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Anti-Tax Crusader Grover Norquist Had an Epic Time at Burning Man

It’s hard to put into words exactly what Burning Man is. Wikipedia says something about an “experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.” Denver Nicks of TIME Magazine calls it “both a mass phenomenon and an individualized experience, literally beyond description.” Essentially, it’s a week-long festival held each year in Nevada, ending on Labor Day. The name comes from the ritual burning of a gigantic wooden effigy that takes place at the event. It’s a place of peace, love, and a whole lot of costumed (and sometimes naked) hippie liberals.

But Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, sought to change that. After attending the festival, Grover returned to declare that “Burning Man is greater than I had ever imagined.” Apparently impressed by all of the inclusiveness and individualism, he penned a column for The Guardian, in which he described what sounded like a life-changing experience:

I have been to large demonstrations in favor of the environment, and the trash left behind is knee-deep. At Burning Man, you are hard-pressed to find a cigarette butt on the ground. There are no trash bins. Participants carry it in, and they carry it out. I have been to the Louvre. It is a very big place with many nice paintings. I knew that. I was not disappointed. Burning Man is more like Petra, the lost city in Jordan, which I found more impressive than its advance billing or reputation … Some self-professed “progressives” whined at the thought of my attending what they believed was a ghetto for liberal hippies. Yes, there was a gentleman who skateboarded without elbow or kneepads – or any knickers whatsover. Yes, I rode in cars dressed-up as cats, bees and spiders; I watched trucks carrying pirate ships and 30 dancers. I drank absinthe. But anyone complaining about a Washington wonk like me at Burning Man is not a Burner himself: The first principle of Burning Man is “radical inclusiveness”, which pretty much rules out the nobody-here-but-us liberals “gated community” nonsense.

And you thought Grover was a square. He added that he hopes to one day “attend a national political convention that advocates the wisdom of Burning Man.”

Unfortunately, the aforementioned Denver Nicks of TIME Magazine thinks Norquist got it a bit wrong, and penned a counter-column entitled “What Grover Norquist Got Wrong About Burning Man.”

The plot thickens…


Matt Fox

Senior Editor

Fox has history in broadcasting that spans two decades. From his early days as an FM host and club DJ in the mid-90′s to his later experiences in political talk radio, he has always had a knack for combining topical news with his love for popular culture. Those experiences culminated in his position as executive producer for several radio shows featured in the TALKERS Heavy 100. Originally from New York, Fox has made the great pilgrimage down to sunny south Florida.

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