The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

The Internet is the New _____

Is the internet today’s punk rock? So asks Wieden + Kennedy’s global director of digital strategies.

Actually I totally agree with his opening sentiment —

Frankly, I don’t know what Punk Rock is

— but even so, there’s something about the comparison that’s appealing. His post is a good read, and not only because it’s insanely optimistic about democracy and includes some hefty quotes from The Chairman.

Also: How can you not print-to-read-later an essay called The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head?


Can we now play the game where we identify which punk rocker each blog is? So obviously Kottke is Fugazi, BoingBoing is the Germs, SnarkMarket is X-Ray Spex, Robot Wisdom is The Ramones, and the Gawker network is The Clash.

And is Pink Floyd.

I’m totally Malcolm McLaren.

I think fimoculous would be the descendents at their most terse.

On a different note: it may be that the tiny conservative, elitist inside of me is just feeling its oats at the moment, but that James Moore article scared me.

What if, as Moore gushes, the second superpower in the world was not a state, but a social movement, an emergent being created by massive individual action? I understand the appeal of such an open, decentralized entity: talk about a democratization of power.

But what happens to responsibility? Who gets held responsible for dangerous or violent actions of this social movement? Sure, it doesn’t seem like Doctors w/o Borders or Amnesty Int’l (the examples in the essay of part of this movement) are about wreak havoc in the world, but I don’t have faith enough in collected humanity to believe a powerful social movement will remain good for long if there isn’t a way to hold someone responsible and force changes in leadership and direction.

1. Great. Now I am going to have to listen to all those bands to understand the hilarious subtlety of Rex’s associations.

2. Wow, this feels like the start of a rich & fruitful path, which I do not have time to totally delve into right now, BUT for starters, I think this phrase: ‘force changes in leadership and direction’ actually doesn’t make sense in Moore’s formulation (or the formulation of any distributed-networked-action thinker, including probably some terrorists) — of course you can’t, b/c there IS no leadership and no agreed-upon direction — there is only emergent direction.

2a. At first blush I see no reason to believe embodied, punish-able directions are, on the whole, better than diffuse, networked directions. In fact — re: megalomania, power mad ambition, etc. — might they not generally be worse?

2b. Big question of the day: What is the nature of the mob? We know about the wisdom of the crowds… is there a dark corollary? Has the internet changed mob behavior? Made mobs more or less likely to emerge? Are mobs mostly a phantom conjured up by powerful (embodied, punishable) interests to make people suspicious of collective action?

Yeah, I knew the leadership and direction line of thinking would be a problem even as I wrote it. Sadly I’m having trouble thinking between the paradigms well enough to figure out exactly what bothers me.

How about this: I currently accept that the state should have a monopoly on violence, based on the premise that there are appropriate uses of violence, and that one grants power to a responsible state in the hopes of fending off those people or groups over whom one has no electoral influence. If the state is gone, what happens to violence?

This thread is totally not about punk rock anymore.

Internet-is-punk-rock can be a useful metaphor, but you can put such different english on it depending on how you make the connection.

At the broadest level, internet culture, like punk rock, is another of the periodic infusions of youth culture moving through diffusely into the larger social universe.

You could also say that the internet, like 1980s American punk and indie rock, isn’t about crossing over to the broader culture at all, but creating an independent scene, with local nodes connected to a bigger network by a DIY ethos.

Or, like the 1970s NYC scene, there are a handful of talented people united by shared taste and an experimental attitude, who aren’t mainstream but could in principle be incorporated into it as a niche/vanguard.

The internet is probably not, like 70s British punk, a kind of class rebellion. Also, the ethos of the web is just so much less “f— you” confrontational/destructive than punk rock. There really aren’t many people on the web who are part of the “Blank Generation”; who believe that there’s no future; or who want to be your dog. Which begs the question — what happened to honest-to-goodness nihilism?

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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