Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Di Chirico Fends Off the Spectral Bats of Andalusia
I rediscovered this piece tonight and it made me laugh. It's dated March 21, 2001, back when I was still happy. Not that I'm not happy now, mind you. Oh, am I happy. It's just that I was happy for different reasons then. It seems way longer ago than two and a half years since I wrote this. Could it be? That was the Spring Equinox and today, I think, is the Autumnal Equinox. Or maybe yesterday was. Who knows. So yeah, it's been exactly two and a half revolutions around that star out there that keeps us warm. When it does. And when it does, it's so good.

I'll think about all this while you read the piece. OK? Oh and btw, this is one of the bits in The Bombast Transcripts. though I didn't remember that until just now. Had to go back and edit this, which is what I've been doing non-stop for the last 48 hours it seems. Write, edit, write, edit. Jesus God. What normal person does this sort of thing for fun? Anyway, there are links nearby to that most excellent book, and it's not like it would kill you to click on one of them. Hoser.

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Valued Readers:

First off, for all of you who wondered if I was soliciting,
no. Gangbangers, dear hearts, are people who belong to gangs.
The state of cultural literacy is really plummeting out there.
Nonetheless, you wouldn't believe how many offers I got. For
all the good it would do me. Remind me to tell you sometime
about the unfortunate incident at the State Fair tractor pull.

Second off, for all of you who have been kindly (and
otherwise) inquiring about Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through
Worst Practices, yes, it's done. Sined, seeled and delivered.
David Goering called me this morning from Perseus Publishing
to say he liked it. Said it was a fucking work of art. Good
thing too. David Goering runs Perseus Publishing and could
have easily asked for the money back. Seeing as he didn't,
it'll be out in October. I'm putting together a chunk of it to
stick online. Naturally, you'll be the first to know.

Third off, a French "Wired-style" publication (their
description) asked me to send them something relating to the
revolutionary potential of the net. I mailed them a letter
bomb. The replacement editor then called and said, no, we
meant an article. So I wrote this thing here. No, they said,
that's too long. And could you make it a bit more concrete. So
I cut it in half and took out all the funny bits (yes, there
are funny bits, dammit!). They loved it, even though that
version now doesn't make any sense. Frogs, what can I say? Not
that this one does either, but hey, did that ever stop me from
sending you anything?

btw, the first reader to correctly guess why the two lead
quotes are grouped together wins a live wildebeest and a
year's supply of chainmail pantyhose. Ready? OK.

     Toward a Poststructural Poetics of Cyberspace:
    or, Deriding Derrida and the Horse He Rode In On

              "Allons enfants de la Patrie
             Le jour de gloire est arriv�!"
                    La Marseillaise

   "There's nothing you can do that can't be done..."
                  All You Need is Love
                   Lennon & McCartney

In May 1968 I was planting beets and corn and dropping
mescaline. Later, sitting on my back porch blowing a soap
bubble, I tried to imagine a world in which such a thing was
possible. Suddenly and with some considerable amazement, I
realized I was already in it. Needless to say, I was pretty
high. At the same time, barricades were going up all over
Paris, an insurrection that lives on in our collective memory
like first love. In Spring, a young man's fancy turns to tear
gas. A few years later, Mick Jagger, having missed all the
action, lamented that "in sleepy London Town, there's just no
place for a street fighting man," but demanded sanctuary
nonetheless: "Ooh, a storm is threatening... my very life
today..." Human culture is an endless palimpsest of commentary
on the commentary written over whatever comments came before.
Later, Foucault would echo the power of the pendulum, Julia
Kristeva would explain intertextuality, and in time Tim
Berners-Lee would implement the platform. Now -- gimme
shelter! -- it's all connected. And we've been tripping on the
connections ever since.

One of the connections to Paris '68, now hyperlinked at
nothingness.org -- how existential, though one suspects Camus
would be scratching his head -- is The Society of the
Spectacle by kingpin situationist Guy Debord. This tract
brought a heavy hit of dada and surrealism into The Movement,
and argued, I think, that it didn't quite know where it was
moving to -- in fact (stop me if you've heard this one) that
there was No Way Out. Huis Clos, baby. I have to say "I think"
because I never read the book. Ergo sum a bit confused
perhaps. But I did see the book jacket once on a TV program
that showed it on a web page as reproduced in Le Monde. Debord
says "The time of production, commodity-time, is an infinite
accumulation of equivalent intervals." Ah yes, how true. But
kind of weird because a couple years earlier Jean-Luc Godard
shot a movie in Paris tricked up to look like another planet
(which, I understand, didn't take much doing) -- Alphaville,
une �trange aventure de Lemmy Caution -- in which a character
named Alpha 60 says "Time is the substance of which I am made.
Time is a river which carries me along. But I am time. It's a
tiger, tearing me apart..." Coincidence? Yeah, probably. I
never saw that movie anyway. I got the quote from The Internet
Movie Database.

At any rate, situationism ultimately led to a film about the
Sex Pistols in which Gary Oldman, tricked up to look like Sid
Vicious (which did take some doing) sings Frank Sinatra's
trademarked theme song, "I Did It My Way," just before OD'ing
on heroin. *So* postmodern. All this is explained in Greil
Marcus's tour de force work of pop music criticism, Lipstick
Traces, which I do mean to read one day soon. For all his
influence on the Yippies at the '68 Democratic convention (I'm
guessing Jerry Rubin had spies on the Continent), Debord seems
to have been a humorlessly doctrinaire sort of guy, sullenly
complaining about the seamless and inescapable spectacle of
late capitalism simply because he couldn't get it to do
anything interesting. But art requires patience. And history
is not predestined. It is, however, littered with petty
control freaks peddling fascism tricked up to look like
freedom -- a disturbingly simple disguise.

Look: sure, we all love a good riot. However, the real problem
-- if I may wave my American flag proudly for a moment -- was
way too much Marx and not half enough synthetic psychedelics.
Not to be chauvinistic about it, but we did have the best labs
over here, you know, while all you people had was that cheap
opiated Afghani hashish cured in camel piss. Duck Soup will
only get you so far.

Yesterday, after starting to write this (and wondering, as
much as you are now, where all these random thoughts were
headed), I bought a book by Peter Watson called The Modern
Mind. It's an encyclopedic overview of 20th century memes and
the rich intellectual milieu they have interacted with one
another to produce. A tangled web, you might say. I bought a
cappuccino and lit a cigarette -- the strongest drugs I allow
myself these days -- and immediately turned to the concluding
chapter. Dr. Watson, I presume, believes in science and
rigorous analytic philosophy. He likes universities a lot but
does not like the muddy sort of thinking he associates --
though he doesn't say it in so many words -- with the
imagination. "Scientific/analytic reason has been a great
success" he writes, while "political, partisan and rhetorical
reason... has been a catastrophe." Oh dear.

Everyone is trying to control something it seems. Steer it
left, force it right. The serious work of the mind is to prove
that those other poor bastards are dangerous idiots, who,
really, if there were a Just God, would be forever silenced --
in the interests of an Open Society, of course. Ah, Popper,
the amyl nitrate of rational logic! And there's a long
tradition of this sort of thing, evidently. Somebody once told
me Plato wanted to get rid of the poets. Did he mean kill
them, I wonder? If anyone out there has actually read The
Republic, please send me email.

Power demands to be taken seriously. But the Internet is
rolling on the floor laughing, deep wracking intertextual
guffaws. The web is awash in oh-please-stop-I-can't-breathe
hypertext hilarity. Of course, we are not qualified to join in
the more serious forms of cultural discourse and debate. We
are not specialists. We are not experts. Unskilled,
unschooled, our anthems come not from the hallowed halls of
higher learning, but from the vox populi arena-rock of Pink
Floyd: "We don't need no education. We don't need no thought
control." Oh double-dear. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the
world. Mere Napster. Mere Gnutella. Mere-to-mere networking.
Meanwhile Sony Records wrings its metonymic corporate hands,
bemoaning the fact that we cannot hear the falconer -- of
copyright, ownership, control. As e.e. cummings once wrote:
"Humanity I love you because you are perpetually putting the
secret of life in your pants and forgetting it's there and
sitting down on it." Meanwhile, we're going like: "Falconer?
What falconer??? Dude, what are you even *talking* about?"

Thanks to the Internet, global culture is out of control. As
are deep jungle rain forests. As are the stars, the night, the
music of the spheres. Go look at a soap bubble, as I finally
did (straight) many years later. Look closely and for a long
time. Just before it bursts, you will see millions of
swirling, impossible colors. Imagine a world in which this
world is possible. Imagine the Stones still blasting away from
the past but with greater urgency than ever, "Love, sister,
it's just a kiss away, kiss away, kiss away..." The barricades
are gone, but the truth remains: we won. And all that time, I
thought I was just hallucinating.

We won? We who? Shit, I guess I *was* hallucinating. And oh
yeah that reminds me, I've lately been reading this terrific
and enormously fat volume:

   Madness and Modernism: 
   Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought
It's part of the research I'm doing for an article that will
run in Harvard Business Review just before Gonzo comes out.
I'm thinking to call it "Screaming at the Demons in the
Elevator Shaft: Spiritual Proctology, Marketing Prophylaxis
and Public Relations." Maybe that's too long though. I dunno.
Send ideas.


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"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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The Bombast Transcripts

Gonzo Marketing

The Cluetrain Manifesto

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...the ventriloquial voice is both an attempt to imagine and pit the the speech of the body against the speech of culture, and an attempt to control that illegitimate speech, to draw it into discourse...

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