Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —
Please don’t hate me you guys! I’m trying to do the right thing, but it’s hard!
And it’s really hard when people you like don’t get along.
Yes, the little black girl wearing the Burn2 Greeter hat is me. I guess I have two confessions to make: One is that before I agreed to be the Executor for Vaneeesa’s Estate in SL, I spent 95% of my time as a child avatar. The other is that I’ve been working as a Burn2 Greeter this week.
Maybe I can talk about being a child avi next week, since I guess I have to explain about Burn2 right now.
Like everybody else I was surprised and disappointed when Burn2 “banned” (or whatever they did) Vaneeesa. I immediately decided I would quit my job as a Burn2 Greeter in support of Vaneeesa.
So I tried, about six times, to write the Greeter Coordinator, Brigit Ranger, a notecard explaining that I couldn’t work for an event that would take Vaneeesa’s money and then not let her perform.
I couldn’t write it.
I don’t really know both sides of the story, but from the part I know, it really seems like the Burn2 people were wrong. Mean even. But whatever they did or didn’t do to Vaneeesa, that’s not Brigit. I thought Vaneeesa was the hardest working person I’d ever met in SL. But I think maybe Brigit works even harder. As far as I can tell, she never sleeps, she’s always working, always helping people, always filling in the gaps, and Brigit is the most energetic and enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. She’s so infectiously encouraging to everyone.
Vaneeesa is super-positive too. She’s really nice to people and works hard to be more inclusive, but she also has her quiet times. Maybe as an artist, you’re supposed to have doubt. I think Vaneeesa’s work really makes us question everything: who we are, what our culture is, what it means to be alive, what really matters in our lives. And I guess if your art questions everything, maybe you have to question yourself too, maybe you have to have doubt.
Maybe you can’t really be an artist without doubt. Maybe if you sail through life with 100% self-confidence and a kevlar self-identity, you aren’t really questioning powerfully enough.
I think of Vaneeesa as a very positive person. But you’re also aware that she’s asking questions. You’re always aware that she does have doubt.
Brigit is not an artist. Or maybe she is, I don’t really know, but she’s not the same kind of artist as Vaneeesa, I don’t think. I don’t think Brigit is about doubt. I’m not saying her life is easy, I see how hard she works. But I don’t think Brigit is about doubt, I think she’s about so much positive energy and enthusiasm that she finds ways to bring out the best in people. She finds ways to always encourage us to do more than we expected to.
I’m sorry if I’m rambling you guys. But what I’m trying to say is that I totally believe in Vaneeesa and I would do anything to stand up for her. But I just don’t see how letting Brigit down would be standing up for Vaneeesa. Brigit works too hard to let her down. She believes in us and I just don’t see how we can not believe in her.
Vaneeesa’s art makes you think about what it means to be alive.
Brigit’s art makes you happy to be alive.
I guess the thing is, whether you’re Linden Lab, or The Burning Man Organization, or even Vaneeesa, I don’t think any of those people think, “oh yes, we’re evil and greedy and we don’t care.” I think they all think that they’re the good guys and they care a lot. But I guess they decide what caring means and what good is all relative to the field that they define. And if different people’s fields don’t overlap, then it can look like those other guys aren’t playing fair or nice.
Obviously both Vaneeesa and the Burn2 people worked really hard. But because they couldn’t find a way to see eye-to-eye, now Vaneeesa doesn’t get to show the fruit of all her hard work, and Burn2 has an empty hole with nothing going on. I don’t think that’s a result that anybody wanted.
If you read the Burning Man “Ten Principles,” they keep going on about Radical Inclusion, Participatory Experience, Community Effort. Yet so many of the camps at Burn2 are empty most of the time. Vaneeesa was going to try to live in that house 24/7, to have other VB/CO peeps live there, and to invite visitors to join them in their miniature cycle of SL life. I think Vaneeesa’s piece might have been the most Radically Inclusive piece in all of Burn2.
But all the good people were good on their own fields and their fields didn’t meet and so now we have less.
I believe in Vaneeesa.
I believe in Brigit.
I don’t suppose I’ll ever have lunch with both of them at the same time, but I shouldn’t be forced to choose. I want to play on the widest field I can. They’re both amazing people, and I should be able to have both of them in my life.
I’m sorry you guys.
I know, I know, I know!
Please don’t hate me.
I’m really sorry,