BLACK ROCK CITY, Nev.--If you ever wanted a perfect blend of Internet meme phenomenon meeting a large-scale gathering of its fans and the circumstances that created it, Burning Man provided it on Monday.
For days, the weather here, in the Black Rock Desert of northwestern Nevada has been unusual--cold August daytime temperatures, for example--and extreme, with two days of structure-destroying winds. But on Monday, as thousands of new arrivals passed through the just-opened gates, the skies opened up, the rain fell with vigor, and then, there it was a double rainbow.
As anyone who has been paying attention to the Internet over the last couple of months or so knows, one of the biggest, and most parodied, recent Internet memes is the "Double Rainbow" video (see below), watched by millions of people, in which a man waxes exuberantly about the meaning of the two rainbows dominating the horizon of his view finder.
The video has spawned endless parodies and heartfelt and humorous renditions of it were already a favorite way to get a laugh here in the days before the gate opened, when most of those on site were builders and others involved in preparing for Burning Man's official start on Monday.
So it was perfectly inevitable that when the rain came, and a beautiful double rainbow appeared on the southern side of the desert floor, with the stunning Trego mountain behind it lit up by the sun, hundreds of people in all directions began chanting the words from the famous video, and everywhere you turned you could hear it: "A double rainbow, a double rainbow...what does it mean?"