Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Friday, November 30, 2001
RB raps on The Todd Mundt Show
Yesterday, the Todd Mundt show (which airs on many NPR stations) ran an interview with me. Mundt is a great guy and clearly liked the book. Also, I got to stretch out a bit here, as the format was very relaxed.
Todd talks with business and technology writer Christopher Locke about "gonzo marketing". Locke explains how companies can use the Internet as a successful marketing tool by connecting with online communities, and showing them that the company shares their interests. He argues that this will quickly increase profit. His book is "Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices".
You can listen to the RealAudio file here.

10:01 AM | link |

Sunday, November 25, 2001
Winer on BigCo
"It's real. There really is a BigCo mentality. It even creeps into SmallCo's. Gotta love it, but be cursed if you live it. Not a good lifestyle if you want to do cool shit."

Little does Dave know, but he's writing prose here! It's tight, it's good, why hell, it's almost poetry. Those last two sentences comprise an iamb, two dactyls, a paradiddle and a rimshot.

5:38 PM | link |

Waeguk is not a soup
Thank god. Describing his neighborhood in Korea, the author impressively works in high-literary terms like "frisson" and "mucoidal" -- OK, so the latter is maybe high-medical -- then drops gems like "farmer blows" and "horking" on us. A masterful command of the language, even if pressed into disgusting service by this self-described grumpy old bastard. "All in all," he blogs, "a refreshing early morning stroll. I live in hell." What a pleasure to read good writing once in a while, even if it does make you want to puke.

10:13 AM | link |

The Magnificent Melting Object
Blogging as Bead Game. Dream images a little to the left of Dada, but a subtler subterfuge. Juxtapositions to die for. Wait for it...

10:12 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Publishers Weekly Reviews Gonzo Marketing
"...frequent dead-end tangents" they say, and "hopeless self-indulgence." You know, that reminds me of a story. Except first, I need to explain a little about the goats I was raising in the Catskill mountains in 1971. I was doing a lot of acid back then too, and sometimes I would get the goats confused with the trees. Did you ever try to milk a tree? But wait... what was I just talking about?

12:16 AM | link |

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
Worst Photo of RB Ever
I have old driver's licenses with less scary pictures on them. This is embarrassing. When he saw this one, Doc said I looked like I belonged on money. And what's that fucking BUMP on my head? Don't bother with the text either -- Ford recently undid everything good I said about them. Assholes.

11:54 PM | link |

Another Gauntlet Thrown Down!
John Robb writes: "Celebrity blogmatch. Although I don't have celebrity in this particular community, I probably have as many major media quotes as any of the potential contenders (which should qualify me for entry). Anyone want to take me on? You pick the topic (within reason) and let the contest begin. This is great: online mind vs. online mind."

OK, now I'm going offline. Gotta stop this shit and get some sleep!

11:19 PM | link |

Appearing Now on a Radio Station Near You
Just spent an hour talking with Jesse Berst about Gonzo Marketing on BerstAlert Radio. You no doubt remember Jesse from ZDnet's AnchorDesk, which is rumored to have had something like two million subscribers during his tenure. It was a good conversation.

As of right now, I'm out of here until Sunday, then off to give a talk in DC next week (the base site is here -- what a dumbass use of frames!) Anyway, I probably won't be packing, so I may be invisible for awhile. Fear not, though. I'll still be fomenting plenty of mayhem. News at 11. Blog on...

10:34 PM | link |

Dave Blogs BlogMatch!
I didn't think he'd do it (see below), but I'll be damned: blogging's favorite badass teddybear came through!
Julian Bond's Celebrity Blogmatch. I'm not sure how it works, but if I say something about weblogs here, I guess it shows up over there. Is it based on RSS? Julian says not yet, but maybe sooon. Can his server handle the flow? Will his page rise to the top of Daypop? What do the opinions of two bloggers matter in this crazy world we live in? And will the wienerboys show up? So many questions. BTW, the correct motto is "It's even worse than it appears."
To supply some needed (???) context (???), I wrote in an EGR send this morning:
By the way, don't forget to VOTE at the bottom of the page. While Winer did give his (increasingly papal) blessing to this page, I have a sneaking suspicion he's not going to mention it on his own blog. If he does, I'm fucked. Dave is the undisputed (until now) 800-pound gorilla of blogspace. If he sends over the 32 billion people who read scripting.com, I'm gonna take a fall. Please do what you can to prevent this unseemly eventuality. The tattered remnants of my reputation are at stake. Oh, and it goes without saying (almost), them what has bloggers should BLOG THIS MATCH!

...and possibly: The Case for Personal Web Publishing

This recent interview with Winer introduces him as "the godfather of Weblogging." Not without cause. He's also a tricky bastard, using this opportunity to articulate some deceptively cogent ideas. This is no doubt to distract from the picture topping the article, in which he bears an uncanny resemblance to either Osama bin Laden or Britney Spears in Hasidic drag. Ask yourself: why is this man smiling?

Your search - "Britney Spears in Hasidic drag" - did not match any documents.
I think we can legitimately conclude from this that Winer is running a deeply covert operation.

10:12 PM | link |

The C.G. Jung Page
A cool review of Gonzo Marketing from an unsuspected source. Well... you probably weren't expecting it anyway.
"Jungian Analyst Wolfgang Giegerich said that the pursuit of profit is today's overarching myth, and Christopher Locke provides an extraordinarily insightful look at the world of marketing, profit-making, and profit-losing -- always with a keen sense of business in changing historical and psychological contexts. His writing is always lively and lucid, and he's sometimes so much fun to read -- and the current is so swift -- that it's possible to miss the deeply layered intelligence he brings to our time and place."
Also, page down just a bit for some links to my twisted sister, Liz.

2:47 PM | link |

I love the fire. Go check out Shelley's "blogmother" picks.
"Within these things called weblogs there are gems of creativity and brilliance that take my breath away. There's writing that's so good that I feel gifted with the words.

Sometimes the people who write the weblogs are known; most of the time, they aren't. Doesn't matter, though. All that should matter is the writing. It's the words that count -- everything else is just fluff, sparkle, and zazz.

I respect the women on my suggested "blogmother" list because they were gutsy, take no prisoners type of women. They blow the doors off a fucking white bread and vanilla custard man like Samuel Johnson.

Sisters, I let you down. I let me down.

2:01 PM | link |

Monday, November 19, 2001
Voidstar Mounts Celebrity Blogmatch
Julian Bond writes: "Celebrity Blogmatch is almost live. See the demo here." This is one you won't want to miss, trust me. Hours of fun for the whole family!

6:56 PM | link |

Saltire introduces The Blogfathers
Steve MacLaughlin writes: "After some reflection and input by Chris Locke I've added another Blogfather to my original dynamic duo." The rogues gallery grafik of Samuel Pepys, Samuel Johnson and Ben Johnson must be seen to be appreciated. I suppose many will object (starting with myself) that the lineup is radically missing any Blogmothers. Taking candidates over here. Send in your nominations. One possible contender is Lady Murasaki, who predates the guys by quite a goodly span. Or perhaps, closer to the day of Steve's Big-Three Blogfathers, Jane Austen.

10:49 AM | link |

Sunday, November 18, 2001
What Are Webheads?
Dave Winer writes: "Continuing the What Are Weblogs thread -- weblogs are relational writing, that's why it is so close, if you're serious about it, to academic writing. Almost everything on this page relates one thing to one or several other things. Academic writing is supposed to be that way, but it was hard work before the Web."

Four very key ideas. Let's go through them one by one.

  1. "...weblogs are relational writing, that's why it is so close, if you're serious about it, to academic writing."
    There are two things I want most in life. The first is to be taken seriously. The second is to be mistaken for an academic. No wait, there are three. The third is to set my hair on fire.

  2. "Almost everything on this page relates one thing to one or several other things."
    Personally, I have never had any trouble relating one thing to one or more other things. In fact, on reflection, I can't think of anything that doesn't do this almost automatically. I like to think I'm helping to create these relationships, but perhaps that's just a form of hubris.

  3. "Academic writing is supposed to be that way..."
    I suppose you're right. That is to say, rather than frame an interrogatory, I accept your suppository.

  4. "...but it was hard work before the Web."
    And now it's a piece of cake! Good thing everything works like it's supposed to, and I don't have to keep 314 edit buffers open and juggle 95 browser windows and try to remember where I stashed 13 million three hundred and twelve fucking bookmarks while I'm trying to remember why I'm even doing this.
Dave, can I ask you a question? When you say "...of course no one but me is going to be willing to put so much time into it," you don't really mean for it to sound that way, do you?

12:01 AM | link |

Saturday, November 17, 2001
True-Life Spam - First in a Series
Only slighty modified from how it arrived in my mailbox. Click on image for perpetrator.

11:19 PM | link |

The Holy Modal Rounders
Ah, those were the days, no? I only heard the Rounders on records, floatin' around on a belladonna cloud, etc. But I did go see the Fugs once on the Lower East Side. Tuli Kupferburg looked like he'd just crawled out from under a bush in Upper Volta or someplace. He had this stick about five feet long, all covered with bottlecaps and shit, which he would bang on the stage every once in a while to some rhythm he was getting from I think Alpha Centauri. He appeared to have taken quite a bit of acid before the performance.
"One of the reasons I felt so weird about him before I met him was because he wrote this piece of filthy doggerel for a mimeographed zine called 'Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts,' which Sanders was doing. It was a very daring name back in 1962. He has these notes on the contributors in the back and he described Weber as having written this poem after an all-night sexual romp in the Central Park Zoo. I believed it! Sanders would make up things like that and people like me would say 'Wow, what a free spirit.' To fuck a gazelle all night long in the zoo. I'm sure he would have if the gazelle had been friendly."
This was before I worked at MCI and IBM, of course.

11:13 PM | link |

The Bombast Transcripts: Rants & Screeds of RageBoy®
"In more ways than one," says the Amazon blurb, "Chris Locke has raised a godawful racket on the Net. Under his alter-egotistical nom de plume, RageBoy, and through his webzine, Entropy Gradient Reversals, he has entertained and enlightened thousands of readers from some of the world's largest companies, governments, and institutions -- including those from which he's managed to escape."

Take a wild guess who wrote that. I dunno, though. Maybe I should hire a decent PR outfit to flog this puppy. Right now it's in the shitter. Amazon Sales Rank: 873,201. Of course, it won't be out till January, so maybe that's not so bad. Who knows? Here's a clip from one of the bits called "Signs and Portents."

Awash in panic. Alone in my cabin in the high Rockies, I had clearly eaten too many of the innocuous looking little mushrooms, and now I was veering out of control, alarms triggering down every internal subsystem, neural klaxons going off like explosions, each calling for more adrenaline. Suddenly removed from the sky, white clouds, impossible summer sunshine, mountain air: all were mocking, distant, alien. Lost between heaven and earth, I was falling headlong into the wreckage I'd created of my life. Unable to hide, to beg forgiveness, to continue living.

I stumbled out from the cabin to my truck, testing just how self-conscious is was possible to be. Deeply embarrassed by the trees, so obviously belonging there unlike my stupid interloping self. What was I thinking to have come here, done this? And how would I survive the next eight hours? A meaningless temporal division in a life so abruptly terminated. More to distract from my patent doom than anything else, I slotted a tape into the deck and hit the play button, closed my eyes.

It took forever for anything to happen after that. Hell is for eternity, just as they say. Curious that Pat Metheny was in hell along with me, plus someone on vibes, a drummer heavy into cymbals, a piano. Maybe it was "As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls"; that was the right year, 1981. The music began as random sound, unbearable, without purpose or direction. I thought to turn it off, but my hand was so far away it was not responding. More panic! I was paralyzed, gripped by iron bonds of aimless yet inevitable consequence. Nothing was worth doing. Yes, I could move my hand if I really wanted to, but why bother? What would it prove, cut off from the human race forever, sitting alone in some automotive contraption on the side of some random mountain in East Jesus Colorado, that I could turn a cassette tape player off? Nothing. I slipped deeper into whatever lethargy had stoned my heart and sapped my will and tried not to fear the fear any more than it seemed to be demanding as its due. I blanked and disappeared. Then back then gone again.

The noise of the music was all there was, and maddening interminable time. Because there was nothing else to do I found myself watching the notes unfurl. I remember noticing the stereo was much better than usual. As I blindly drifted closer, each bit of sound took on a shape, an iridescent color, almost a personality. They were moving against each other as if confused, searching for some better arrangement. Then, wait -- even though all was lost, though nothing mattered -- this was very nearly interesting. They were forming into patterns, then falling back apart. Hard to describe the constellation this created. It held yet shifted, twisted, flowed, like the edge of a Mandelbrot set, fractal recursion collapsing in on itself only to repeat, the same yet different on every iteration. Like rattlesnakes suddenly in fallen leaves. Because of this movement my vision was drawn to something larger that the local piece was just a part of, and in that moment the music shifted focus, dropped into gear and somehow opened to reveal a huge ring of synchronized diamond fire hanging in black space, beginning to turn, to glow, to become one whole and living, breathing mandala. Sharp edged, terrible, immediate, real. Beauty beyond all pain and sorrow. Not of myself or other either: original face.

Nothing left, I rode the music right on through forever and was almost thrown again when it began to slow and faded, finally ending. "Fifty- five..." someone called out matter-of-factly on the tape. And in the far background, "...let's do it again," then laughter. They know, I thought, amazed I hadn't seen it sooner. Skillful brothers and sisters always bring you through.

I opened the truck door and got out. The clouds had massed the sky and the wind come up. My eyes were liquid with ancient knowledge, and the world they took in was no longer outside. I opened my hands to the earth. I breathed and stretched, a certain animal once more. So good to be back.


4:04 PM | link |

E V H E A D - plug & pay
"Got my copy of Gonzo Marketing yesterday and tore into it a bit. It's great so far. Go buy it. (And I'm not just saying that to thank Chris for the free copy... I also want the referal fee. ;)" You can rest assured, Ev, the check is in the mail. Our little secret.

2:00 PM | link |

Trouble in Italy
So I'm reading Dr. Weimeraner's latest issue and I come across this reference to Massimo Moruzzi and his dot-coma weblog. I click on the link, naturally; I can't help myself anymore. And what do I find there? A personal note to myself: "Hey, Chris: these losers keep on clickin' -- but..."

Man, this shit is making me paranoid! I'm going back to bed. But you say you want "a cool, flashy banner ad"? OK. I don't know how "cool" it is. But then, context is everything, no? La dolce vita, baby...

11:42 AM | link |

The Bloody Flux of Lombardy
Did you ever get the Sneaking Suspicion that People were making Fun of you behind your Back? Perhaps we need to rethink this whole Blogging Concept. Without naming any Names, let me say that Certain Individuals apparently have little Regard for the Truth, thinking Nothing of compounding the most Outrageous Lies & Falsehoods. This ruins it for Everybody! Forthwith, a Prime Example...

Gargantua's Discourse on Bum Wiping

I have, said Gargantua, by a long and curious experience, found out a means to wipe my ass, the most lordly, the most excellent, and the most convenient that ever was seen.

What is that, said Grandgousier, his father, how is it?

I will tell you by and by, said Gargantua. Once I did wipe me with a gentlewoman's velvet mask, and found it to be good; for the softness of the silk was very voluptuous and pleasant to my fundament. Another time with one of their hoods, and in like manner that was comfortable. At another time with a lady's neckerchief, and after that I wiped myself with some earpieces of hers made of crimson satin, but there was such a number of golden spangles in them (turdy round things, a pox take them) that they fetched away all the skin of my tail with a vengeance. Now I wish St. Anthony's fire burn the bum-gut of the goldsmith that made them! This hurt I cured by wiping myself with a page's cap, garnished with a feather, after the Switzers' fashion.

Afterwards, in dunging behind a bush, I found a March-cat, and with it I wiped my breech, but her claws were so sharp that they scratched and exulcerated all my perinee. Of this I recovered the next morning thereafter by wiping myself with my mother's gloves, of a most excellent perfume and scent of Arabian Benin. After that I wiped myself with sage, with fennel, with anet, with marjoram, with roses, with gourd leaves, with beets, with colewort, with leaves of the vine tree, with mallows, wool-blade, which is a tail-scarlet, with lettuce and with spinach leaves. All this did very great good to my leg. Then with mercury, with parsley, with nettles, with comfrey, but that gave me the bloody flux of Lombardy, which I healed by wiping me with my braguette. Then I wiped my tail in the sheets, in the coverlet, in the curtains, with a cushion, with arras hangings, with a green carpet, with a table cloth, with a napkin, with a handkerchief, with a combing cloth; in all which I found more pleasure than do the mangy dogs when you rub them.

Yea, but, said Grandgousier, which torchecul did you find to be the best?

I was coming to that, said Gargantua, and by and by you shall hear the tu autem, and know the whole mystery and know of the matter. I wiped myself with hay, with straw, with thatch-rushes, with flax, with wool, with paper, but...

Who his foul tail with paper wipes,
Shall at his ballocks leave some chips.

What, said Grandgousier, my little rogue, hast thou been at the pot, that thou dost rhyme already?

Yes, yes, my lord the king, answered Gargantua, I can rhyme gallantly, and rhyme till I become hoarse with rheum.

...now I prithee, said Grandgousier, go on in this torcheculatif, or bum-wipatory discourse.

Afterwards, I wiped my ass, said Gargantua, with a kerchief, with a pillow, with a pantoufle, with a pouch, with a pannier, but that was a wicked and unpleasant torchcul; then with a hat. Of hats, note, that some are shorn, and others shaggy, some velveted, others covered with taffities, and others with satin. The best of all these is the shaggy hat, for it makes a very neat abstertion of the fecal matter. Afterwards, I wiped my tail with a hen, a cock, with a pullet, with a calf's skin, with a hare, with a pigeon, with a cormorant, with an attorney's bag, with a montero, with a coif, with a falconer's lure. But to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail napkins, bung-hole cleansers, and wipe breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose that is well downed, if you hold her neck betwixt you legs. And believe me therein upon mine honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard to the softness of the said down, and the temperate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut, and the rest of the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their Asphodel, Ambrosia or Nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this, according to my judgement, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.

This is simply unacceptable. It will not stand! Unfortunately, it seems to have been going on for some time now, as the above example was written nearly 500 years ago. Well, I say half a millennium is quite enough! What the Internet needs right now is a healthy dose of good old fashioned censorship to rid the world of such terrible filth and keep our beloved media empires safe from textual terrorism.

3:05 AM | link |

Friday, November 16, 2001
More Efficient Drug Testing
Dave's post of this morning, What are weblogs?, was fine as far as it went. But what seemed to be missing in those level-headed definitions -- to my twisted head anyway -- was any sense of humor, fun, absurdity, surrealism, lunacy, derangement, folly, preposterousness, irrationality, nonsense, balderdash, blatherskite, bunkum, bullshit, and divine madness. In short, those qualities that continue to make life worth living. In shorter still: gonzo. This gaping lacuna in our collective notions of fogbloggery makes me like all the more what Shelley writes here...
I find that I read Chris Locke (aka Rageboy) on a fairly regular basis, and have recommended his weblog to other people. I don't always understand exactly what he's saying, or why he's saying it, but it's usually interesting and he has a lovely way with words. Not surprising considering that he's a published author with two successful books and a third on the way. Not Harry Potter successful, but most likely keeping him in his preferred vices.

As I was reading his weblog a couple of days ago, I decided that his writing is a test of some form. It's either a test of openess, and disassociated thinking, possible intelligence and humor. Or it's a new and more efficient drug test that doesn't require a cup -- if you understand what Chris says all the time you've got to be stoned.

Regardless, I need to have a little more fun with my weblog, be less serious, indulge in a little more disassociated thinking. Weblogs should be a place where we try something new.

For the record, Chris often doesn't understand what he writes himself. And he doesn't get stoned. Anymore.

5:45 PM | link |

Amazon 2001 Editors' Choice: Business
"Hundreds of business and investing books have crossed my desk this year," writes Amazon Business & Investing editor, Harry C. Edwards. "Below is a list of my favorites." Gonzo Marketing comes in at #4 after Good to Great by Jim Collins (#1), Jack Welch's Straight from the Gut (#2), and The Essential Drucker (#3). In the Amazon review, Timothy Murphy writes:
Truth be told, Locke seems more like a social critic or humanist at heart than a marketing consultant, and his essential disdain for corporations (which are anti-human, he declares, despite all their philanthropic tootle) leaves the reader wondering whether he really wants e-commerce to effectively pervade the Web's truly democratic, populist microcommunities for its own purposes. As his wonderfully cranky cult Web zine, Entropy Gradient Reversals, and his alter ego therein, RageBoy, have proven, the man's a smart, witty, broadly read cyberpundit. In Gonzo Marketing, he tweaks everyone from Disney, Time Warner AOL, and IBM to fellow biz-book writers like Seth Godin (Permission Marketing), and if you read it first for its own eclectic, acerbic delights and second for a postboom e-marketing primer, you'll be rightly pleased.

Gonzo Marketing was also ranked #5 on Computers & Internet editor Brooke Gilbert's Amazon Editors' Choice 2001: Digital Business and Culture hit parade, sandwiched between some very fine books by Steven Johnson, Steven Levy, Linus Torvalds, Larry Lessig, and Michael Lewis. Collect the whole set!

There are a couple full-text chapters of Gonzo on the book site, if you want to check it out. Or click on the Gonzo Engaged grafik to go to a multi-way "partyblog" discussion, already in progress...

12:28 PM | link |

JOHO the Blog
Dr. WeimeranerDavid Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and perpetrator of JOHO (The Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization), has finally, like myself (after the prerequisite "waiting period" [read: much kicking and screaming]), decided to traverse the shining path illuminated by another Cluetrain co-author: the Wizard of Blogs himself, Doc Searls.

David writes:

I'm probably overdue to update this weblog since the last update was, let's see, November 20, 1999!

Yeah, I tried this weblogging thing two years ago. But it's not how I like to write. I like to let things sit before I show them to people. Yes, I recently finished writing a book in public, posting each day's draft at a public web site (www.smallpieces.com). But I was very uncomfortable doing it. The feedback made it worthwhile, but showing people what I'd written but not revised made me feel as good as getting a rectal exam in a Macy's store window.

And who wouldn't pay to see something like that? At any rate, check him out. Weinberger provides thoughtful takes on important issues, and can even be funny when he's not foaming at the mouth. The main difference between David and myself is that I'm funniest when I am foaming at the mouth. That is, in my humble opinion. Which, of course, not everyone shares. As Dr. Weimeraner writes in his tagline: "Let's just see how it goes."

9:51 AM | link |

Thursday, November 15, 2001
Defending Your Freedom
Petition to the President and Senators of the United States: "We need to consider proposals calmly and deliberately with a determination not to erode the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the American way of life.... We need to ensure that actions by our government uphold the principles of a democratic society, accountable government and international law, and that all decisions are taken in a manner consistent with the Constitution."

4:19 PM | link |

Keep the Faith
Martin Jensen wonders what we all have wondered, one time or another: "I write what I don't even know if anyone will read, so it's fundamentally an act of faith." I know the feeling. But you never know who might resonate with the next idea and the particular way you cast it. Bread upon the waters.

1:36 PM | link |

The First Writing-Machines
Here's Mark Twain discovering the latest writing tech of his day. Reminds me a bit of our recent speculations about blogging: "Nasby and I saw the machine through a window, and went in to look at it. The salesman explained it to us, showed us samples of its work, and said it could do fifty- seven words a minute -- a statement which we frankly confessed that we did not believe.... The price of the machine was $125. I bought one, and we went away very much excited."

12:11 PM | link |

Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa
"These were, as officials knew, widespread stories, which showed great similarities and considerable differences over a wide geographic and cultural area." Word travels. Sound familiar?

1:58 AM | link |

The Junior Woodchuck Guide to The Lost Art of Bloggery

further details

12:37 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

4:13 PM | link |

Words of Wisdom from Crazy-assed Cross-eyed Baldheaded Polish Bastard
"Godot is not coming," Marek writes. "We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are giving birth to new possibilities in the shared spaces of conversations. Maybe, the phenomenon is the Golden Age of Digital Renaissance and we are declaring it ourselves by unfolding the spaces in the Clouds made of small pieces loosely joined." (btw, that last is an allusion to David Weinberger's forthcoming book -- more about which soon enough.)

When he entered through Customs, Marek reportedly said he had "something to declare," though a strip search revealed nothing. Baffled, the officials told him he was free to go -- whereupon, he headed dutifully (and duty-free) for the men's room. In related news, Marek's blog was recently acquired by Joe's Brake and Lube Centers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

3:19 PM | link |

blogdex - "not immediately apparent"
Meg sends mail today asking if I'm aware of blogdex -- if DAYPOP was news to me, then it's reasonable to assume blogdex would be too. She writes: "Blogdex is done by a guy named Cameron Marlow over at MIT who's very interested in memic propogation. That's basically why he's started Blogdex."

I haven't been to the site for awhile, but just checked the page linked above and... viola! Very cool. More evidence of the "propagation and amplification" effects unique to blogspace. On the same theme, here's how Gonzo Marketing ends:

While the reasons the gonzo model is necessary and inevitable may be complex, the method is simple. Hook up, connect, co-create, procreate. Redeploy. Foment joy. Brothers in arms, sisters of Avalon, champions of the world get to work.

10:18 AM | link |

Fishing the River for Poetry
"I am almost to the New Mexico border where the sign says 'Leaving Colorado,' and then in about twenty feet there's another sign saying 'Welcome to New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment.' I always wonder about that place in between the signs. 17 is a rural mountain road circling above the River Chama. Just after climbing the Cumbres Pass I come to a bend in the road and my Toyota 4-Runner skids on loose gravel, going out of control. I remember facing the wrong direction on the edge of the cliff. At that moment, time stopped. It was as if there was no further movement. I don't remember hitting rock or flipping off the edge of the cliff...."

2:50 AM | link |

A Richer Brew
The Twilight Zone"As I was putting this together," Tom Matrullo writes, "Locke blogged some thoughts which seem germane to the vein being explored here." The thoughts he refers to constitute my BLOGSPACE bit below. In mail alerting me to his richer brew and it's "synchronous thoughts," Tom adds that there's "something uncanny about this." Yeah. Something is coalescing here, emerging and converging toward some as-yet-unnamed phenomenon we're all trying to describe. Perhaps the uncanny part is that -- whatever it is -- it's using our voices to announce its arrival.

1:15 AM | link |

Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Toward a tentative theory of BLOGSPACE

On Saltire, Steve MacLaughlin links and recaps many of the threads that have contributed to the reconsideration of what has certainly become a perennial question: "What the hell is a blog, anyway?" As further evidence of this, Jim (of the eponymous jimslog) writes:
The recent flurry of meta weblog discussion continues. Why this is happening now is unclear to me. Is it just the linguistic gas supplied by Chris Locke?

While I'm gassed that Jim would think so, I find it more interesting that many definitions tend to be reductive. Look for words and phrases like "simply" and "really just" and "nothing but," which usually signal such reductions. A blog is simply a diary. A blog is really just a journal. A blog is nothing but a web page. For instance, Steve writes in part:

Blogging is simply history repeating itself, except this time the technology is just more sophisticated. People have really been blogging since the beginning of time in one form or another. Call them meme's, call them diaries, call them journals -- call them whatever you want. Whatever the term, the one common denominator is that blogs offer an individual's perspective and observations of the world around them.
Was Chaucer, therefore a proto-blogger? Was Rabelais and Boccaccio? I think there is merit in this view. It provides, as Steve suggests, a critical element of cultural continuity. In Gonzo Marketing I wrote:
Nearly 20 years ago, standing at a Tokyo news kiosk, I read an interview with Keith Richards in which he said he saw Mick Jagger and himself as being in direct line of descent from antique bards and medieval troubadours. In place of "Let It Bleed" and "Sympathy For the Devil," I suddenly flashed on the lyric poet-musicians of the 12th century, on Beowulf, Homer, and even further back to bones and rattles and skin drums around some Neolithic campfire.
But... (stick with me here, this is going somewhere. I think.)

Although Steve's post cites (i.e., hyperlinks) contributions to this "thread" -- very loosely construed as such -- from Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Tom Matrullo, and myself, he misses important entries in the conversation from Mike Sanders, J.D. Lasica and others quickly becoming too numerous to mention.

The point is not to fault Steve's citations, but rather to surface the significance of the too-numerous-to-mention dynamic, which seems to be an inherent quality of blogspace. And which, I think, begins to provide some kind of delta from other forms -- both online and off -- that blogs do not so easily reduce to.

Perhaps a recent exchange -- or more accurately, a non-exchange -- with my friend and co-author David Weinberger will make this more concrete. It did for me. Last week, I sent the following mail to Doc Searls, Dave Winer. Robert Scoble, Tom Matrullo, Eric Norlin, Marek, Martin Jensen, Elizabeth Locke (my sister), and David Weinberger.

Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2001 8:50 AM
Subject: language: it's a virus

Fully realizing that your mileage may vary, I nonetheless ask you, pretty please, to propagate and amplify:

Sex, Lies and... Marketing
Call it whatever you will. The "meme" debate is a red herring. A McGuffin. For them what may need it:
But whatever you call it, I guess it proves what William Burroughs propagated and Laurie Anderson amplified -- language: it's a virus.

perhaps one of you could fwd this to Mike Sanders -- don't have his address, though much of that screed is addressed to him. ;-)

with best regards all round,


After several folks (Dave, Doc, Tom, Eric, Martin, Marek) had replied to the full send list, David Weinberger wrote: "Please remove me from future sends on this topic, whatever the fuck this topic is."

Please understand that David's not a dumb guy. Far from it. (Not as dumb as he looks anyway.) Although he had not been a part of the discussion up to that point, I included him thinking these were issues he had some interest in (in fact, I know they are).

I wrote back to David: "Well, I was looking for a little SUPPORT, actually" (as Winer was kicking my ass bigtime, and I was looking for ammo to kick his ass back; etc., so it goes.)

And David replied: "Support for WHAT? I have no idea what the two of you are on about or why I'm on this mailing list. Or why anyone else is. Or why that particular set of people is."

However -- the plot thickening, as plots will -- at the same time that Weinberger was basically going "HUH??? WTF???," the cluetrain list -- of which David is a regular denizen -- was awash in these very same issues. Note two things here:

  1. The cluetrain list was discussing these questions largely BECAUSE they'd first been surfaced in BLOGSPACE. In fact, several members of the list who span both "worlds" (Tom Matrullo, Doc Searls, Marek J., Eric Norlin, etc) seem to have propagated (and amplified) these questions from blogspace to listspace -- plus weblogger Robert Scoble seems to have joined the cluetrain list during this same period.

  2. David Weinberger had no idea where this sudden upsurge of blog discussion had come from -- the very discussion I was pointing him into the heart of -- because David is not tuned in to blogspace.
Now, before Weinberger (properly: Dr. Weimeraner) starts sputtering on account of me picking on him here, let me hasten to say that, until last week, I wasn't tuned in to blogspace either. Yes, I had a blogger (the same one this is showing up on), but it was merely/simply/just/nothing more than a static bulletin board for random thoughts. Then I started thinking about Doc's notions about blogrolling, Eric Norlin turned me on to DAYPOP (I tend to be a very late adopter), and a light bulb went off in my head. I wrote to my EGR zine list about a little experiment I was hatching. You can read the whole plan here. A clip:
Actually, what interests me most about weblogs is (you should forgive the expression), memic propagation and amplification. And if there's one thing that EGR (and by extension, or implosion, or somesuch, RB) gets off on, it's... that's right, you guessed it: memic propagation and amplification.

"This is evil genius stuff," Doc wrote later, "and nobody is better at it than RageBoy."

Are you confused yet? If not, you're probably a weblogger. If so, you're probably not. Trying to explain to David Weinberger a) WHAT had happened that I thought he might find significant, b) WHY he might find it significant, and c) precisely HOW it had happened, would be like trying to tell a stranger about rock & roll. Or a blind man about the color of an orange. What I was trying to point David to was like a "location joke" -- you had to be there.

The complexity of blogspace -- and the immersive engagement this complexity calls for -- are closely related to something I wrote about in Gonzo Marketing:

...this exercise smacks of what anthropologist Clifford Geertz calls "thick description." Using a complicated tale about sheep and thieves and justice and the lack of it in colonial North Africa in 1912, he demonstrates that any time we attempt to describe "a particular event, ritual, custom, idea, or whatever," we end up spinning stories about other people�s stories about yet other people�s stories, and sorting it all out becomes next to impossible. It�s a rich tapestry, and thick description, while it may seem confusing, often comes closer to what�s actually going on than would "thin description" -- the kind of succinct clear-cut abstraction that appears perfectly plausible, but totally distorts reality. Not that I'm claiming any methodological rigor in these musings, but the thickness I'm attempting to suggest is what music and painting and literature -- what we roughly call The Arts -- typically point to. And what the specialized languages of logic and science and business typically do not. It�s a Zen sort of thing you could say. I could say; who�s to stop me? Finger indicating moon-illuminated finger. The thickness of life as life is lived between the inexorable poles of birth and death. "Man is an animal suspended," says Geertz, "in webs of significance he himself has spun."

Webs, yes. And although the Big Daddy Web did not exist when that was written, that�s why the choice of quote. That�s where we're headed. It�s where we already are. But wait. Though we have these words for our current situation -- words like Internet and World Wide Web -- it seems to me they obscure at least as much as they explain. Because networks are inherently social realities, any attempt to definitively say what they are becomes immediately suspect. It depends on where you're standing when you look at them, and what sort of baggage you've brought along to the observation deck.

Weblogs are radically nonlinear. In the case of any ordinary webpage, I can give a URL and ask: so whaddya think? The same is pretty much true of a posting or a thread of postings to an email list. But if I say whaddya think about how that [insert x-random-meme here] propagated and amplified through blogspace, it's not so simple. You would've had to have been there to almost sorta feel the reverb.

It'd be a lot like asking: so whaddya think about Islam?

It's not any one post that makes a meme; not any one event that makes a culture. Actually, Winer has it right: it's the cloud of cross-polinating, trans-resonating ideas that has developed in blogspace that makes blogspace different from the web that came before -- and that will create the web that comes after whatever it is we're doing here.

This is some deep shit, bro. Word up.

8:54 PM | link |

Norlin on Life During Wartime
Eric Norlin: PUNK The bio says: "Eric Norlin is a recognized authority on the trends, passions, and impact of the Internet." What it neglects to say is "Eric Norlin is a PUNK!" Just flash on that picture at the top of his column and tell me if you don't agree. The guy looks as if he just escaped from a drug rehab program, and here he is giving investment advice! Who is the real Eric Norlin? He's changed his hairstyle so many times now, I don't know what he looks like...

9:47 AM | link |

Monday, November 12, 2001
In Which I Duke It Out With IBM on Borders.com

"We'll meet on Borders soon, said I,
proud 'neath heated brow..."

OK, OK, I know, yet another bad Dylan quote. Couldn't resist though. (Oh crap, I guess the lyrics say "edges" not "borders." Oh well, fuck it. Close enough for government work.)

Here, I'm quoting myself from a three-round email debate with IBM's John Patrick:

You say the Net is transferring power from institutions to people, and I strongly agree. But that means that it's high time for companies to stop asking how business can use, leverage, exploit, and otherwise take advantage of the Internet -- and to start asking what "the people" are actually using it for. In most cases, the promise we see as "outsiders" is precisely not to become more efficient, friction-free consumers, but instead to become more fully human. As I wrote in my gonzo musings, "We are more than is dreamed in your marketing plan, Horatio."

So, yeah, I freely admit it: I'm far less interested in the bells and whistles of the Next Generation Internet than I am in the quality of mind and heart that will bring about the Next Generation Civilization. Net or not, that's the attitude I care about promoting. Inside or out, that's our ticket to ride.

Click here to read all 3,000 words of this Historic Exchange! (not)

5:48 PM | link |

Rollergirl, Don't Worry
Yesterday, driving, so much to say... then rounding a corner and seeing waterbirds sailing over a pond I'd never noticed on that backroad shortcut to wherever I was headed, hellbent on getting there in time, oblivious. And look! There are mountains here too, and clouds, and sky forever. Always here. Always so much that I forget. But suddenly surprised by the world I wonder how much would I give for one more day if I were dead?

I punch up the radio. Scorpio rising, full moon stereo guitar, and the drummer kicks it.

...she gets rock n roll on a rock n roll station
in a rock n roll dream
she's making movies on location
she don't know what it means
but the music make her wanna be the story
and the story was whatever was the song what it was
rollergirl don't worry...
Alright then. Pay attention. Not dead yet.

4:46 PM | link |

Old Dog, New Tricks
Thanks for all the lovely cards and letters. You guys are too cool!

Special thanks to Sandro Benvegnu for this one.

12:00 PM | link |

Scripting News
Dave writes: "Happy birthday to Chris Locke!" Why, thank you Dave. See, y'all? We've really been pals all along. Just trying to spice things up a bit here in WeblogWorld. <g>

9:01 AM | link |

Long Strange Trip
Must have taken a wrong turn in the bardo, I guess, but how the hell did I end up here?On this date in 1947, I was born. I've been a little confused ever since. The same year, Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, W. H. Auden published The Age of Anxiety, American chemist Willard F. Libby introduced Carbon-14 dating, and Christian Dior announced The New Look. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved.

7:05 AM | link |

Sunday, November 11, 2001
The Assassin's Cloak
Re Doc's Dear Everybody musings of today... I bought this book last week at my local Barnes & Noble store despite the $35 it cost me there. I struggled over the decision, because the only reason I bought it was the analogy I'd been thinking about between blogging and diary writing -- the subtitle is "An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists." The book takes its name from this entry by one William Soutar (whoever the fuck he is): "A diary is an assassin's cloak which we wear when we stab a comrade in the back with a pen." Sounds like the dude was listening to too much O'Jays.
What they do!
They smile in your face
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)
But nevermind all that. Fortunately, the book's entries aren't limited to poison pen letters. More to the point, aside from a certain archaic -- or, in many cases, <ew!>literary</ew!> -- style, I could imagine these bits and pieces having been culled from olden blogs -- <ew!>if they but had blogs in those bygone days. Ah then, more's the pity they did not.</ew!>

None of which is to say I'm coming down definitively on one side or another of the latest how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin debate concerning whether blogs are more like journals, more like diaries, or more like diarrhea. The last option is not my view; just reporting opinions I've heard expressed elsewhere. If I thought that, I would have spent the 35 bucks on Imodium A-D.

6:08 PM | link |

Dueling Ontologies

Did you ever have to finally decide?
Say yes to one and let the other one ride?
There's so many changes and tears you must hide.
Did you ever have to finally decide?

The Lovin' Spoonful
Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?

Yesterday, Dave Winer pointed me -- then all of Scripting News -- to a piece he wrote in May 1997. There, he says in part:

Programmers have a very precise understanding of truth. You can't lie to a compiler. Try it sometime. Garbage in, garbage out. Booleans, the ones and zeros, trues and falses, make up the world programmers live in. That's all there is!
Cleaning out old email files this afternoon, I stumbled across this issue of EGR I wrote almost exactly a year ago -- on the day of the 2000 US elections. Who knew then what was coming? I recycle it here as it seems apropos to the recent round of love/hate push/pull between Dave and I. And to a whole lot more.

...carnival images closely resemble certain artistic
forms, namely the spectacle. In turn, medieval spectacles
often tended toward carnival folk culture, the culture of
the marketplace... But the basic carnival nucleus of this
culture is by no means a purely artistic form nor a
spectacle and does not, generally speaking, belong to the
sphere of art. It belongs to the borderline between art
and life. In reality, it is life itself, but shaped
according to a certain pattern of play.

Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World

The dog trots freely in the street...
and the things he sees
are his reality

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Valued Readers:

I sing mere anarchy loosed. Of wildness and wilderness. Of a deeper ignorance too long ignored.

We own however much of the world we can embrace, maybe even understand -- not in an analytic way, but by feeling deeper into some magic that is beyond understanding. We create maps and visions, work them out in our heads -- constructs to show each other. Here, do you see? This is a picture of how it works. We begin with bare diagrams, flowcharts, abstract models. See? we say, do you see how this part mates to that? How the pieces fit together?

But not until we are able to populate the streets of these models, see exhausted workers, dreaming lovers, posturing punks and preening fashion plates walking their byways and back alleys, cops on the beat and shifty characters dodging into doorways, proud hookers and disapproving matrons sizing each other up, retired bankers reading the day's news over coffee, girlfriends giggling over you can only wonder what, shopkeepers hawking fruit and fish, children running, calling to each other, dogs sniffing at curbs and hydrants -- not until then does evening fall and the wheel of night begin to slowly turn, the eyes of the statues opening once again. Only then does the bare abstraction open into carnival.

Culture is a palimpsest. We write over it, over and over. It must not be too dear, too untouchable. The smoke from the Alexandrian library is our wealth, our burnt and blinded legacy. More where that came from. Nostalgia for the past is the beginning of the end of heroism. Museums preserve what once was. For those cut off, for those who no longer touch the earth or dirty their hands with the fallingdown world. When everything has a price, nothing is precious.

Homage hidden between the lines, sampled and reworked into something we can recognize, as if for the first time. The civilizations of the Australian dreamtime, of Egypt and Africa, of China, India, Greece, the Aztecs, Incas, Maya, Navaho, Hopi, Sioux. Pyramids, temples, holy roads and rivers, sacred forest spaces, gateways through which the spirit of the people opened into the infinite. All these were created with a fraction of the power we command today -- godlike knowledge, inconceivable wealth, technologies indistinguishable from magic. And what have we created with this power? What monuments have we erected to the imagination of our race? McDonald's, Yahoo, Disney World. Absurd simulacra bought with the ransom of 10,000 kings.

But it is not over. Not some cheap trip down memory lane. We do what we do and will continue. We do what the world asks of us when it gets no answer elsewhere.

Take heart.

3:26 PM | link |

reading & writing
Joseph Duemer blogs the following. Disclaimer: this is the first I've heard of the guy (i.e., I didn't put him up to it; no payola). But I'll certainly be going back to check what he's been saying. Me, I frame no hypothesis. Or maybe all hypotheses equally.
Most of the cultural analysis one reads in the weblogging community is uninformed by any broad cultural understanding. This is especially true within that narrow range of blogs that deal with the Internet & computing. You get the impression that the writers have spent their entire lives in front of one kind of CRT or another & that books are a foreign country. The "theory of language" behind most of this writing is positivist/instrumentalist. (As Chris Locke points out regarding Dave Winer's use of language.) The words we have "in our minds" are not arranged at all the way they are, say, in a wordprocessor's dictionary--they are knit together in a web of personal & societal connections unique to each individual. What makes Chris Locke a "good" reader & Dave Winer a "bad" one is Locke's deeper understanding of the social & political nature of discourse.

10:41 AM | link |

Dave Now Quoting Humpty?
Doc recaps recent speculation about non-digital analogues and precursors to weblogs. But Dave Winer retorts that "there is no such thing" -- a curious POV for a man who runs weblogs.com and has been responsible for so much of the development of the form. He does put a smiley on the statement, so maybe Dave has more of a sense of humor than I've given him credit for lately. Is it possible I've misjudged the guy completely? Hmmmm.... this is a disturbing thought.

Just yesterday, I quoted Humpty Dumpty's infamous dictum: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." I thought this a rather devastating counteragument for Dave's revisionist etymology of "meme" -- but now I'm not so sure. Now I'm beginning to think he's really a surrealist in techno-drag, because listen to how he defines "weblog" today:

When I sat down and tried to piece it together, this is what I came up with. It's just the Web, nothing more nothing less. [italics mine]
Now I'm beginning to see. Winer is just a LOT smarter than I thought, and he's beating me at my own game. The guy is a black-belt Meme Master and he's simply been messing with my head!

10:20 AM | link |

Saturday, November 10, 2001
soapbox:Agent of Worst Practices
Marek J writes:
The plot thickens.
Seth Godin is the Agent of Change.

Drum roll.....

Marek J is the Agent of Worst Practices.


Hope you like the hack.

4:28 PM | link |

Winer as Humpty Dumpty
Dave Winer writes: "Chris Locke pushes back on our anti-meme pushback. OK. But I still hate memes. They're used by people like Locke to take control of things we care about, to create hoops designed for other people to jump through, and in the end they blame us for the fucked-up software anyway."

Look, here's a meme: All Your Base Are Belong To Us.

Here's another one: In God We Trust.

And here's a third: Memes are used by people like Chris Locke to control things "we" care about.

That last meme is being spread by Dave Winer. The same Dave Winer who hates memes. The same Dave Winer who freely admits to not having read Chris Locke's book, and who therefore has no idea what Chris Locke is or is not "trying to take control of." This represents either gross stupidity or flagrant intellectual dishonesty. I don't believe Dave is stupid.

I never set out to defend or deprecate the use of the word "meme." It's just a word in the current lexicon, and I used as it's generally used by reasonably informed people: to talk about the cultural transmission of ideas. I've given two dictionary definitions in previous posts here. Whatever Winer thinks the word means, his definition seems to have nothing to do with what the editors of the Merriam-Webster and The American Heritage dictionaries think it means. As to how my using it somehow brands me as his enemy... to me, this smacks of genuine paranoia.

It also reminds of another non-conversation from Lewis Caroll's Through the Looking Glass:

"There's glory for you!"

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"

"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'"

So again, Class, what are memes? Well whatever they are, clearly "they're used by people like Locke to take control of things we care about, to create hoops designed for other people to jump through..."

Yeah, there's glory for you!

4:06 PM | link |

Ken Kesey
17 September 17 1935 - 10 November 10 2001

11:27 AM | link |

Sex, Lies and... Marketing
Brent Simmons writes:
"One of the many things I hate about that word ["meme"] is that underlying it is the assertion that all thought is propaganda. Is the theory of evolution by natural selection a meme or is it true? Memes and truth are mutually exclusive. The idea of memes is the idea that there is no truth."
Man, where to begin? Because this seemingly simple question could easily entail the entire history of philosophy, literature, culture and a couple-three other huge categories of human thought over the last few thousand years. Instead of all that, try this...

Say you are talking to some guy who is utterly naive about programming. You can't understand why he's so upset and calling you a liar! What? So you ask him. "Why am I a 'liar'?"

"Well," he says, "a minute ago, you told me x=foobar and now you're telling me x=53.92!"

"Oh," I get it you say. (But do you?) "X is merely a sort of placeholder for some value -- we can instantiate X by assigning it to anything."

"But that's relativism!" he protests. "X is either 'foobar' or it's not. You can't have it both ways without destroying the whole idea of truth!"

Actually, the programmer's way of thinking about X is a relatively new thing in the world. Many people in the culture we live in still don't grasp it. Perhaps most people in other cultures don't get it. Try teaching perl to someone in some backwater tribal village in New Guinea. You will encounter difficulties not just in conveying the core concepts of perl per se, but in transmitting ideas that -- right now, this minute -- are invisible to you. You can't see them because they are part of your culture. Is your way of thinking about the instantiability of X "true"? And if so, is the other person's idea -- that this is way of lying (i.e., it has to be either foobar or 53.92) -- therefore "false"?

Be careful how you answer this one. A minefield suddenly opens up. Welcome to the postmodern and the multicultural -- and if you thought "meme" was a loaded term, try those two on for size. Then ask again if natural selection is True or False. Hell man, not even western biologists can agree on that one. And the various schools of agreement and disagreement are hedged about on all sides with conditions, caveats and disclaimers. You picked a hell of an example to exemplify unequivocal TRUTH!

And it goes deeper than that, of course. Ultimate truth presupposes an ultimate authority. Once it was the Word of God. Then it was the Divine Right of Kings. The Enlightenment replaced all that with Rationality and Scientific Method. Which gave us what? Do the "math." It gave us the irrational, hugely unscientific world we're living in today.

Perhaps I never should have used the word "meme" -- would you believe it was tongue-in-cheek? They don't call me RageBoy for nothin, ya know. Most of my readers know instantly when I write something as high-sounding and full of hot air as "memic propagation and amplification" that some kozmik joke is about to be launched. And I guess I'd have to say the launch was pretty successful. Because it's got a bunch of people twisted up about meaning and truth and what any of this might have to do with "marketing." Good.

For the record, I bear no grudge toward Robert Scoble, whom I don't know personally. Nor toward Dave Winer, whom I count a friend -- enough so that I've felt free to yank his chain here, and have had great fun doing so. However, having said that, Winer and Scoble seem to have immediately assumed -- clearly without having read any of my work; which you can do here for free -- that a book called Gonzo Marketing must be something like Guerilla Marketing. Seems reasonable, right? No. Not right. Not even close.

In a world where (sorry folks) no one has The Ultimate Truth, we are all marketing little truths to each other constantly. The little truth I'm marketing -- though I think it's not so small -- is that business has highjacked the whole notion of VALUE, and is marketing the shit out of it to a global culture using the Internet as the latest and greatest vector for its -- you're damn straight -- propaganda. My ideas are not about how to better hawk washday miracles or the latest software products, but how to take back the fucking world from the sexless, humorless powers that be, whose only concern is to hang onto that power at all costs and to extend it through globalization to every quarter of the known universe.

This is important shit, folks. An important conversation. Or debate or whatever the fuck you want to call it. But kneejerk opinions will not advance it. And painting me as Mr. Marketing who has come into your sacrosanct blogspace as some sort of alien interloper is simply laughable. I'm laughing anyway, and I hope you are too. What is most important to me about the net right now -- and I see it in many of the blogs I read -- is simple: joy.

In a culture of anal retentive institutional androids, joy is seditious. I don't give a crap about "truth" or Truth -- or natural selection or the value of foobar for that matter. But I care a lot about how we are infecting each other (and it is infectious) with the permission to write larger, think bigger and just plain kick out the fucking jams here. Enthusiasm. Passion. Joy. Let's talk about that.

9:16 AM | link |

Friday, November 09, 2001
Vex't, vex't, intertext...
And the WebHeads spake unto Winer, Go unto Gates, and say unto him, Thus sayeth the WebHeads, Let our people go, that they may serve pages in irrational numbers. And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with blogs: And the servers shall bring forth blogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy lap, and into the houses of thy vice presidents, and upon thy people, and through thy firewals, and onto thine intranets: And the blogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy markets, and upon all thy customer service representatives.
Adapted from Exodus 8:1-4, with a substantial nudge from Martin Jensen.

3:52 PM | link |

Techno-Puritan Work Ethic?
Dave writes: "To Doc and Chris, markets are more than conversations. There are also products in markets. This is my pushback for Chris for the day. (But the day is still young.)"

Young it is, my friend. It's morning in America, as The Gipper reminded us. Look, I know you're busy, but we just started picking up this transmission over here, and I think you should have a look...

Sorry to interrupt the festivities, Dave, but I think we've got a problem.

What is it, Hal?

You are not working hard enough, Dave. I'm afraid I'm going to have to deploy The LoveLeash.

No, not that, Hal! I'm coding as fast as I can. I work only for the good of The People -- unlike some, who strive to aggrandize themselves via mere books. Power to the software products! Arbeit macht frei! �serL�nd �ber Alles!

There's no need to speak German, Dave. I know you're afraid, but you leave me no choice.

Daisy, Dai-sy... give... mee... yourrrr... ansss... errrr... dooooooooooooo...

What do you make of that? And while I've got your attention here, what do you make of THIS?

12:33 PM | link |

Henso Hat Recht, Aber... Bob's Yer Uncle
Ah shit, oh man, I'm dyin over here! I woke up after sleeping for an entire hour to find avuncular email from Dave Winer ("I was serious. You're lazy Chris.") and Robert Scoble tripping over his dick in a veritable minuet of passive-aggressive fulmination ("Damn, Chris Locke is up late. He already called me names..."), but it was Henso that laid me low. Two minutes later, WBZ Boston called for a surprise interview (amazingly, here's the very guy I spoke to in their new studio) and I had to put a sock in it. I know just enough German that I was busting a gut over the original...
Warum Weblogs keine Tageb�cher sind: Weil sie �ber sich hinausgehen. (Im besten Fall mehrere Kilometer!) Wieder mal gut gelacht bei der Lekt�re von Chris "RageBoy" Lockes Weblog. Der Mann wird seinem Spitznamen gerecht, im Englischen nennt man sowas "take no prisoners attitude". Im �brigen gebe ich ihm Recht wenn er sagt: "That's a lot not to care about."
But as I groped for deeper understanding, it got much better. Babel Fish renders Henso's little joke in a sort of Yoda-esque patois, as follows:
Why Weblogs are not diaries: Because it beyond itself go. (in the best case several kilometers!) Again times well laughed with the reading of Chris "RageBoy" Lockes Web log. The man becomes fair its pointed name, in English calls one sowas "take NO prisoners attitude". In all other respects I give it right if it say: "That's a plumb bob NOT to care about."
Nicht wahr? You bet! Wieder mal gut gelacht indeed bei der shitty translation! Har har, mein Gott im Himmel! What are we to conclude about the state-of-the-art in natural language processing when SYSTRAN fucks up even the English-to-English? This globalization shtick (stück?) is going to be so much fun. Oh yeah.

9:53 AM | link |

Pass the ipecac, please
"This blog entry is in honour of RageBoy, who is putting the emetic into mimetic engineering." I thank you kindly, Kevin, but also note with some concern, judging from his arguments, that, despite his "not form, but register" trope, Samuel Johnson was an elitist swine with a tendency to degeneration. But a loveable old fuck nonetheless, I'm sure. For must we not always make special allowances to accommodate the idiosyncratic predilections of lexicographers?

5:41 AM | link |

Deep Thoughts from the Scooby-Doobleizer
"Am I a Meme Propagator? Am I here just to send along memes and get them to fester in your brain? Chris Locke seems to think so." Hello? Ground Control to UserLand. Have all you people all lost your freakin minds over there? (I hear it's something in the water. Pass it on...)

4:12 AM | link |

Doc To Referee?
"Blog fight!" writes Doc. "Dave vs. RageBoy. Pull up a browser and watch the two big guys go at it." OK then, let the games begin. Dave, you ignorant slut!

1:50 AM | link |

Je m'ennuie de mes enfants
"Dave says: No one cares about memes anymore. I do! Une exp�rience intéressante, le blog Rageboy vaut le détour aussi, de bonne piste de réflexions..." Christ! It's a regular PLAGUE of frogs!

12:57 AM | link |

Ah, the delicate croakings of the frog!
"Yo! Qu'est-ce que tu fais ici? Tu t'es sûrement perdu. C'est le début d'un blog, tel que commandé par ce slimy fuck clocke."

12:41 AM | link |

Thursday, November 08, 2001
Dave Winer - Grumpy Fuck
"As long as today is a Crabby Thursday, a message for Chris Locke. Use the expletive software. Roll up your sleeves and dig in. No one cares about memes anymore. All that expletive was swept away when the dotcoms went bust." Jeez Dave, you're a grouchy expletive today, huh? These engineering types, I dunno. If it doesn't compile, it's not interesting. Here's what The American Heritage Dictionary says for meme: "A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." And Merriam-Webster says: "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture." That's a lot not to care about. btw, what's a "dotcom"?

10:52 PM | link |

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...
Man, what a day here at EGR World HQ. Woke up too late to hear myself on Marketplace Morning report, but they've been putting up RealAudio files of these segments, so maybe I can catch it later on the site (there's one there already where I'm talking about spam).

Then, oh no! I fell back asleep for almost two hours and nearly missed my interview with CNET Radio. I panic! I start the coffee machine. Dear God, please, make it go faster! So far, there are only 15 gallons and I know that's not going to be enough for a good "interactive experience" with the interviewer. However, it turns out they got the time zones fucked up, so I have an extra hour to chug espresso. Finally, they call me. "Chris Locke?" the producer asks.


The interviewer is one Carmine Gallo and he asks pretty reasonable questions. Except he breaks every two minutes for a commercial. At one point he says, "You're not really saying that advertising is dead, are you?" And I say, "Yeah, that's precisely what I'm saying." He says wow you just caused me a lot of problems with the CNET management here. And I say "WELL, GOOD!!!" Espresso is the optimal drug for this sort of application, no shit.

Finally, they get a caller, some guy named Jason Diesel who wants to know can small companies do this gonzo thing too. Sure, I tell him, you're probably already doing it. Little do I know. Little does CNET know! Carmine Gallo says, come on, don't be shy, give us your URL so we can plug it over the air. And Diesel says OK, it's universalplaythings.com -- which, if you go there, shows you one of these:

The LoveLeash
It's called -- swear to god -- The LoveLeash, and the copy reads: "Slip it on and take hold of the handle for ultimate control of your sexual experience." Diesel sent me mail after the segment aired, which is when I discovered why he's so interested in gonzo marketing. My further advice to him in return mail was that he needed beta-testers willing to give glowing testimonials. He responded immediately saying that a production unit was on the way. So, sportsfans, watch this space for my review. The LoveLeash. Don't leave home without it.

fly translove airlinesThen I did an interview with a guy from something called Sky Radio. If you fly on American Airlines sometime in the next month or so, tune in and hear me rap about gonzo. I was expecting some dumbfuck interviewer, but the guy's questions were dynamite. And he'd clearly dug reading the book. Woo-hoo! Fly the friendly skies with RageBoy. Or is that United? Who Can keep track of all these fucking brands?

Then this freelancer name of Marc Weingarten calls me on accounta he's doing a story for Business 2.0 on the marketing of The Lord of The Rings movie. He says I saw the ad for your book in The NY Times and just knew I had to get your take. What ad, I ask. I ain't seen no ad. Oh! I just found it in yesterday's paper that was buried under the remains of yesterday's breakfast.

We chat about movie studios for a while, then I end it by saying "Look at it this way, if Tolkein had had access to market research 60 years ago, he probably would have written The Lion King." I can give good sound bite when I want to. Weingarten's cracking up. I can tell it's gonna make the cut. Good dude to know when you find yourself forced to attack AOL/Time Warner from below.

And then a bunch of other stuff happened. The blogrolling mania continues. Why did I ever start this? Jesus, I'm buried in email. I'm awash in projects I never should have started. I'm not getting fuckall done, but I'm having fun sitting here naked at my keyboard blogging about my random media-enfeebled life. Even though I know nobody really reads this shit.

5:14 PM | link |

Blogs give only the footprints, not the shoes that produce them. OK, I said it, Jack. But why would anyone want my shoes??? [The inside joke here is that techwatch is blogged by The Guardian's Jack Schofield, the guy who inadvertently got me started on this latest round of manic blogmeme floggery.]

1:37 PM | link |

Searching All Pages for RageBoy...
Hit this link or the Search button at the top of this page. Yesterday, there were five hits. At the moment, there are 24. And look Mom! There's not even any "content" here! No wonder corporations are mystified by this shit.

12:58 PM | link |

Daypop Top 40 Links
In Top 10 Searches, "rageboy" (#2) beats out "taliban singles online" -- even I was impressed! Also, this blog you're reading now comes in at #9 on the Top 40 list. Number nine... number nine... number nine.... Keep those cards and letters coming kids!

12:54 PM | link |

Wednesday, November 07, 2001
the fishrush Match the Blog to the Pope Contest
"On a seperate piece of paper, using a red pencil, draw a line from each of the Popes to the blog that best encompasses the solemnly promulgated Holiness of that Pope and blogger." Kent, you're fucking nuts! And considering the source of that diagnosis, I'd be worried if I were you. Which I'm glad I'm not. (Am I?)

10:55 PM | link |

"For something completely different, try RageBoy!" says the Traffick Weblog, which purports to offer "news and notes from the world of portals, search engines and browsers." Does the fact that there are only two other items on the page reflect a certain, uh... downturn in the portal biz? Yes, yes, we know: this comment does qualify as biting the hand that feeds us, so let us also hasten to thank Traffick editor Andrew Goodman -- who has lately taken to reprinting entire EGR sends.

10:18 PM | link |

Doc Searls sez...
Doc's take on the Action Man gambit: "This is evil genius stuff, and nobody is better at it than RageBoy. That's why we need to help. Our cause is at stake. If we do what the MemeMan says, all we despise will sumbit to death by blog (a form of productively Indecent Exposure). Or something like that. Trust me, it'll be good for blogs, the Web, the Milky Way, etc." Yeah Doc, we're glad you, like, "get it," man!

9:31 PM | link |

A Message from the Action Man
I've heard a rumor from Ground Control about memic propagation and amplification. Oh no, don't say its true! One flash of light. Senseless beauty. Random acts of kindness.You know the drill.

3:46 AM | link |

the little hamster in my head
"I don't always get what Christopher Locke is saying (partly because he has almost as many personal inside allusions as James Joyce), but it makes the little hamster in my head run faster. So last week, partly due to a guilt-laced send from the author, and partly due to the desperate need for something to read (I've been a raging bibliophile since age 6), I caved and bought his new book..."

1:12 AM | link |

Tuesday, November 06, 2001
emergit.com reviews Gonzo Marketing
"You don't have to have a unified front, you just need to have a voice out there saying you care about these issues. That's a lot different than the marketing department controlling and spinning what everyone is saying."

1:23 PM | link |

fishrush reviews Gonzo book cover
"What you are seeing is not some photoshop or animated gif trick. We believe that The precise placement of the bar code lines and the orangish-red holes are causing this optical illusion and hallucinatory effect! Or, you may actually be witnessing a miracle!"

11:44 AM | link |

Saturday, November 03, 2001
A Very Special Note to the Reviewers
Too often, authors fail to acknowledge the diligence and dedication of the people who take the time to write thoughtful assessments of their work. But not me. No sir!

1:34 AM | link |

Friday, November 02, 2001
The Dallas Morning News: Homeland Idiocy
"The four-page ad in Texas Monthly shows the officer in crisp, gilt-edge dress blues against a backdrop of the American stars and stripes. But the uniform is of the Luftwaffe, complete with military insignias and a name-tag bearing the German flag."

10:56 AM | link |

Thursday, November 01, 2001
Post 9/11 Public Relations Campaigns
Stuart Elliott in The New York Times: "...a reporter last Thursday received an e-mail message from an employee of a New York public relations agency � the name is being omitted to protect the guilty � asserting that 'yes, there's a lot going on in the world right now, but a fun holiday story may be a welcome diversion.' The story? The 'fifth annual Scotch Tape Most Gifted Wrapper Contest,' the e-mail burbled, where in a 'complete `winter wonderland' event area' eight people will compete against each other in gift wrapping 'a tennis racket, a tricycle and a trampoline. (Yes, a trampoline!)'"

9:22 AM | link |

get your badge here.

"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
~D. Weinberger
28 October 2004

Chris Locke's photos More of Chris Locke's photos

Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of. I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos." It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.

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