Saturday, December 22, 2001

Ah--I see our own Jack Reed has posted a wonderful retort to the bag-o-wind on Amazon who thinks Gonzo Marketing is not book worthy. As good as the review is (and it is), it's even better that Amazon has somehow managed to post it twice in a row, nicely boosting Gonzo back up to four-and-a-half stars. Nice gonzo goin Jack!

Text below:
Sweep Away the Cobwebs & See What's Behind Them, December 19, 2001
Reviewer: Jack Reed from Bay Area, CA

I disagree with the recent review that thinks this subject only deserves an "article" instead of a book. The reviewer seems to think that because Locke does not provide a nice neat little well annotated map of the future of the Net as it relates to business and marketing that he hasn't done a service worthy of "book" status.

Just because you recognize that something is wrong doesn't mean you know precisely what right is. We all know that the torrent of spam that we are daily assailed with is the wrong way to market on the Web (how many of you have really bought anything that was so advertised). But while Gonzo Marketing does not spell out the precise ABCs of what is developing in this New World, he does a very exemplary job of talking about it's roots and realities. I think perhaps the most important single word that is used in both Gonzo Marketing (and The Cluetrain Manifesto) is "voice". The Net and it's derivitive, the Web, are forums for the individual voice to speak quietly but to a huge audience. It is this voice, this individual human communication that matters, because while we'll all trash a spam email within milliseconds, most of us will responed to a truly individual message from another human being. This takes the market back to what is originally was before it was usurped by corporations to mean masses of blank faces, and present it as the simple aggregation of people who wish to have discourse about their daily needs and perhaps exchange a few items for a few other items. Never mind that we're not really a bartering economy anymore, the character of that ancient market place is still deeply embedded in our psyches and most of us feel comfortable on that more personal basis. Locke even points out that Amazon is participating in his view of the current Net market by the very fact that it lets it's buyers review the books they purchase and thereby pass on to others a personal account of the value of the product.

So I say that you should buy the book if you are prepared to think for yourselves and project what Locke says onto whatever micro world you live and make money in. There simply are no books that can tell you extactly how to do it, although many claim to, but this book reminds you of lots of truths that you may have let slip into the sub-conscious realm, and once you have brought them back into view it is quite possible that you can apply Gonzo principles to whatever it is that you do with your life.

I'm sure it'll be a slow week over here on RGE, unless folks take time off from their eggnog to blog. Over in RageBoy land in his EGR and the Way It Was post, there's a really interesting reference to a book Steve Larsen is working on, "What Were We Thinking?" The best place to read it is over on Topica, where Chris posts the first chapter. For anyone into Gonzo Marketing or the end of business as usual, this is really amazing. Reading Larsen's recap of the smoke-filled brain-busting gatherings of the early net catalysts is like being a fly on the wall at a party for the coolest of the cool people. Better yet, a full-fledged RageBoy rant is recounted--sure to please rage-heads everywhere.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

And to all a good night.... it is an oft too repeated truism that this Season and it's Spirit can create quite the opposite feelings in a lot of people. I look on Christmas in much the same way I did as a child, which is to say I hold it in my heart the way I did as a child. As for the present, to echo Christopher's lament, it can become way too blue and far too stressed out. In my case that's partly because I cannot completely recapture the innocence of Christmas Past. I still love to sing carols, and I get misty eyed at the strangest times, but I live alone and do not put up a tree because that would only emphasize the point that the family always decorated the tree together and I don't need yet another reminder that I will be spending this time of togetherness alone. Maybe the blues Chris was speaking of had nothing to do with Christmas (he did say they were for no particular reason), but Jeneane echoed similar thoughts and so have many others in my circle of friends. It is indeed ironic that I feel blue when I still feel that this is a season of great emotional depth, good tidings and joy.

And by the way, Jeneane, I do think the silence was accidental... a mere reflection of the ebb and flow of the life tides of it's members.

And Chris, I did read some of EGR and the Topica Archives (and wrote my own review of Gonzo with a bit of counterpoint to the item you mentioned). There is so much there to read and my time is not always my own, but it's good to know the archives are there whenever I do get a few minutes to do as I please.

So I hope your blues are a shade you can deal with. Put some Blues CDs on the changer and listen. The Blues are a tonic for being in a Blue Mood! Just lay back and listen to a great player bending those notes like the world tries to bend us. The notes always resolve and so mostly do our lives.

Good Cheer to all....
Good article: Independents Day: When it comes to Net news, small can be beautiful by J.D.Lasica.
"each created and operated largely by one person, show that you don't need a large staff and venture-capital seed money to do news on the Net.(...) What the creators of KenRadio, Kuro5hin, IWantMedia and Metafilter share is a relentless drive, a passion for their subject matter, and an abiding respect for the power of the Internet to reach thousands of readers cheaply and effectively "
You're not alone, Jeneane, grueling work and the holiday rigmorole have been a deadly combination for me this year. "No patience for reason, no time for truth" has been resonating all month. Also resonating in a more positive key, though, has been proof (?) that the gonzo model could work even in my own stodgy old profession, the legal one. As an appellate lawyer, I and my ilk tend to long unrequitedly for ways to forge genuine connections with our core audience - the judges who decide whether our clients deserve to win the cases we present. Do judges have passions too, that have nothing - yet perhaps everything - to do with how they go about their daily grind of administering justice? Boy howdy yeah, who knew? Here in my neck of the woods they seem to be downright taken with Winston Churchill (scroll down to "Local and National" and read on). Unsurprisingly, Sir Winston has a number of loyal fans here at The Firm, as well. Hmmm.... Further proof that gonzo lives in unexpected places is a wildly witty column that one of these Churchillian jurists produces every month for a local bar association magazine and Web site: A Criminal Waste Of Space. Bill Bedsworth clearly needs a blog.

Keep the Visine and egg nog close at hand and all will be well.
Hey, hello, I haven't died. yet. Actually, I've been putting a bit more time in on my zine, Entropy Gradient Reversals -- that's the link to the web page, but uh, mumble... I haven't updated it for about two years I think. Nothing like being a real on-top-of-it web goo-roo, eh? To see what I've been spewing forth elsewhere of late, you'll have much better luck checking the EGR Topica archive (please overlook the fact that the posts are in chronological order so that you have to page to the end to see the new ones. Duh! Topica is a little slow in the interface dept.) Of course, all this is assuming you give a rat's ass what I've been up to. Just thought I'd explain why I've been such a stranger here. Also, apropos of nothing in particular, I've got the dirty funky no-good low-down good-for-nothin blues tonight for reasons I don't even want to think about. But that's another story altogether.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Jack, I am sorry and guilty. I have been so consumed with family issues that I haven't paid attention to anything. When silence creeps in, I tend to go back and quote Gonzo...

"People tend to join into self-selecting communities online, but unless we’re talking about buying clubs, they don’t typically aggregate around products. Instead, they come together around common interests. They may 'consume’ products in the process, but this consumption is a side effect."

Just what we've been talking about, so let's talk...


"As networking replaces broadcasting, communication must become richer and more interesting -- not just louder and more insistent. It must have character, invite participation. Must differentiate itself from the plethora of uncommunicative corporate blather, which by its sheer volume -- in both senses -- threatens to drown out all memory of life- before-the-brand."

I am so tired. There are several reasons why we don't do Christmas at our house--reasons of Spirit. Reasons of reason. Many reasons, actually. And each year the world proves to me why I think it's okay that we choose to focus on the words within the Word, the meaning on the inside and the other side of our selves. And still, stress is palpable. Can't blog much, can't write much, can't hear myself think.

It comes down to individuality--as in life as it is in this blog. Fuck uniformity. Oneness combined makes more than itself, but it is still the singular which is significant. Meaning propagating at lighning speed. That is the beauty of it, then. And if you know what I'm saying, you're one up on me.

But at least I said something. Jack is right. We are too quiet. Is it purposeful silence or accidental? Let's see.

Hey!! Where did eveyone go? I posted on the 13th and today is the 18th... did I drive everyone out of the forum, or are you all out "On Holiday"? I've been spreading the word, as it were, to various friends who I think are in a position to appreciate the material, such as web designers, etc. But I' miss opening up Gonzo Engaged to see the newest additions.... and there are none!! Get busy you people!