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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #16: Thanksgiving Edition

The Chaplain’s Weekly Screed

In the United States, the holiday of Thanksgiving is on the horizon, just six days away. It’s a holiday where, well, we give thanks; take stock of our lives and express our gratitude for the good things. So, on that note, I want to thank all of you for bringing joy to my life and share with you my gratefulness for the existence of Burning Man. I am thankful that some 36 years ago or so, some interesting people did some weird thing that grew into today’s Burning Man.

It has improved me and improved my life. It has brought me closer to people that I love. It has helped me know myself better and provides me with the motivation to better myself. In fact, I hope to celebrate this Thanksgiving by finding some worthy causes or people deserving of a little help and pay things forward.

Group News

In group news, we are already getting some interest in adding a few new folks to our group, something we’ll talk about when the time is right. I know Curtis and Linda have a friend named Katie who could end up joining us. I’ve got a couple of lovely friends, Mirit and Ellie, who have both expressed strong interest. But we’re not there yet… first we need to understand who among us is intent on returning and then figure out tickets. In short… we’ve got plenty of time before we get to watch our little group coalesce into a Playa-ready band of wedding enthusiasts!

Black Rock City News

Here’s a podcast from some children about Black Rock City.

Or, if you’re the literary type, there’s a literary magazine by and for burners, called Burn Before Reading Mag.

The Camp Symposium is currently being planned. If you might be interested in presenting, they’re looking for presenters. Not sure where the link is, but if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll find it.

Burning Man hosts a series of online events, called Campfire Talks. The next one is about Radical Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. You can find a link somewhere on if you’re interested.

Oh, and if you haven’t put it on your calendar yet, the dates for the next Burn are 8/27 to 9/4. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Placement / Ticket News

Well, I’ve got some good news. We were invited to submit a letter of intent to return to the Playa. I asked Placement about what this means, and it seems that it means they’ll let us come back. I filled out a few pages of paperwork to tell them that we’re coming back ready to contribute even more than we did in 2022. We’ll hear from them by the second weekend of February. I have requested an increase in our designated ticket allocation. Specifically, they allocated 3 this year and I’ve asked for 6 next year. I’ll burst with happiness if they allocate 4 and butt-chug a bottle of Champagne if they do 5. Don’t even ask what I’ll do if they actually send us 6 tickets.

Upcoming Tasks

Not much on the horizon, just keep living the Ten Principles in the default world.

Closing Thoughts

Though the United States’ Thanksgiving holiday was first declared by George Washington, it was Lincoln and then Grant who really hyped it into a widely and regularly celebrated national holiday. Those two men, more than anyone, contributed to eliminating chattel slavery in the United States – the last bastion of the institution in those parts of the globe that were descended from or under the control of the Western European imperial powers.

It strikes me that those two men who worked to end such an institution also worked to increase gratitude among their countrymen. Gratitude for what we have is a foundational element of the motivation to better the world and help others. I would posit a strong link between the idea one can/should forcibly exploit another’s labor for one’s own betterment and dissatisfaction with even a privileged and prosperous existence.

I’ll credit Lincoln and Grant with one of history’s greatest examples of Decommodification in action: while I believe that the right to commodify one’s own labor is key to human happiness, it is difficult to imagine a greater sign of our progress than to have finally, after thousands of years of slavery, labeled the non-consensual commodification of another’s labor as anathema to a healthy and moral global society. And, if you know American Civil War history, you’ll know that Grant really was a “burner[1].”

The Man burns in 288 days!

[picture and caption redacted to protect the guilty]

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