Wandering Eye: The adventures of dirt-biker Chino Braxton, Burning Man still awful, and more

It’s been true for 15 years, more or less, but it still bears repeating: Burning Man—the Black Rock Desert festival of art and fire—is a gargantuan shit show of preening narcissists and their platoons of stepped-on, $10-an-hour flunkies. Jacobin's Keith Spencer has it right (here in Salon): "Burning Man is earning a reputation as a 'networking event' among Silicon Valley techies, and tech magazines now send reporters to cover it. CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Page of Alphabet are foaming fans, along with conservative anti-tax icon Grover Norquist and many writers of the libertarian (and Koch-funded) Reason magazine. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even went so far as to claim that Burning Man 'is Silicon Valley.'" (And you thought you only had to avoid Bonnaroo.) The piece is interesting for its take on the festival's logistics, which have long been a subject of awe and envy. Spencer notes that the event has had its own airport since 2000, and that ticket prices (tickets?) have soared from $35 in 1994 to $390 this year ("sixteen times the rate of inflation"). He walks right up to the questions: Was this inevitable? What about America makes us ruin everything? And then turns his head, preferring to stick to the regular critique of libertarian fantasists: "The root of Burning Man's degeneration may lie in the concept itself. Indeed, the idea of radical self-expression is, at least under the constraints of capitalism, a right-wing, Randian ideal, and could easily be the core motto of any of the large social media companies in Silicon Valley, who profit from people investing unpaid labor into cultivating their digital representations." Yeah, yeah, all that. But what if the problem is more elemental? What if the American credo of making everything always bigger, better, faster—wow—is the root? What if it's not "grow or die," but "grow AND die"? (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Chino Braxton is a Baltimore dirt biker who has been taken under the wing of Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill and signed to the same label as Meek Mill, Maybach Music Group—not for rapping, mind you, but for his dirt-bike tricks (here is an excellent short documentary put together by Shoe City about Braxton). Recently, Braxton has been on and off tour with Meek Mill, and via his Instagram (@chino_mmg), you can see photos and videos of Braxton riding around Baltimore and, occasionally, the parking lots at major music venues and major roadways around the country. Currently, Braxton's in Los Angeles and yesterday, he posted a series of video clips of his Instagram in which he is popping wheelies and doing other tricks on his bike as he drives through the iconic Los Angeles River (which you might remember from movies such as "Grease," "Terminator 2," and "Drive," among many others). It almost looks like he's floating or something—it's really quite beautiful. (Brandon Soderberg)

 

Uh oh, the shit is hitting the fan at Subway. Weeks after pitchman Jared Fogle, whose story about losing weight on a Subway diet helped propel the chain, pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and crossing state lines to have sex with a minor, a report says the sandwich maker knew of Fogle's conduct as far back as 2008. A former Subway franchisee, Cindy Mills, tells Business Insider she alerted Subway that Fogle had told her "he really liked them young," after previously suggesting she sell herself for sex on Craigslist. "Mills says Fogle admitted to her that he'd had sex with minors, telling her about trysts with child prostitutes between the ages of 9 and 16 years old in Thailand and the U.S." She talked with Jeff Moody, CEO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, about Fogle's comments, and the only thing he did was tell Mills not to worry because Fogle had been dating a woman. "She is a teacher and he seems to love her very much, and we think she will help keep him grounded," Mills recalled him saying. (Brandon Weigel)

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