Joho the BlogFebruary 2002 - Joho the Blog

February 28, 2002

Same Grim Mime Rags NOTE:

Same Grim Mime Rags

NOTE: An article in this week’s New Yorker (“The Riddler” by Burkhard Bilger) mentions that one of the puzzlemasters points out that Pepsi-Cola spokesdroid Britney Spears anagrams to “Presbyterians” while Pepsi-Cola anagrams to “Episcopal.”

At last night’s RIM GAMES, hosted by TART JEW SON, it was no surprise that SILKY ACE AI won a total of 5 GERM AIMS or that FOLLY NATURED took Best Female Vocal Performance. And YELL DAME DRAMA from the movie RUIN MULE GOO deserved the award it got. Old-Timers ZANY RV TINKLE won for Male Rock Vocal Performance and ROYAL JAM SET got Male Pop Vocal Performance. But no one was expecting EARTH WHORE BOTHER TOUR to walk away with album of the year! After all, HOW HE TORTURE EAR BROTH is ASS LEG RUB music!

On a non-anagramatic note, man was I pissed at Michael Greene’s diatribe against Napsterism! As if the recording industry is looking out for the interests of the musicians. As Ken Layne writes, Michael Greene “is like John Ashcroft without the charm. ”

Courtney Love for President!

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Links and Responses Jeneane Sessum

Links and Responses

Jeneane Sessum and Others have started the “BlogSisters” communiblog. I love the tagline: “Where men can link, but they can’t touch.”

Kevin Marks blogs about Dawkins in response to my annoyed comments. Says Kevin:

Dawkins has written very well and clearly, and had some very original ideas. Hwoever, these days he seems to be writing the same book over and over again…

Or, as I’d put it, Dawkins is one meme away from being a crank.

(Kevin’s blog also recommends the right Steven Pinker books to read.)

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Crit Snit The Affaire Dvorak

Crit Snit

The Affaire Dvorak has happily meta-ed itself well past Dvorak himself. I’m quite enjoying the many blogs about the importance, danger and art of criticizing one another. Wealth Bondage has a awesome list of How to Criticize, and AKMA reminds us how hard real criticism is. Damn straight. That’s why good teachers are so rare.

AKMA points to Cinnamon’s correspondence with Dave Rogers in which she suggests that bloggers happily blogging to and about one another constitute an exclusionary clique. AKMA responds by recasting the same phenomenon in different value-laden words: “Somewhere someone got the odd idea that it’s wrong for people with similar interests to hang out together…”

You’re both right. (And to satisfy those who insist that criticism is the only proof of authenticity: You’re both wrong.) CAUTION: Extreme obviousness ahead. Of course we like to talk with people who are interested in the same things and who share the assumptions that let a conversation go forward. Of course this can become a clique when it excludes difference and pats itself on the back for doing so. Of course this can also be the way in which the world is joined and minds are enlarged. And that is precisely why we are — in general — better off opting for praise and elaboration rather than criticism and condemnation: criticizing others is all too often a way of excluding them from the conversation.

Of course, such criticism isn’t what criticism is truly about. Separating the wheat from the chaff — the original meaning of criticism — is a form of respect. But, in that regard I’d say that the hyper-clique that grew up around the blogthread on authenticity was highly self-critical.

But we don’t have to — and can’t — legislate what is the Proper and Acceptable Form of Criticism. As AKMA writes, we

…can keeping writing one another into copyright-free harmony, and we can criticize one another, and encourage one another, and printa donna journalists can find criticism and encouragement at the level of insight that’s comfortable for them.

CAUTION: Sermonizing obviousness ahead. It’s the same in bloggery as everywhere else: we are drawn to what draws us, we are interested in what interests us. The only difference is that we have an epochal opportunity to learn from one another. The criticism that mocks does so at the cost of learning, although it has its own pleasures: little is more enjoyable than a ripping good flame fest. The cost: flames anodize cliques. Real criticism is exactly what makes learning possible.

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R-E-$-P-E-C-T Megatokyo, spurred by Blue


Megatokyo, spurred by Blue Mountains Arts deciding to charge for their e-cards, has a long reflection on respect and the Web economy. MegaTokyo is serving up 10,000,000 page views a month and thus has some skin in this particular game.

I think that an understanding of human nature is almost more important here on the web than in any other business environment. Why? because unlike in the real world we are used to, we’ve been trained to an ‘us and them’ mentality in regards to our entertainment and things that we purchase in stores – we are consumers, they are providers. On the net, its different. … We all have the same basic presence on the net – its how we use it that makes us who we are here.

This doesn’t change the fact that Blue Mountain Arts has picked the wrong business model. Rather than charging the sender, they ought to charge the recipients: “You’ve received a card from A Secret Admirer. Please deposit $0.50 to retrieve it.”

[Thanks to David Landgren for pointing me to MegaTokyo.]

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February 27, 2002

Sitting Out the Flames I’m

Sitting Out the Flames

I’m deeply uninterested in having a flame war with John Dvorak. In fact, I wasn’t going to blog today since I’m on the road and have about 45 seconds before I have to unplug.

I did like Tom Matrullo’s comments on Kottke’s board.

And to become rather miscellaneous, Chip points us to an article that continues the propagation of the belief that a major conspiracy is about to emerge, one involving Afghanistan, Bin Laden, pipelines, Enron and why Cheney is hiding those with whom he met. (Michael Moore said on The Daily Show the other day that Cheney was meeting with the Taliban about a pipeline up until a month before 9/11.) I haven’t had time to read the page I’m pointing you to, which is, of course, the height of irresponsibility. That is, it’s bloggin’, baby! Go decide for yourself if this is worth reading. As always.

I also haven’t had time to read the new Dystopical but I don’t have to be confident in recommending it to you.

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February 26, 2002

More MiscLinks Martin Jensen recommends

More MiscLinks

Martin Jensen recommends a site about Richard Dawkins, about whom I
railed the
other day.

Here’s a John Perry Barlow interview
in which he uses the phrase “private totalitarianism”
to label the corporate attempt to own the economy
of ideas as well as the economy of work and money.

Eric Norlin has uniblogged his metablog about the inner relation of blogging and rap. (Ok, so maybe “uniblogged” for publishing a concatenation of blogs isn’t a keeper. But Eric’s content is.)

If you want the inside scoop on the Olympics ice skating scandal, you should glide on over to Mary Lu Wehmeier’s site. She’s not just a geek, she’s a former figure skating geek.

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At Your Self-Service You can

At Your Self-Service

You can read the online version of an interview with me in FastCompany here. Best of all, you’ll be spared the super-high-res, super-close-up, actual-size, mole-and-pore enhanced photo.

Also, I’ve collated my blogged TED trip reports to make them even easier for you to avoid. Yes, JOHO, serving the needs of its readers since 1995.

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Ancient Works of Fiction The

Ancient Works of Fiction

The lovely site that features — surprise! — tiny applications is running a contest involving getting a CD ROM to be recognized by a Windows 95 partition. The reason I mention this is the prize:

The first subscriber to provide an answer that solves this problem … will receive a gently used copy of (this is not a joke) “Writing Solid Code — Microsoft’s Techniques for Developing Bug-Free Programs”. I spotted it at my local “Friends of the Library” for a mere 10 cents. Find out more about this masterpiece at

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February 25, 2002

MiscLinks At Dan Dubno’s site,


At Dan Dubno’s site, Gizmorama, you’ll find a link to the amazing EarthViewer, demoed at TED. Type an address into the client and it delivers a cinematically thrilling aerial view of the locatio. There’s a 14-day free trial on the site. The Gizmorama site also has links to other ditigal images of the earth and a link to CBS News’ comprehensive links about disasters of every stripe.

Dave Rogers blogs on Dvorak on Cluetrain and blogging (see my previous blog entry).

Tom Shugart has started a blog. Looks promising. His very first entry is a reflection on the authenticity blogthread. Tom takes a pretty radically existential position: “…inventing the self is a supreme act of personal responsibility. You’re either creating it and putting it out there or you’re operating as a default self—i.e., without authenticity.” Invent or discover? (Note: Tom’s way too flattering about this blog. I am blushing undeservedly.)

Hermani Dimantas has started a blog. I assume it’s good because, although it’s in Portuguese and thus impenetrable to me, I know from correspondence with Hermani that he’s an enthusiastic, smart guy.

Ryan Mulcahy, from Darwin Magazine for whom I write a weekly online column, recommends a site for people trying to quit cigarettes. My mother died of lung cancer, Ryan, so you know I mean it when I wish you luck and strength.

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Dvorak on Cluetrain and Blogging

Dvorak on Cluetrain and Blogging

John Dvorak goes after Cluetrain and blogging. His closely reasoned argument is “Isn’t this dumb?” and his evidence is “Hey, I’m cynical and they’re not!”

Fun reading. For example:

In fact the brown-nosing that goes on between bloggers singing each others’ praises makes the worst office kiss-ups look tame by comparison. I mention this anomaly since these Cluetrain folks all believe the opposite to be true. Somehow networking like this, according to the Cluetrainees, reveals truth—when in fact it supports and forces the worst kind of conformist behavior. Try to find a blog that is ever critical of another blog. I’ve never seen it.

Yeah, we’re generally guilty of trying to find what’s good in what other bloggers are writing. (Wasn’t the original point of blogging to recommend sites?) But maybe Dvorak should read a little a more before he announces bloggers never criticize one another. What a hoot.

Mike Sanders and Halley Suitt blog excellent comments on Dvorak. (Oops, excuse me, there I go being positive again! I meant to say: Mike Sanders and Halley Suitt are full of shit! My God do they suck! I hate them!)

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