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Mystery Burning Man Bugs Are 'Finito' (But Blogger Still Scratchy)

Move along, hipsters -- nothing to see here (but bring the diethyltoluamide just in case).

All the cool kids of San Francisco can come off high alert now. According to the Burning Man blog, the mysterious infestation of bugs at the Nevada site of the famous annual event is over.

Burning Man blogger John Curley wrote in a new post, titled “Bugs, What Bugs?” that “the bugs are gone.”

“Okay, not every last stinking one of them, but pretty much. The swarms have dried up and blown away. People are working unmolested. Nature has run its course,” he wrote. “[The bugs] were simply here to play their part in the natural order of things. The smaller get eaten by the larger. The heat ended the infestation as quickly as it appeared, and the inches-high mounds were blown away by the desert wind. Finito.”

Curley then got a little tetchy — maybe the heat is getting to him — about media outlets actually following the story, based on a pretty breathy post (complete with a panoply of gross photos) that he wrote to set off the whole frenzy over the insect invasion earlier this week.

Wrote the former San Francisco Chronicle editor:

It was fascinating to see how the different outlets presented the same basic information, mostly based on the same slim details provided here. We were soooooo happy not to be a part of the 24-hour news cycle, where the identical facts are hashed and rehashed and then regurgitated again. We feel sorry for the lost souls who have to write and rewrite the sketchiest outlines of a story into headlines they hope will grab an eyeball or two. (Attn: lost souls: we say that lovingly; we’ve done the same or worse ourselves, many times.)

Most of the outlets used quotes just plain lifted from the blog. This was supplemented with Twitter posts and pictures. There was little, if any, additional reporting.


So what the hell. It’s fine. It was a good story and lots of fun, even if it did throw a scare into people. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

But it was also predictable. After all, it’s Burning Man. You know, naked hippies high out of their minds, running around looking for the next person to have sex with. Then you add pestilence, and by damn god you’ve got a Biblical tale. God hath wraught fire and brimstone down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a hard one to pass up. And very few outlets did.

Gee, John, us lost souls are so sorry about being so lost and all. But it’s a story about bugs in the summer at Burning Man. This is not a Pulitzers-all-around moment, just a fun one that you yourself started (and probably knew would catch on). Since I had heard it was all so chillax out there on the Playa, you might want to do that.

Meanwhile, I need to go find another silly hipster crisis to chronicle!

This article originally appeared on

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