Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Friday, November 12, 2004
Amazon hypercites
Bezos blows my mind. Again.

There's something new going on at Amazon, and it's pretty amazing. I guess I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. About 15 years ago, well before there was a world wide web, I wrote a longish piece that ended up as the introduction to an 11-volume Datapro series on workgroup computing. Part of my rambling and speculative thumbsucker described how various structural parts of a book are analogous to hyperlinks: the table of contents links to chapters; index entries link to pages where those terms appear; superscripted numbers in the text link to footnotes; books cited in the text and footnotes link to the bibliography.

It's that last one that Amazon has just implemented. Quietly, it seems. At least I hadn't seen anything about it. But when I noticed it for the first time last night, it truly blew me away. How about an example, Chris? OK. For example, the Art in Theory series (there are three volumes) is fantastic -- a history of art in documents that defined, described and shaped various schools and movements from 1648 to the 21st century. I'm hot on the trail of Clement Greenberg and aestheticism at the moment.

But that's not the amazing part. Click through to Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. When you get there, page down a bit till you see this:

This book cites 132 books:

See all 132 books this book cites

The book titles link to the main book pages, as you'd suspect, but the "on X pages" links go to individual sublinks on that last big list ("See all 132 books this book cites"), and those sublinks go to specifically referenced pages inside the books cited. As Madame Levy might say: Mon Dieu!

And that's not all you'll get! If you call now, you'll also get this handsome set of Ginsu Steak Knives!

No, wait. That's my other blog. Start again...

You'll also get, in some cases -- in this case for The Rites of Assent: Transformations in the Symbolic Construction of America by Sacvan Bercovitch -- something that looks like this.

70 books that cite this book:

See all 70 books citing this book

The implications of this new feature are just short of mind boggling (hard to tell from this end, as my mind boggled long ago). All joking aside, it will revolutionize serious research and scholarship. Which of course is why it's got RageBoy® so turned on. Why, just look at how excited he is!

11:59 AM | link |

I'm 57 today. Not that you'd know it to read my blog.

Categorical Imperative
A term which originated in Immanuel Kant's ethics.
It expresses the moral law as ultimately enacted by
reason and demanding obedience from mere respect
for reason. Except when you're exceptionally horny.

5:24 AM | link |

choose (or invent) your identity
I ran across a book called The Emerson Effect: Individualism and Submission in America by Christopher Newfield. This is from the chapter titled "Authoritarian Language."
Sacvan Bercovitch offers a similar combination . Emerson insists that language "is an exercise not in the powers of the individual imagination but in the philology of nature." But Emerson also believes that the use of natural language requires the poet's previous will to "choose (or invent) his identity, and then to impose his own patterns upon experience." To Bercovitch's romantic poet, reception is identically self-reception. Even "the imitation of Christ became for him the process of duplicating himself... a deific creation ex imaginatione in which caritas depended upon autonomy, and plenitude was narcissism extended to infinity." [emphasis mine]

Here's a small piece loosely (so far) joined to the above...

I'm looking at Manifest Destiny as a prototypically American idea, tracing its roots backward to edenic Puritan notions of an Anglo-Aryan "Elect" predestined by God for salvation (all others not only can, but must, go to Hell), and its extension forward through the mid-19th century Transcendentalists to the late-20th "Human Potential Movement" -- a shifting of manifest destiny from geographic imperialism to a psychological form of internal auto-colonialism: "self-actualization."

This last and potent meme, ironically, having incubated and pandemically dispersed from the Pacific coast, specifically Esalen Institute, where geographic "destiny" could no longer manifest, has morphed into a notion of elite (largely white Christian) entitlement and exploitativeness that is virtually indistinguishable from pathological narcissism as defined by the DSM-IV -- and is "manifesting" today from outraged public headlines to the broken intimacy of private bedrooms.

Included will be pit stops in 17th & 19th century evangelical "awakenings," faux-Oriental imports of seance-driven spiritualism and Emersonian "Oversoul," spiced with rabid racism, an all-too-real pre-WWII American eugenics program, and culminating in an American public -- not just the Christian Right -- that's living in a nostalgic dreamworld of alpha-dominant triumphalism rationalized by a spooky hoo-doo "spirituality": the purportedly new New Age.

RageBoy® fending off a calligrapher

2:37 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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