Flutterby™! : Mark Morford "gets" Burning Man

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Mark Morford "gets" Burning Man

2001-09-06 19:58:39+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Mark Morford "gets" Burning Man:

I have seen far too many visions and experienced far too many sensory inputs and mental spankings and heartfelt funky communal connections to be able to capture them all in words -- and that, I have realized, is much of the point of Burning Man.

[ related topics: Burning Man Journalism and Media Mark Morford ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:38+00 by: Dylan

He sure as hell said it better than I ever have.


#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:38+00 by: Pete

Can we have a discussion about "getting it" independent of the usage here?

I've always been unimpressed with being comlemented for getting it, criticized for not getting it, and oddly defensive of others accused by still others of not getting it.

Too often, "getting it" seems to equate to "agrees with me, but neither of us can convincingly support our position." More and more frequently it occurs to me than an idea that can't be defended is an indefensible idea.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:38+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'm usually happier when I'm getting it.

Pete, emotions are not necessarily defensible positions. While the occasional Objectivist will claim a logic underlying emotions, I've yet to hear one make a case I found compelling for why they enjoyed their children so, other than that they do. There's a logic to our underlying core, but it happens in the fabric of reality, and can't necessarily be modeled with the primitive concepts of physics, and even more primitive concepts of how those physics underly the chemistry, biology, and psychology that make us up.

Language is not reality. It is an attempt to map onto a set of symbols a set of shared experiences, and then by building lists of symbols representing experiences describe new experiences. Surprisingly, for a writer in a mainstream publication, Mark Morford has pieced together a set of those symbols in a way that begins to evoke what I felt, and what I believe what most of my social group who attend feel, in Burning Man.

In my usage, "getting it", when referring to concepts rather than innuendo, is a short-hand for saying "that person appears to have drawn from this experience the same lessons and emotions that I drew from this experience." It can be further expanded upon to say "and I've seen quite a few people who walked through the same experiences and completely missed the opportunities for perceiving the world in a new light."

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:38+00 by: Larry Burton

Saying someone "gets it" is just another way of saying that that person shares your perspective on something. If someone doesn't "get it", it isn't that they are wrong, its just that they are looking at it differently than I am. From their perspective, I'm the one that isn't "getting it".

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:38+00 by: Pete

The "it" in "getting it" is singular, and strongly implies a single right, informed, enlightened, etc., take on the topic at hand. Maybe the crowd that you've witnessed using this expression is a lot more open-minded than the people that formed my impression of the idiom, Larry, but I don't think I can ever recall that anyone I heard using it accomodated the possibility that their own valuation, interpretation or judgement was anything but the single supreme one.

The most prominent example that comes to mind of representative exchanges was a discussion among several people who considered themselves feminists. Some how it came 'round to the tired "'No' means no." (or it's ruder and equally dumb variant "What part of 'No' don't you understand?") When I spoke up and said that was a disingenuous oversimplification that ignores the shading and inflection of human expression, I was challenged as to how I could be so dense as to propose anything counter to the "'No' means no" assertion.

Turning to my own girlfriend, who was among those challenging me, I asked if she had ever said no to me. With a degree of pride that I should have recognized as a danger sign, she said "Yes!"

I asked "Did that mean 'Stop. Put your clothes on. Go away?'"



"You just don't get it."

Perhaps my objection should only be applied to negative uses ("not getting it"), but even when praising someone for "getting it," I'm still troubled by the implication that there is only a single "it," that some one that doesn't share the speaker's take has failed, failed to get it. It feels exclusionary and cliquish, and in particular it feels like an us/them sentiment substituted for rational support of ones position.

Dan--Glad to hear you reject the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:38+00 by: Larry Burton

Pete, my "it" is a single radian to a point. It is singular and, to me, supreme. How adamant I'm going to be over whether or not someone else needs to "get it" is going to be directly proportional to how dear I hold that point and how set I am on maintaining my radian to that point.

In your above example your discussion group was with what I call academic feminist (as oppossed to practical feminist)and they are going to hold the point you were discussing very dear and they have to maintain their radian at all costs because not to do so would be to acknowledge that there are times when one can enjoy being in a submissive role and a good feminist can never acknowledge that a submissive role is proper for any woman to desire and enjoy. There is nothing wrong in a academic feminist taking this position. Their role has the same relationship to a practical feminist as that relationship between a scientist and an engineer.

Now, you've got to admit that you really didn't get their "it". What you did not take into consideration is that they didn't get your "it", either. Had I been in your shoes I would have been very, very tempted to have replied to the "you don't get it" with, "That is true but then neither do you." Now the question of who's "it" was supremely correct for us all depends on the context of the conversation. Doesn't it?