21 March 2004

Quote for the Day

John Leonard, from "Cyberpunk Rocks" in When the Kissing Had to Stop*:
"Into the code": space-pad, send-key, readout, blink rate, arbitrary input, navigation error....Information isn't knowledge, and information density isn't wisdom. It makes you wonder. When was this meeting where they voted out existential humanism and voted in pomo? Why wasn't I invited? Isn't pomo really one big cover-up for the failure of the French to write a truly interesting novel ever since a sports car ate Albert Camus? Without gravity, can there be any grace? Instead of sitting around being valorized by pomo, why aren't the punks out there doing something about the ownership of the modes of production by Bell Atlantic, Liberty Media, Walt Disney, Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Si Newhouse, Viacom, and Time Warner? Have any of these people, pomo or punk, during downtime ever read Beloved or Midnight's Children or One Hundred Years of Solitude; spent a night as a volunteer at a homeless shelter, worked with AIDS patients, saved whales, stopped a troop train or a lynching, sought to walk in the virtual shoes of schoolteachers, migrant workers, and physical therapists, engaged what's really out there among the "end users," beyond the "abstracted interface," the "database protocol," the "test-bed methodology," and the "parallel processing," instead of posturing in front of it, striking attitudes like matches? Are Shining Path and Khmer Rouge punk? Postmodern? Is virtual reality the same as phone sex? Is it really true that ten minutes of a Mozart piano sonata enhances abstract brain activity? Don't you, too, hope that when the last soft machine in cyberspace is about to disappear into the ultimate black-rabbit-hole of deathmetal digits adding up to NULL case, what it will whistle in the dark is something like a Magic Flute?



*the full title of which is When the Kissing Had to Stop: Cult Studs, Khmer Newts, Langley Spooks, Techno-Geeks, Video Drones, Author Gods, Serial Killers, Vampire Media, Alien Sperm-Suckers, Satanic Therapists, and Those of Us Who Hold a Left-Wing Grudge in the Post Toasties New World Hip-Hop

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