Jon Lebkowsky on Fri, 28 Mar 1997 05:03:35 +0100 (MET)

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Re: <nettime> metatainment

At 05:28 PM 3/27/97 -0800, via RadioMail wrote:

>The whole question of WIRED needing new "Ideology" (i.e. Kevin's goofy
>posts of late -- which got the "metatainment" thread going hereabouts) is
>the issue at hand.  As you recall I have had more than a little to do with
>this phase of the follies.  That's the "all this" referred to above not the
>earlier "Goofy" phases.
>The whole "Goofy" thread has been about public lynching from the beginning
>(not seriously talking about WIRED, but fueled instead off shocked
>reactions to nettime essays) and the last many hundred posts have had my
>neck in that noose -- right where I put it, of course.

I wouldn't say *shocked* reactions...more like bemused (on the part of
Bruce Sterling, who started the show).  And you were not described as
"goofy", but as "loony" after your English ideology rant was posted.  As
for "Kevin's goofy posts" -- he's clearly been joking.

>It's funny how some folks are uncomfortable with the way these things
>really work, that's all.  

Not quite clear what you mean: do you sense that I'm somehow uncomfortable
that you've been reviled as a loon?  It didn't bother me, I got that you
were in on the joke.

>Sorry for keeping plates spinning unnecessarily on all this and I promise
>to stop right here.  As I've indicated over at the WELL, I'll soon be
>departing the gallows.  How about Easter Sunday?  Thanks for inviting me to
>join the "Goofy" topic but I think I hear my father calling me.  

Roll away the stone, St. Mark!

The dismissive "goofy leftists" characterization as well as the "sniping at
Wired" project and your "English ideology" rave-up all seem like so much
air to me at this  point.  A great bar fight, but what does it leave us? A
few broken chairs, bottles...perhaps a decent hangover.

I missed much of the action, battling as I was on another front, with
"goofy libertarians" who seem to advocate absolute freedom minus the dodgy
issue of social responsibility; a losing battle if there ever was one.  I
can see that the topic on the WELL has bled dry, and what're we left with?
No better understanding of Wired Ventures, I think or of our own various
positions in the dynamic of infoculture or technoculture or whatever this
cyborganic compost should be called.

What struck me throughout that conversation was your (and others')
allegiances to particular slices of cultural history none of which made
much of an impression on me before now, and my view hasn't changed.  I
don't, for instance, see H.G. Wells as a significant figure, and could care
less at this point what happened to his mind at the end of its tether.  I
prefer the messy organic vision of James Joyce...or perhaps I prefer to
dismiss the weight of history and make bigger and better mistakes without

Jon Lebkowsky     *     *
* Austin conference, Electric Minds  (
* Electronic Frontiers Forum, HotWired (
* Vice President, EFF-Austin (

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