Newmedia on Tue, 29 Sep 1998 20:14:35 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> The Manifesto of January 3, 2000


Bravo!  Hilarious!!  

Whata joker . . . you've really done it now.  Talk about stand-up
epistemology.  Or, rather, stand-up epidemiology!

One can only hope that your silliness becomes very widely contagious.  Silly
people all over the place.  Dropping like flies in a cloud of Burrough's bug-
juice . . . from excruciatingly paralysing laughter, n'est pas?

Let's see, how long has this joke been making the rounds?  30 years?  70
years?  H.G. Wells' "The Open Conspiracy" was first published in 1928.  Now,
that's a truly funny manifesto.  You greatly admire Wells, as I recall.  He's
your sci-fi inspiration-hero, right?  Yes, your "manifesto" does have a noble
comic(book)-parentage. Viridians?  Ever hear about the "New Samurais"?

[OK, check out, for a few more hints on the
comedy behind this fascinating "manifesto."  I just can't decide which Sub-
Order I wish to join.  Do I want to join Caitiff or Ouroboros or Oblivion,
Shadow Circle,  Arcdia or The Downward Spiral?  Mighty attractive.  Maybe I
should start my own Sub-Order and get on the Viridian Council.  Yum, yum.]

Or, is this an the intended sequel to Kenneth Boulding's famous put-on, "The
Report From Iron Mountain"?   What happens when "Anti-War" doesn't bang your
gong?  I've got it . . . let's have an "Earth Day."  Or, was that a "Net Day"?
I forget.  Just ask the "Invisible College", they'll know.

Panic.  Fix the world with Culture.  Social Engineer away humanity.  Social
Psychology to the rescue.  Seduce them with glamour.  "Gratify people's
desires."  "Green high fashion."  How delicious.  How goofy.

And, in case your appeal to saving the starving masses isn't funny enough
(which, of course, it won't be, for the obvious reason that starving isn't
funny), you offer . . . power and influence.  To "we Viridians"!
Ouroborosians Unite!

You say, "Also, as digital technologists, thinkers, writers, designers,
cultural critics, und so weiter, we Viridians suspect that the rise of the
Culture Industry is bound to increase our own immediate power and influence .
. ."  More power and influence than whom?  "Vis-a-vis, say, coal mining
executives" you continue.  Brilliant satire.  

Everyone knows there are no coal mining executives any more.  Pneumatic
interns in thong underwear have more power and influence than those long-
disappeared "coal mining executives."  But, be careful, you might let it slip
out.  You don't want to make getting the joke too easy, do you?  Make people
work for it, OK?

"Power and influence."  My. My.  Are you offering now-empty seats on your
"Viridian" Global Business Network roundtable (which you gleefully refer to as
the "Hippie Trilateral Commision") to actual artists?  Activists?  Nettimers?
Und so weiters?  Hilarious.  Stand-up epidemiology.

After the GBN's ultimate scenario-man, Peter Schwartz, leveraged himself into
earthorbit and placed all his chips on "The Long Boom" (WIRED 5.07) and his
scheme exploded in everyone's face in less than one year -- Kaboom -- what's a
jokester to do?  Admit that it was all a joke?  Tell the truth, the whole
truth and nothing but the truth?  No, no, no.  It's far too late for that.  

How about following Alan Arkin's famous advise?  Go serpentine!  They'll never
be able to hit you that way.

Did Schwartz discuss global financial piracy?  No.  Did you?  No.

Serpentine.  Ignore the real culprits.

Did Schwartz discuss the replacement of humanity with replicants?  No.  Did
you?  No.

Serpentine.  Ignore the real problem.

Did Schwartz discuss real energy and health breakthroughs?  No.  Did you?  No.

Serpentine.  Ignore the real solutions.  The human solution.

Peter Lamborn Wilson's (aka Hakim Bey's) lecture last week in New York on the
origins of shamanism was really refreshing.  And honest.  He simply wants to
be a Neanderthal.  Really.  He "resembles that remark."  Truthfully.  The hell
with your blue-green "Viridians."  The hell with your "glamour."  The hell
with your software communism.  Back to the Cave!  Grrrrr!!

You want to end humanity?   You have two choices.  Take the esoteric road or
the exoteric road.  High road or low road?  Which one gets you to Scotland
afore ye?

Esoteric.  You can joke your way into Oblivion -- stand-up epidemiology.
Infect 'em.  Germ 'em to death.  Meme-virus-brainblast 'em until they are so
"mediated" that they don't remember what it was like to not be medicated.
Offer 'em anything . . . especially "power and influence."  Silly, silly,

Exoteric.  Or, you can tell the truth.  You really want to reduce global
energy-flux density?  Be honest.  Cut the CO2 crap.  If you think there are
too many people, indeed, if you think we'd be better off without people at
all, admit that you're a lleading sponsor for what you term "negligent
genocide."  Yipes.  How about "species-cide"?  Humans as the only endangered
species?  Now that would be honest, n'est pas?

Get historic.  Get explicit.  Where did we go wrong?  How about the story
about when the Cro-Magnons usurped the Neanderthals.  How about that marvelous
"Bad Seed" story?  Sound familiar?  Ask Peter about it.  He feels it all the
way down to this oddly long second toe.

But, the world can only take so many PLW/HB's, right?  (Gee, Cindy, I don't
know about those Neanderthals.  They look, well you know, odd.)  And, the
world loves a good epidemiologist-comedian, right?  (He looks so human,
doesn't he Cindy?  Kinda cute, right?  And, so lifelike.)

Congratulations.  We all needed a good laugh since Barlow hung up his
keyboard.  Silly, silly, silly.


Mark Stahlman
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