Pigdog contributor Reverend CyberSatan, aka Paul Addis, was brought up on charges of arson for allegedly setting fire to The Man at Burning Man early Tuesday morning. The Man, which is basically a large pile of wood and other flammable material designed to be burned to the ground this coming Saturday night, caught fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning. When The Man is burned this coming Saturday night, it will mark the culmination of the week long festival. It will be art. It will be a party. However, if you burn it on a Tuesday, the powers-that-be call it arson.
When I got up Tuesday morning the first piece of e-mail I opened said "Someone just torched the man during the lunar eclipse." There were pictures, but at first I figured it was a hoax. Every year people threaten to burn the Man early. Every year someone tells their friends "I'm going to sneak over to the Man early in the week and set him on fire. Wouldn't that be cool?"
To which most people assure their drunken friend "No, that would not be cool."
I still can't figure out how you can count setting fire to a FIRE as "arson". If I was having a bonfire on the beach and I had all of my wood piled up, and then someone came by and set it on fire before I was ready, I'd be irritated. I'd consider the interloper a party-pooper and a killjoy, but I'd stop short of calling them an arsonist. I mean, get a grip already, IT'S A PILE OF WOOD THAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE SET ON FIRE. The person SET FIRE TO SOMETHING DESIGNED TO BE SET ON FIRE. That's not arson, but it IS radical self-expression.