Bureau of Control on Sun, 27 Sep 1998 21:27:07 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> Oliver Marchart: Greetings from Neutopia

Pit Schultz wrote:
>     Von: oliver@t0.or.at (Oliver Marchart)
>   Datum: 27.09.98, 14:23:03
> Betreff: Oliver Marchart: Greetings from Neutopia
> Greetings from Neutopia
> For a Colonial Discourse Analysis of Cyberspace
> by Oliver Marchart
>  "As the price to connect to Cyberspace continues to rise by the privatiza=
> tion of the Net, more and more souls are pushed out of the New World. The =
> Old World is corrupting the New World which has the potential to liberate =
> the dreams of the water inside the Global Brain".
> This quote is taken from a printed collection mostly of e-mails, which has=
>  been put together by Alan Sondheim. The sender is a Goddess by the name o=
> f Doctress Neutopia (aka Gaia Queen) and her mail [1] bears the subject he=
> ader: "Message from Neutopia". Doctress Neutopia and her Church is a USENE=
> T "troll", a hoax especially designed as an easy target for critiques of e=
> co-hippie-ideology. Nonetheless, in order to be operative the whole joke h=
> as to sound realistic, that is to say, it has to employ already existing i=
> deological material. The completely moronic neologisms of the Church - lik=
> e "lovolution", "cyborgasm" or "soulization" - could quite easily stem fro=
> m some "real" hippie-tribes of the Internet - a place highly susceptible t=
> o neologisms. The Doctress Neutopia's cult is so "realistic", in a way, th=
> at it became one of the rare and sublime moments where parody turns into r=
> eality and reality turns into parody[2].

Not exactly a hoax. Doctress Neutopia (Libby Hubbard) is serious, and is
(or was) based at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She used
to post her plans for a utopia organized as a sort of hive, with herself
as queen, to alt.cyberpunk, alt.slack, alt.magick, and similar groups
until the usenet gods gave her a newsgroup of her
own--alt.society.neutopia--in 1994. I read it, er, religiously for most
of 1995. The newsgroup's population is Doctress Neutopia, a few friends,
and a legion of mockers and scoffers like Lupus Yonderboy and "Jesse
Garon" (named after Elvis Presley's stillborn twin brother). There was a
lot to parody. Drs. Neutopia also posted the often embarrassing details
of her love affairs/attempts to kick off the lovolution.

The scoffers made short work of Neutopian ideology. The <A
HREF="http://www.primenet.com/~lathrop/monster.html">Monster Truck
Neutopians</A> gave themselves titles like Chief of the Secret Police
and Chief Sanitation Engineer, held barbecues, wrote songs, and adopted
as their anthem "Wild & Blue", a country/western ballad about a cheatin'
husband, by U.K. pop group The Mekons. Neutopia is so easy a target it
spawned its (highly entertaining) parody long ago. 

Somewhat in the context of Oliver's piece, you could say Neutopia is an
updated version of early American utopian colonies like Oneida and the
Shakers, though of course it never went beyond the planning stages.
Speaking of the Shakers, Neutopian sex is a nonphysical "massgasm," a
sort of group version of the Shakers' "karezza."

Thanks, Oliver, for reminding me about this. Alt.society.neutopia has
definitely seen better days (Neutopian and Monster Truck Neutopian
websites are decaying fast) but, like Camelot, it will always exist in
the hearts of those willing to believe...
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