The people behind the anti-establishment festival Burning Man have pledged to "always burn the man." On Friday we learned that The Man himself helicoptered in to last year's festival... and he made sandwiches.
Mark Zuckerberg flew in to spend a day at Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz's camp last year, Moskovitz confirmed in a post published Friday on blogging platform Medium and first reported by The Verge. The Facebook CEO helped pitch a tent, gave out some grilled cheese sandwiches, and helicoptered away.
"I wanted him to experience the city and to experience gifting because I thought it would make him grow as a person and the world better off as a result; I believe that’s exactly what happened, however marginally (he was already a pretty great person)," Moskowitz writes. "I’ve seen this occur countless times."
Gifting, a Burning Man ritual, refers to anything that is given to someone else without expectation of anything in return. A gift can be anything from a hug to a glass of water, meant to "break the commerce paradigm."
Burning Man regular Google co-founder Sergey Brin was allegedly traipsing about the desert in a silver body suit at last year's festival.
This year, the event was overrun with Silicon Valley executives, including the notorious Winklevoss Twins, and there was even a giant statue of a Facebook "like." Attendees were encouraged to "worship" at the statue before it was burned at the end of the week.
One of the main rules at Burning Man is that no money can change hands. Everyone at the festival is expected to pitch in where they can and survive on an economy of gifting. The festival started as a free event in honor of the Summer Solstice in 1986. As time has gone on, though, ticket prices have soaredto thousands of dollars and the event has become overrun with startup guys, causing some to speculate that the festival is becoming more of a "corporate retreat" than a utopia of decommodification.