Interview with Mondo 2000's RU Sirius on the internet's techno-utopian past and clusterf*cked present

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/10/interview-with-mondo-2000s-ru-sirius-on-the-internets-techno-utopian-past-and-clusterfcked-present.html

But, the Whole Earth Catalog was the Whole Earth Catalog of the nineties. Not just publishing every so often, but there was still the Whole Earth Review, a continuation of CoEvolution Quarterly, which was really an hour extension of the Catalog, after a pause.

Somewhere in there I read about Modo 2000, I’m not even sure I saw the magazine in real life.

And yes, I thought people would change to come to the internet. The online world was elite, given the need for skill and money, so I’m not sure the vision was wrong. A women’s group in 1993 found porn, and thought something must be done, rather than see the potential for their work. When our local freenet arrived in 1996, they wanted to be the bus company, a utility. It lasted four months, closing after I issued a broadside saying it needed changing, the internet was about participation. A second group stepped up immediately, telling us this was important because “poor people” needed access to resources, very paternalistic. No, I yelled, they needed the power that the internet could give them.

Commerce provided what the masses wanted, and the masses arrived when it was simple for them, at which point it was too late to define the space themselves.

Anyone can soapbox, but that doesn’t mean they get an audience. Instead of building communal/cooperative spaces, we built “my spaces” which reinforce the bad.

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it printed its last issue in 1998

Was it that late? I first picked one up in late 1995 or early 1996 – before that, the cover price was (for me) about an hour’s wages.

ETA: I think Factsheet 5 published its last issue around the same time, but by then I wasn’t paying much attention because we had the web. Also, now that I think about it, I have been online for 25 years, just about to the day.

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I have heard that it was 98, but I never saw that issue in person.

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I had a subscription, and the issues got very sporadic at the end there. My recollection is they really stopped regularly producing issues in '96, then released a final “Fall/Winter '97” issue - that probably ended up coming out in '98.

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Yeah, I remember buying the one, and then another one like 6 months? A year? later. Forced Exposure kind of fizzled out the same way.

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Let’s see, I still have the issues around somewhere… the last issue, 17, was the “Fall/Winter '97” issue (which I guess kept being printed in '98?), but issue 16 was the “Winter '96/'97” issue. I think I renewed my subscription in late '96, so I only got one or two magazines from it.

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Sadly, you never really hear about teledildonics anymore.

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But doesn’t the field exist, just nobody uses rhe name?

There was a story here in the last fewyears about some remote controlled vibrator, the problem that made the news I’ve forgotten.

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The cyberpunk dystopia predicted by yesteryear was a harsh, cruel world where life was cheap. But at least everyone dressed cool and were insightful cynics of their age.

For the actual cyberpunk dystopia we live in. People aren’t cool. They suffer from various forms of magical thinking. And they actively work against their own self interest. If someone in 1980 wrote a novel that was anything like 2020, I would have thrown it in the trash for being the most convoluted and pointless piece of fiction.

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“The characters are unbelievable, the situations aren’t remotely plausible, and it’s all generally awful in ways that don’t make sense!”

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People’s criticism of zombie/alien invasion movies prior to 2020:
“This is absurd; the people are acting irrationally and so I can’t suspend my disbelief to buy into the story”

After 2020:
“This is absurd; the people aren’t acting irrationally enough and so I can’t suspend my disbelief to buy into the story.”

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Why in fnord would you snip a lengthy Wikipedia-grade summary of Mondo when you could actually snip something along the lines of:

reality-defying chaos fascism

plus a Hakim Bey call out!

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If Hakim Bey hasn’t been cancelled yet then there is more wrong with the world than we thought.

Yes perhaps a question mark after my exclamation point would have better conveyed my reaction to said call out.

The main character should break into a cake factory, scream “Molon labe”, steal a van full of twinkies, eat most of them, gets diabetes, then sues the government for election fraud.

And after pleading felony grand theft auto down to a misdemeanor criminal mischief, complains that his probation violates his 2nd amendment right, starts a GoFundMe to hire a legal team to overturn his conviction but also to write a book to prove that Bill Clinton was the first black President. Goes on a circuit of right-wing talk shows to mansplain how the Democrats, and especially the Clintons, are part of a world-wide conspiracy to make cake give you diabetes. “Just follow the money” he repeats in every interview.

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