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Opinions and other thoughts on A Burner Lexicon

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

The rocket effigy ignites. Pyropolis 2005. Photo by Kit O'Connell.

In case I haven’t said it explicitly enough before, A Burner Lexicon is my attempt to define Burner culture as I see it and have experienced it during my time participating in these events. It is by its nature opinionated, and biased toward my experience. I hope it accurately reflects others’ experiences, and I think to a large extent it does. But there are definitely those who will disagree with me — and I hope to hear from them.

Today I put up a Lexicon entry (for “severely dehydrated”) that turned out to be incorrect — and possibly an inaccurate reflection on the behaviors of the Rangers, one of the groups I have the utmost respect for in our culture. As soon as it became clear to me that it wasn’t a “true” entry, I removed it from the lexicon.

I always try to respond to feedback — I’m not interested in glossing over any aspects of our culture, but I am interested in improving my work to reflect it better. I’ve corrected my entries many times and will continue to do so as I receive comments, emails, and other feedback — even months after I post them, if necessary. I’ve done this many times already and have tried to credit the contributors where possible.

I’m also interested in reflecting as many voices as possible. Comments are a good place to start — I encourage my readers to respond to any of my entries. I love getting comments and hearing your feedback.

However I am especially interested in reflecting a diversity of opinions in my upcoming entries on the 10 Burner Principles. I’ve privately emailed a few ‘great Burner thinkers’ but I’d also like to hear from more — what does the Gift Economy mean to you? What are the limits of Radical Inclusivity? Send me your thoughts — you can always reach me at kitoconnell at pobox dot com.

On the main page of the Lexicon, I call this a Devil’s Dictionary for the Playa. I’ve been doing this Burn thing for decade, and so my view has likely become cynical in places, and ridiculously starry-eyed in others. No matter how many people contribute, this will always remain my window on the community — ‘Burner vocabulary as seen through Kit’s glasses’ as one friend of mine recently put it. I hope you continue to enjoy looking through them with me.

As always, A Burner Lexicon can be found at