are using the phrase. They test the rule, not prove it.
Here's an example from the Wikipedia page:
"An example of this use in science writing is laid out by Richard Dawkins in The Ancestor's Tale. Cnidaria is a phylum of animals including jellyfish, corals, and sea anemones. The rule is that all cnidarians, and only cnidarians, have specialized harpoon cells called cnidocytes, which they often use to capture and/or inject venom into prey. There is one exception to this rule. Some species of sea slugs of the nudibranch group have tentacles containing cnidocytes, even though the slugs aren't cnidarians. But it turns out that the slug eats jellyfish and passes the jellyfish's commandeered weapons, intact and still working, into its own tentacles. So examining the only known exception really proved the original rule valid after all."
In other words, examining the only known exception tested ("proved") the rule because hey, it turns out it wasn't actually an exception. It just looked like one.
Green Tortoise doesn't look like an exception that, upon examination, is found not to actually be an exception, thus testing/proving the rule. Instead, it is simply just a camp permitted to openly flout the rules as an exception.
""The exception [that] proves the rule" also means that the presence of an exception applying to a specific case establishes ("proves") that a general rule exists. For example, a sign that says "parking prohibited on Sundays" (the exception) "proves" that parking is allowed on the other six days of the week (the rule). A more explicit phrasing might be "the exception that proves the existence of the rule."
Meaning: That the rule itself implies ("proves") something else. In their example, saying that parking is prohibited on Sundays "proves" that parking is allowed the other six days. This is also totally inapplicable to the Green Tortoise situation.
I'm Dr. Yes. I run this site, lead a theme camp called Friendgasm, and make Burning Man videos. Just say yes, folks, and help keep Burning Man weird!