Sunday, March 11, 2012

Burning Man or Davos?

I loved this paragraph in an article by Nick Paumgarten in the New Yorker on Davos. It feels to me like the advantages and distresses that arise in a Burning Man camp, and it is beautifully crafted "a minuet of subtle distinctions" except for "power, money and expertise, hopefully we substitute other qualities for those:

"The most essential variable may be one that Schwab introduced unwittingly, In Davos, he established a a setting for a perpetually subdividing game of status, a minuet of subtle distinctions. There is something almost Warholian in his apparent guilelessness. (Just substitute Tom Friedman, Shimon Peres, and Larry Summers for Edie Sedgwick, Nico, and Rotten Rita.) The anxiety of exclusion pervades. It is the natural complement to the euphoria of inclusion. The tension between self-celebration and self-doubt engenders a kind of social electricity. It is one of those places, like New Orleans, where you may find that you hardly need sleep. After twenty-four frantic hours, I felt as though I had unwittingly walked into an Ecstasy party—why did all these people keep touching each other? (Not literally: collegial as everyone may be, I saw one hug all week, and it was an ironic one.) It’s not the whisper of conspiracy as much as it is the thrum of mutual regard—of proximity to power, money, and expertise. But insecurity sets it all alight."

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