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Blogger Scott Beale of Laughing Squid has obtained a statement from Paul Addis, the man accused of setting fire to The Man, the wooden statue which provides the Burning Man festival's raison d'etre. Addis, who has a one-man show devoted to the life of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, portrays himself as the spiritual heir of Thompson. "Most of you are newbies who have been drawn in by the semi-religious nature of the event, or maybe just the easy drugs and easier sex," writes Addis to his critics. Well, duh. Here's the rest of what the premature incinerator, released on some $3,000 in bail, has to say for himself from the outskirts of Reno, Nevada:

Hi, folks. This is the *alleged* arsonist/douchebag/attention whore himself, writing you from Fernley, NV, where I have been chilling out for a couple of days.

Having read your various comments, a few things should be addressed. First, this operation was extensively planned well in advance, and the number one thing to Black Rock Intelligence was that NO ONE be hurt. If you people actually knew us, you'd know that we have an extensive background in doing things exactly like this. In fact, we were on the ground for some thirty minutes before ascent, scoping the scene and clearing people in order to minimize any possiblity of injury to others. We were aided by several people who were recruited on the playa the night of this burn (BRI has no idea who they are, so don't bother asking).

Second, the operation was planned in conjunction with the lunar eclipse because Black Rock Intelligence knew that another event at the trash fence would draw the bulk of lunatics to it, rather than to the Man. In fact, one of our peripheral operatives aided in getting as many people to the fence event as possible to help BRI achieve its goal of zero injuries.

Third, word went out across the playa days in advance that Black Rock Intelligence was pulling this op. This word continued to go out right up to the moment that our chief operator began the arduous climb up the guide wire. As you can all see from the results, BRI performed flawlessly in this regard.

We could give a fuck less what you all think of us for doing this. Most of you are newbies who have been drawn in by the semi-religious nature of the event, or maybe just the easy drugs and easier sex. You have nothing to offer the event other than your fucking money and obedience. You spend the rest of your lives in mortal fear of everything that insurance companies tell you to fear, and pretend that you're free and clear because you spend four days at a desert bacchanal where spinelessness is not only encouraged but genetically replicated for implementation in successive generations. In short, you are the swine of which Thompson spoke. Get over yourselves.

Some of us live quite well without fear. Doing so requires the ultimate in what Burning Man used to represent: personal responsibility and individual liberty. That's all been lost in the last decade of Burning Man's history. Consider this operation a history lesson that was desperately needed.

One final note: Black Rock Intelligence has been permanently disbanded. All other operatives have made the ultimate sacrifice by swallowing their L-pills to avoid being captured alive. I am the sole surviving member of BRI and ask that you respect my mourning period for those who gave their lives so that this operation was a complete success.

Paul D. Addis
Fernley, NV

(Statement via Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)