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Burning Down the Temple: Religion and Irony in Black Rock City

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If there is any communal rite of passage at Burning Man, it is the Temple Burn on Sunday night, the event’s finale. Not everyone comes out for this event; some would rather dance to techno music or chat up a neighbor on the next bar stool instead of joining tens of thousands of Burners sitting on the ground quietly waiting for the temple to burn down, taking all their messages and their pain—they hope—with it.

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