I think the American Dream is alive. But you can’t find or buy the American Dream. You can only dream it up. We can all have our own vision of the American Dream. At this year’s Burning Man Festival (August 25th to September 1st) 50,000 freaks will assemble in the desert to share their individual visions of the “American Dream”.
For me, if I had only one word to describe the American Dream, the word would be “Freedom”. The freedom to be who I really am and to roam free rather than be like a chicken in a cage laying eggs for a farmer.
This year will be my first time as a “Burner” and I will be sharing my vision of the American Dream by projecting 1,000 images from the past year’s Great American Road Trip on the side of my motor home “Destiny“. I call this showing “Visions of My American Dream”.
My travel mentor/guru Ed Buryn, author of Vagabonding in America, will be collaborating with me in promoting and presenting this show. We will also be showing movies related to this year’s American Dream theme, including “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas“.
In 1971 Hunter S. Thompson went through the desert and into the crass heart of Las Vegas looking for the “American Dream”, driving a Cadillac with a trunk full of psychedelic drugs. What he found or fabricated became the book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream“.
In his book, the American Dream was hijacked by the privileged few sometime around Nixon’s reign. Judging from the current regime, they never gave it back. Hunter S. Thompson once said that his journalism beat was “the death of the American Dream”. By the time Thompson shot himself in 2005 he had largely pronounced the American Dream dead.
Perhaps his American Dream was dead. For others it has turned into the American Ream. But for those of us still living and dreaming it remains alive, even if endangered.
The pure canvas of the Black Rock Desert seems like a far more fitting place to dream the American Dream than the crass fabrication knows as Las Vegas. I will be painting my vision of this dream onto of this vast desert canvas by projecting 1,000 images onto the side of my motor home. Long live the American Dream and the freedom to create it!
Feel free to share your personal vision of the “American Dream” by posting your reply below.
A final thought from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson that is fitting for the Festival –
“When the going gets weird the weird turn pro.”
I expect to be very professional.
Addendum/Update – I had an amazing and moving experience during the seven days I participated in the Burning Man Festival. View highlights and photos from the 2008 Burning Man Festival.