elizabeth lane lawley
michael "OC" clarke
e v h e a d
sweet fancy moses
wood s lot
m. melting object
Saturday, November 10, 2001
soapbox:Agent of Worst Practices
Marek J writes:
The plot thickens.
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!"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 |
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...
HALWhat 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.
"YEAH HELLO!!!" I answer, "BOY AM I EVER READY FOR THIS!!!"
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:
Then 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 |
"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
28 October 2004
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at a major industry conference,
chris locke once again captures the real story.