Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Saturday, March 02, 2002
I would so much like to hate Bruce Sterling
In 1992, he sent me very nasty flame mail on the Well. The bastard. For years I thought him lower than shower-enclosure scum. Then I met him a few years ago at a gig I was invited to join in on at the far-fabled (and now largely forgotten) Institute for the Future. At lunch on the second day, Sterling did this stand-up routine on "The Perfect Online Customer" and I thought I would swallow my tongue from laughing. Especially when I glanced around at the horrified looks on the faces of the IFTF wranglers and -- even better -- at the strangulated terror of The Big Client all this was put on for. So, I have had to modify my view of the man. He's simply a great fucking writer, no matter what he's writing about. At the link above, there is something to offend nearly everyone, but by the third graf, you're chuckling too much to much care. I'm seldom envious of other writers (should I admit this?), but Bruce Sterling: you bastard!

1:23 PM | link |

Moron "fucknozzle"
I suppose that should actually be "More on 'fucknozzle'," but sometimes typing too fast does have its benefits. Anyway, the link is to a Google search on the word. As ever, I am interested in etymological derivation and first use. Please let me know, for instance, if you ever used this term to address your top management.

Note that I have added the fucknozzle lemma to the Daypop search box, above. As of this writing, it returns no hits, but I'm confident this will be remedied in due course. Add your findings on this emergent usage to your blog. That way, we can all share in the discovery process.

I know I risk the wrath of Dave in requesting your assistance with this crucial philological investigation. He has made himself quite clear on "the whole memes thing" -- and, after reading a tad more of Dawkins, I find myself far more sympathetic to his position. However, the mindless (and mostly harmless) propagation of the fucknozzle meme appears, to my mind, a good test of... well, something like power through language. Just a wild surmise. Let them who have ears hear...

...oh, and a related note, this just in: be sure to check the DISCLAIMER posted mere moments ago on Sandhill Trek. Let the food fight linguistic research commence!

12:30 PM | link |

Important Clarification
b!X writes: "As RB says, the head of Xybernaut is a fucknozzle." Now, wait just a moment. In making references of this sort it is extremely critical to get your citations correct. I said no such thing. What I said was that you should decide for yourself whether he was a fucknozzle based on the Wired story. Actually, David Weinberger gets it right when he says: "I know for a fact that RB ran the blog entry at least in part so he could use the word 'fucknozzle.'" Precisely. It is a matter of record -- and common knowledge -- that my professional work entails the researching of humorous Internet-mediated neologisms, their propagation via the World Wide Web, and the crucial social role they play in online satire and parody. I have no personal acquaintance with the head of the Xybernaut Corporation. So how would I be able to state definitively that he is a fucknozzle? For all I know, he may not be a fucknozzle. Perhaps he's a really nice fellow.

10:42 AM | link |

Friday, March 01, 2002
Online Company-Flamers: Beware
Xybernaut chairman and CEO Edward Newman: legal Einstein or opportunistic fucknozzle? You decide.

10:50 PM | link |

kalilily cops
Elaine writes: "I give up, RageBoy. I'll read your damned books." Ah, victory! As to liking them, there is of course no guarantee. Some have been deeply disappointed, expecting honeyed words of wisdom and finding only dross. Others have stormed my inbox demanding refunds. Yet others have thrown themselves from tall buildings in despair. A few said they were, you know, OK. Let me know which camp you fall into, even if it means postponing your fatal leap long enough to send email.

10:19 PM | link |

Our Snack With Andr�
Much philosophical speculation has been flipping around BlogLand of late. It's interesting to consider what is causing this resurgence of reflection on perennial quandaries. I just caught myself wondering whether the meta-theme was yet ripe for satire... then remembered I'd already done it. Yes, I'm recycling here. But you weren't really ready for it when I wrote this several years ago. You've come a long way, baby. Heh.

btw (never having been one to miss an opportunity), this piece is part of what you get if you order The Bombast Transcripts: Rants & Screeds of RageBoy. Do it today!!!

2:21 PM | link |

On Thermonuclear War
Long out of print, but I got my copy yesterday used. Hey, I'm ready! As a fitting companion piece, you might also want to review Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Actually, these are background for a thing I'm "working" on. Speaking of which, does anybody remember (you have to be as old as me for this) Edward Teller's syndicated newspaper columns on the wondrous benefits of fallout shelters? More to the point, does anyone know if they're online or in some book or library so I could somehow lay hands on them? Blogging as vector for authors' queries -- are we seeing a precedent here? Probably not, but I am curious about that too.

11:31 AM | link |

Take the Blog Sisters Challenge?
Elaine writes: "I would just love to have a chance to be a voyeur on a guys' blog that mirrors this one. Oh yeah!"

Did I just hear a gauntlet being thrown down? Listen, I'd love to oblige, but I have to go pick up a few things first.

11:02 AM | link |

Postmodern Theology
In an item titled "Is brevity the soul of blogging?," AKMA asks: "May we feel free to criticize RB's tactics and diction without implying that he and my hypothetical Jody operate at the same pitch of sophistication?" Now, without going into Jody's elliptical euphemism or the question of its rhetorical impact -- one is tempted to say illocutionary force -- I would wonder whether she, on perusing AKMA's homepage, would leap to the conclusion, as I did immediately, that The Reverend Adam has spent much time with the works of Mark C. Taylor. Banging around the place somewhere I have his Erring: A Postmodern A/Theology and something called Alterity (which has this great psychedelic cover shot of a guy bent down touching this big ol' seismic crack in a highway; I bought it for the cover) as well as a collection of seminal readings he put together titled Deconstruction in Context: Literature and Philosophy. He also edited a rather good collection called Critical Terms for Religious Studies. I got some big insight from something he wrote in the introductory essay, but now I forget. I'll have to dig it out from under the couch or wherever it's gotten to. These things have a life of their own. Also, though it's not by Taylor, I had this one sitting on top of my washing machine downstairs for the longest time -- A Magic Still Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age.

So hey, Padre, you ask Jody whether she can do that. And then let's talk some more about what you mean by "sophistication." OK?

10:06 AM | link |

Go to Hell
Whatever you think, it's not what you think.

12:45 AM | link |

DADA - What Fish Do When They're Late
There have always been Freaks & Creepy People. Thank God.

12:07 AM | link |

Thursday, February 28, 2002
More double talk from Dvorak
This is almost too rich. Don't try to read it all at once. It's that deep. First, we have a PC Mag forum posting from an individual identified as SAVEBYJ. His predicament is not unlike the correspondent who was trying to get ahold of some blue glowing moon crystals.
The problem with the Internet is that it propagates the myth that all truth (with a capitol "T") is relative. It's another way of saying that you "absolutely believe there are no absolutes". The Internet allows foolishness like the "ClueTrain Manifesto" to establish itself as Truth with no vigorous debate (of which it would not survive).

Why do you think this is going on John? Do you think it's symptomatic of a society that, no longer believing anything believes anything, or is the Internet fueling it?

Myself, I usually try to steer clear of such thorny philosophical dilemmas. Sometimes I'll simply ask whether the sender is keeping up with his meds. But John Dvorak is not one to brush off an earnest seeker. He replies...
"I'm guessing that during times of change and uncertainty people need something to grasp onto that appears to explain the situation and promises to makes sense of it. Once someone subscribes to the new commonplaces, it's easier to keep these beliefs than discard them for no good reason until massive change happens again. This mechanism can be seen throughout history in various political forms. Fascism and Communism comes to mind or even the emergence of the Moral Majority and lesser movements. There is always the element of group-think and a harsh rejection of critical analysis. Hence the cult-like phenomenon which I described."
A rejection of critical analysis? Wow. Words fail me. It's almost as if GWB were ghosting this stuff.

11:00 PM | link |

Smart Business Smart Business magazine reviews Gonzo Marketing

"Solo albums seldom surpass those of the original band; the whole usually proves greater than the sum of its parts. But with the publication of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices (Perseus, 2001), Christopher Locke trashes that assumption and just about everything else. Appearing without his Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual (Perseus, 2001) coconspirators Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger, Locke has penned an astute critique of traditional marketing. Though Gonzo expands upon Cluetrain themes, it's nonetheless a pleasure to read, something that cannot be said of most business books. Locke himself makes that point by citing a fictional Forrester Research report, 'The Snooze Factor: Sleepy Time in the Management Aisle.' In the associated endnote, he confesses that the report does not exist, though he goes on to support his contention that most management books could moonlight as sleeping pills.

Locke's playful mockery isn't without substance, however -- authoritative quotes from the Harvard Business Review abound. Locke argues persuasively that 'the fundamental message of marketing must change from 'we want your money' to 'we share your interests.' ' But the actual methods for making this transition could use further explanation. For example, Locke proposes that corporations underwrite online communities and small-time Web sites as a way to reach niche markets. But while the author successfully markets himself and his ideas through his own Weblog, other examples of the Gonzo method remain largely untested. Even so, for those who recognize that high-handed corporate hubris leaves a bad taste in consumers' mouths, or for anyone hungry for a good laugh, Locke's witty irreverence and good-natured contempt for 'business as usual' make spicy food for thought."

NOTE - the review is by Thomas Claburn, who blogs here: www.lot49.com.

7:46 PM | link |

Start Taking Things Lightly
I ran across this great quote this morning after visiting my accountant (which, for me, is far more painful than going to the dentist). It's from the introduction to Paul Feyerabend's incendiary -- and now infamous -- book on the philosophy of science, Against Method: Outline of an anarchistic theory of knowledge
When choosing the term 'anarchism' for my enterprise I simply followed general usage. However anarchism, as it has been practised in the past and as it is being practised today by an ever increasing number of people has features I am not prepared to support. It cares little for human lives and human happiness (except for the lives and the happiness of those who belong to some special group); and it contains precisely the kind of Puritanical dedication and seriousness which I detest... It is for these reasons that I now prefer to use the term Dadaism. A Dadaist would not hurt a fly -- let alone a human being. A Dadaist is utterly unimpressed by any serious enterprise and he smells a rat whenever people stop smiling and assume that attitude and those facial expressions which indicate that something important is about to be said. A Dadaist is convinced that a worthwhile life will arise only when we start taking things lightly and when we remove from our speech the profound but already putrid meanings it has accumulated over the centuries ('search for truth'; 'defence of justice'; 'passionate concern'; etc., etc.) A Dadaist is prepared to initiate joyful experiments even in those domains where change and experimentation seem to be out of the question (example: the basic functions of language). I hope that having read the pamphlet the reader will remember me as a flippant Dadaist and not as a serious anarchist.
Contemporary examples (to my mind) are fishrush, ftrain, and marek (if he would only get over his grief and put his fucking site back online!)

1:40 PM | link |

What did Cluetrain actually say?
Most of the most rabid criticism of The Cluetrain Manifesto has been written by people who clearly never read the book. Dozens of posts to Slashdot, for instance, argued -- using the title alone as "evidence" -- about whether the authors (of whom I am one, in case that might be unclear) were in fact Communists. (Uh, no.) And John Dvorak's latest diatribe hardly rises above the level of the Slashdot-posterboy rhetoric, if I can call it that without impugning my own craft. (In contrast to Dvorak, the actual Slashdot reviews by hemos and Jason Bennet were models of critical intelligence.)

Roughly half of these sorts of attacks accused us of being excessively harsh to business. Well, yeah, of course we were. How many manifestos treat their subjects with kid gloves? Oddly, the other half accused us of pandering to the very same audience -- as if the book constituted an underhanded program intended to aid business in its nefarious plans for the stealth penetration of virgin "new economy" markets.

I have put the full text of the entire book online, so you can decide for yourself which of these wild-ass guesses were more true. However, this clip from my chapter titled Internet Apocalypso may be all you need to make up your own mind whether we were being: a) unforgivably rude or b) cynically manipulative. fwiw.

To find anything that isn't overtly complicit with the Great Technology Sitcom, you have to dig down to the underbelly of the Web. You have to get past the sites with commercial pretensions that are slicing and dicing you, counting the legs and dividing by four, bringing in the sheep. You are being incorporated into their demographic surveys. And, predictably, the lowest common denominator is getting all the juice. You are being packaged for advertisers by some of the hippest hucksters on the planet.

Dig deeper. Down to the sites that never entertained the hope of Buck One. They owe nobody anything. Not advertisers, not VC producers, not you. Put your ear to those tracks and listen to what's coming like a freight train. What you'll hear is the sound of passion unhinged, people who have had it up to here with white-bread culture, hooking up to form the biggest goddam garage band the world has ever seen.

What are these underbelly sites about? What's a rock concert about? How about creation, exploring a visceral and shared collective memory we've been brainwashed into believing never existed?

Conspiracy theory, my ass. Schools and teachers, the motor vehicle bureau, the IRS, the military, the line at the bank, the television set, the newspapers at the checkout stand, the news on your radio, the billboards along the highway, and now a hundred thousand cold-comfort web sites. All are tuned to your brain at the deepest level and you have lined up for the coolest, latest-model implant. The carrier wave has been tuned at huge cost to deliver a single message: you are not free, you desire nothing but the products we produce, you have no world but the world we give you.

If you're OK with this, then eat it up. There's a bulimic's dream-feast of killer kontent on the way. But if it already makes you want to puke, get angry. Write it, code it, paint it, play it -- rattle the cage however you can. Stay hungry. Stay free. And believe it: win, lose, or draw, we're here to stay. Armed only with imagination, we're gonna rip the fucking lid off.

There's your market.

12:27 PM | link |

Wednesday, February 27, 2002
#9 Dream (for Laurie)
girl I got flowers growing out of my head. Jerusalem artichokes, sunflowers, chicory. I got five fingers. reminds me of something, an emblem. hold your hand up against the sky. if you got the same, it's a sign. corn pollen, wolf song. man and woman. I got a bright red salamander on a ball of polished turquoise shot with gold. rivulets of molten lightning running down the sky like a black onyx mirror on fire. I got a box of magic crayons, baby, in a billion colors. five senses and every one on full alert. I got lyrical jazz for your weed garden, you there with headphones alone for the moon, dreaming night lights and fireflies, dewdrop on petal, so small but look closer, reflecting first dawn in spiderweb filaments curving outward as your own eye curves on the edge of vision. cat's eye diamond jaguar awakens wrapped in jungle whispering coming storm. I got wind and lianas running up your legs, your arms. your eyes open in orchids glowing within, wild in your new weather. I got thunder and eagles sailing into your whirlwind looking down on green ocean treetops roiling and suddenly water from everywhere, sky out of mind. I got words with you, baby, like torrential rain slashing and flashing, exploding, electric. mahogany forests a vortex of satellite images, clouds racing and pooling in hurricane spiral. jaguar and eagle connected. conjoined. Amazon at full flood a great snake drawing earth and sky into its tidal rushing deafening roar of white noise white light white heat the world dissolving disappearing gone... then ah, remembering morning cool and bright. how silence in silence eagle circles jaguar's eye resolves spiderweb tendrils of dawn in a dewdrop your eye your life your love smooth saxophone blues in a weed garden, baby, floating free once more again at last. oh girl I got you with flowers growing out of your head.

9:42 PM | link |

Why I Blog
Who is creating such stories today? Whose voices will draw new listeners the way Druids drew down the moon, the way Greeks drew a wooden horse to the gates of Troy? Tell me, O muse, of those ingenious heroes. Sing to me, goddess, of anger and estrangement. I�m a motherfucker, baby, your mind my sky, your eyes my fire. This world, this life so intricate, delicate, complex. Precious beyond measure. I�m slamming my head against the walls of empire, the habits of power, enraged. Blasting and burning for your love. Imagining the network finally connected. Imagining joy. A wall of horns and drums and dangerous magical noise. I�m bending over my Fender, working the circuits, incendiary, incandescent. Rocking in the free world, serving notice on Babylon. Ain�t in for a dollar, ain�t in for a dime. Ain�t going down for no two-bit dream. Armed only with imagination, I�m back in your spiral arms tonight. Everything has at least two meanings. But one thing girl that I want to say, love is love and not fade away.

(from Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices, p. 63)

9:22 PM | link |

Journalism With the Gloves Off
Tom Matrullo writes (brilliantly, as usual):
I would suggest that the thought that people are learning to blog might also work in reverse: blogs are people learning to have voices, presence, in a literary medium. For many, this is their first adult experience of this sort of thing. Often these are the most interesting presences, whereas the allegedly professional "writers" demonstrably fail to comprehend even the most basic properties of the activity - for example, the fact that it involves links. Other industrial-strength pundits believe blogging rises to the level of being the next step in vanity sites. What one senses here is the pontification of ignorance filtered through long practice in knowing so much that it hurts. It takes time to appreciate the nuances of new things. I don't expect anyone fully has, but those of us who at least have tried it for a while could speak volumes more than the NY Times, Mr. AS, or Mr. Dv, or others who have kindly taken the trouble to inspect the goods in their hermetically sealed editorial chambers. One possible way to describe a good blog: journalism with the gloves off.

5:00 PM | link |

Blog Sisters...
it's just a kiss away.

Elaine writes: "I ordered Locke's Bombast book because I felt I should at least give him a chance, based on Jeneane's review.... Now I'm going to order Cixous', and you can bet on which one I'll read first." Yeah? And who do you suppose turned Jeneane on to Cixous? That's right, take a wild guess.

4:09 PM | link |

Halley's Comment
From an item titled Stop Treating Us Like Morons:

"I think this boat rose on a tide of women's long-term frustration with being treating like consumer idiots. We've always been spoken to like idiots. Most pre-1990's marketing is based on solidly misogynist assumptions. Marketing, until very recently, has been a classic verbally abusive enterprise. None of us women were surprised when [The Cluetrain Manifesto] became a bestseller. The whole paradigm of speaking to women consumers like easy-to-manipulate, easy-to-cheat, easy-to-fool MORONS disintegrated when advertising tried speaking to men that way. No wonder our boy felt rage."

1:13 PM | link |

Tuesday, February 26, 2002
Dvorak, Look at You Now!
John is clearly out of his league with bloggers like Phil Cubeta around. Let me sing his praises. As Papa Doc has taught us, it's called blogrolling.

"I have tirelessly satirized Rageboy, Chris Locke for his assumed air of Vanity, Folly, and Prophetic Urgency. Chris is simply the most literarate marketing person I know, and a worthy debating opponent for anyone."

2:59 PM | link |

Dvorak Responds
By "that link," John Dvorak is referring to the entry below, titled Stupid White Men, Part II. He writes:
"I'd advise readers to check out that link (if you can put up with juvenile cussing, etc.) it really shows the immature level of discourse. These folks will have the same negative impact on what I perceive as a positive phenomenom. Nobody wants to associate with what appears to be very creepy people who relish personal attack and personal insult and manic cussing. Not a positive influence on anything."
How did it escape me that Dvorak in fact perceives blogging "as a positive phenomenon"? I guess I must have been skimming. And of course, his original article contained no personal insults -- such as suggesting that I must have been high on acid when I wrote that "cute mumbo jumbo" to the "ding-dongs" who signed the manifesto. "I imagine all these folks holding hands in a large circle, rolling back and forth, with some in the middle of the circle, spinning and chanting and hugging, all naked." I suppose that's not insulting, as he did refrain from cussing. I mean, he could have said we were "fucking naked." And that wouldn't have been a positive influence, now would it, class?

John, read my lips: you are an ignorant liar, a coward and a hypocrite. I'd add "a motherfucker," but I reserve that for people I respect.

What's truly funny here is that Dvorak doesn't seem to "get it" -- sorry, Charlie -- that I'm actually the author of the stuff he quoted in his piece-of-shit column. How detached from reality is this guy that he never heard of RageBoy? Heh.

2:18 PM | link |

In which I get a note to see the Principal
Too rich. Of all the posts to the PC Magazine Dvorak discussion list, mine is the only one with an editor's note inserted into it: CM's edit: The link above loads a page with some profanity.

What I want to know is: who the fuck is CM?

11:48 AM | link |

Hot Text: Web Writing That Works - WebReference Book Review
"Develop an attitude.Write in a genre. Go gonzo. Pull a Rageboy. Be outrageous. Oh, and make sure you spellcheck that last post on your blog."

They forgot: always sing each others' praises.

12:28 AM | link |

Monday, February 25, 2002
More Ack-Ack for Dvorak: A Few Keys Short of an Input Device
jpoulos posted these cogent remarks on MetaTalk...
Regardless of how you feel about the issue at hand, how can anyone argue that any of this is well-informed criticism. As thin as the "manifesto" seems to be, his attacks are even thinner.

My decision revolves around whether to skewer the rest of this list next week, or not.

He never actually "skewered" it this week. Watch:

"To be, or not to be..." Exactly what is that supposed to mean.

"The sum of the square roots of any two sides of a right triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side." Huh? Gosh, whatever. Okay. Wow.. To me it sounds like something someone would find written on a napkin after a two-week LSD bender.

"Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared" Now you're freaking me out. Can we move on?

I guess I just don't get it either. Now, can I have his paycheck?

11:46 PM | link |

One Planet. One Network. One Way to Fuck Shareholders.

10:13 PM | link |

Ftrain: Why are robots so fascinating?
To me, this is what blogging is all about -- penetrating analysis on issues of the day...

"That essay, entitled 'Why are robots so fascinating?' quickly ballooned to over 300 words, 150 of them 'robot.' And why not? The mere word 'robot' gives me instant glee. Who could want for things to say on the subject? I'd finally found a topic that would last me forever, something where I could demonstrate my erudition and careful thought. I sat amongst my notes confident that my special genius had finally found its focus."

9:55 PM | link |

"You just fucked with the wrong guy, buddy boy"
Some interesting Google search results:
   "Dave Winer"            59,900    
   "Doc Searls"            32,100    
   "Eric Norlin"           14,900 
   "RageBoy"               13,500 
   "David Weinberger"       6,930 
   "John Dvorak"            6,930 
   "Chris Locke"            6,260

7:07 PM | link |

Ftrain: Robot Exclusion Protocol
Laugh till you puke... (via Voidstar)

"I am Google! I find many good things. I find that pair of underwear with the little dice printed all over them. And I watch the tape of you with the life-sized Stallman puppet. These are good unique things. Many keywords and links! My masters will say 'much good job, little robot!' Many searchers will find happy links of Stallman puppet see you! Ahhhh.''

4:32 PM | link |

In Rageboy we trust!
Damn, sometimes it's sure nice to have friends! Dvorak most certainly won't get this one, but you will. (Hint: that's because you're not a mongoloid idiot.)

3:32 PM | link |

Stupid White Men, Part II
Now for my review of the "journalist" who won't die, John C. Dvorak. This veritable Mount Rushmore action figure of business-as-usual tells us how the Internet changes nothing and tops that statement with every other clich� we've become sick of over the past few years.

? Dvorak's initially promising career writing for Datamation back in the 1900's was sadly cut short by his fondness for shooting heroin and circle jerks with young boys, spinning and chanting and hugging, all naked. I'm betting he goes to Major Industry Conferences (that's where I used to bump into him: starving, hysterical, naked, looking for an angry fix), and then "blogs" about how cool they were in Major Industry Publications.

In his latest content-free column on PC Magazine, we learn bromides such as "life is too long" and read cute mumbo jumbo about such things as "the brown-nosing that goes on between bloggers singing each others' praises." I rolled my eyes so much I got as dizzy as this cult-inspired ding-dong must have been when he sat down to write this shit.

"They're right!" Dvorak writes. "I don't get it."

Well, John, you can certainly say that again. But I hope you'll get this: blow me, you dumb motherfucker!

1:48 PM | link |

Stupid White Men #1 on Amazon!
Michael Moore's new book, Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!, has shot to the top slot on Amazon across all categories. I find this amazing and wonderful. If you ever wanted to send a signal to this government and our "fearless" mass media, click the link above and buy the book now. Let's keep this potent reminder in everybody's face as long as possible.

9:28 AM | link |

"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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