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A Burner Lexicon: Burnier-Than-Thou

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

Why are you just sitting there? In the old days, all the couches spit fire. Photo taken by Ryan Jesena in Black Rock City, 2006.

Burnier-Than-Thou, –adjective, No matter how much of a participant you are, there’s always someone who manages to give more than you. You might cook daily meals for your camp, volunteer as a Ranger and perform an open mike set at Center Camp, but there’s still someone on the playa who did all that while simultaneously orchestrating the construction of large scale art and directing a rock opera.

It’s the truly burnier-than-thou (or sometimes, Dustier-than-thou, a reference to playa dust) who make sure you know it. They are forever reminding others how much they’ve contributed to the community, how much truer they are to the Burner Principles or how much better it was in the old days. Some have this attitude when encountered on the playa, but far more display it in digital media where it’s safe to be a troll.

People come and go from Burn culture for all kinds of reasons and those who become over-committed risk burnout. The burnier-than-thou is here to stay no matter how much he tells you everything’s gone downhill. If he left, he’d have to find something else to complain about. The contributions of the Burnier-Than-Thou are often genuinely beneficial to the community but that doesn’t make them less insufferable.

Social skills are sometimes the most important skills a Burner has to offer. No matter the value of their contributions, their attitude almost inevitably overshadows them.

Thanks to Shanta for suggesting this entry.

Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at

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  • your mom

    love it!

  • Pingback: Angels vs. Demons: Burnier-Than-Thou()

  • We have always used the term “Dustier than thou” for this, particularly the “it was better in the past” sentiment. Reads better than burnier than thou.

    • Kit

      @Brad: Thanks, I actually added this to the entry :)

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