Post Tagged with: "fringe culture"

Life on the Fringes of Cyberculture: An Interview with Gareth Branwyn

Life on the Fringes of Cyberculture: An Interview with Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Vice interviews Gareth Branwyn, a writer for the late great Mondo 2000 magazine and author of the forthcoming Borg Like Me:

What are some of weirdest fringe scenes out there?

Well, the whole dark net world of Anyonmous, 4chan (the anonymous images/bbs where rebels, criminals, and crusaders hang out), anonymous P2P networks are pretty kooky. And things like Tor, which you can use to buy mailorder illegal drugs with bitcoin. It has been said that what you see on 4chan will melt your brain, and that’s no lie. You see things, you hear things, that you can’t unsee or unhear.

Then, of course, there’s the whole Jihadist net, but I’ve never checked that out. I’ve also been researching a feature article on sexcam sites and that’s this whole specific world and there’s very kooky stuff on there—naked yoga shows, sexual game shows, women who craft and run raffles and then masturbate when they’re done and send the craft item to the raffle winner. That’s a fascinating subculture that I don’t think anybody outside of it knows much about.

Ah yes, I’ve heard about the sexcam trend. So how do you go about researching something like that?

So far, I’ve just been watching A LOT of cams… for research. I’m establishing relationships with various models and will hopefully convince some of them to talk candidly to me about themselves and their work. This isn’t going to be a piece about the business of these sites, but rather, about the models themselves and their “shows,” who their fans are, the nature of these relationships. I think it’s rather unique and an interesting twist on DIY sex work and net-based intimacy here in the early 21st century.

Full Story: Vice Motherboard: Life on the Fringes of Cyberculture: An Interview with Gareth Branwyn

(via Chris)

August 28, 2013 1 comment
High Weirdness Today

High Weirdness Today

Whatever happened to all the “kooks” listed in Ivan Stang’s High Weirdness By Mail book? Funny you should ask:

High Weirdness By Mail (HWBM) is a kind of directory of kooks circa 1988, built up during Stang and friends’ hobby of collecting kook literature, a listing of hundreds of addresses that a collector could write to and, either for free for for only a little money, receive some authentic weirdness for their trouble. Some of the addresses are of lone kooks, like Brainbeau (p 160), looking for spread their ideas. Some of the them lead to UFO cults like Unarius (p 50), looking for recruits. Some believe Jesus talks to them personally; whether they’re viewed as lone nutters or respected televangelists seems to depend only on resources. Doesn’t matter, Ivan Stang includes them both. Some are actual hate groups. Many are independent artists, several of which would subsequently hit it big before a wider audience. There are over 320 pages of addresses in the book, and each of them has a short blurb written about them to warn the reader about what he’s in for. Most of the addresses, of course, probably don’t work now. Here, in a kind of metapost, I visit some of the entries and find out where they are now, or if they still exist.

MetaFilter: High Weirdness By Mail

August 28, 2012 0 comments
Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012 (Highlights Part 1)

Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012 (Highlights Part 1)

It’s that time of year again. Some good stuff this year. Sterling starts off talking about what he sees as the key drivers of global change:

I’ve tended to emphasize climate change, urbanization and demographics. Those are big and significant changes in the world, but also pretty easy to measure and quantify. That’s like hunting for futurity under the street-lights where it’s nice and bright.

So I often tell people that the mid-century will be about “old people in big cities who are afraid of the sky.” I think that’s a pretty useful, common-sense, plausible assessment. You may not hear it said much, but it’s how things are turning out.

Sterling then runs through the futurism of various localities, including fringe groups, including:

Chemtrails. These guys are pitiable loons, but they’re interesting harbingers of a future when even scientific illiterates are deathly afraid of the sky. It’s interesting that we have cults of people who walk outside and read the sky like a teacup. I’ve got a soft spot for chemtrail people, they’re really just sort of cool, and much more interesting than UFO cultists, who are all basically Christians. Jesus is always the number one Saucer Brother in UFO contactee cults. It’s incredible how little imagination the saucer people have.

Sterling’s bit on the mud machine of Italy could apply almost equally in the U.S:

The “Mud Machine.” This is the Berlusconi media empire, which engages in the unique practice of suppressing dissent by suggesting that everybody in Italy equally useless and crooked, so why even bother. After all, everybody in Italy would have orgies involving underage illegal-alien Moslem prostitutes if they had the chance, so why get all worked up; mind your own business. The Mud Machine works because Italians enjoy being cynical about themselves. Nobody wants to be seen as the chump, so everybody ends up being victimized.

Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012

For an important angle on urbanization check out this Grist interview with professor of urbanism Witold Rybczynski.

Also, the Grinders are running their own state of the world style conversation. You can submit questions for them on Formspring.

January 5, 2012 0 comments
Juggalos, media scares, and the West Memphis 3

Juggalos, media scares, and the West Memphis 3

ICP on Nightline

New essay up at Mediapunk:

It’s difficult to estimate the total number of Juggalos. The 2009 Gathering of Juggalos had 20,000 people in attendence. The most recent ICP album sold about 50,000 copies in the first week. But let’s be conservative and go with the 20,000 estimate. (I actually suspect it’s much higher than this.)

Nightline cites only 3 instances of reported Juggalos actually murdering anyone. To be charitable, let’s assume there are 10 people who are both Juggalos and murderers. That would mean AT MOST .05% of Juggalos are murderers. Granted that’s a significantly higher percentage than the US population at large (there were 16,272 murders in 2008 and the US had a population of about 305 million). But less than 1%, at most, isn’t exactly cause for alarm. And I would think Arizona’s finest would be better served by realizing that 99.94 percent of murders are committed by non-Juggalos and adjusting their law enforcement priorities accordingly. (As I write this, the number of murders committed per year by Toby Keith fans is currently unavailable.) [...]

And a preemptive response to the inevitable jokes about how Juggalos (re: poor rural teenages who don’t fit in) deserve imprisonment, death, or worse for their fashion-sins: go right right ahead and fuck off and die already.

Mediapunk: Juggalos, media scares, and the West Memphis 3

May 6, 2010 0 comments
S. Clay Wilson recovering from brain injury – how you can help

S. Clay Wilson recovering from brain injury – how you can help

s clay wilson

From Dennis Dread:

I just got off the phone with S. Clay Wilson’s longtime ol’ lady Lorraine Chamberlain and she graciously gave me the latest update on his recovery. The good news is that Wilson was transferred from San Francisco General Hospital to a rehabilitation center last week and at this point he’s feeding himself and chatting periodically. The bad news is that he has significant brain injury and can’t recall what year it is or where he is or even his own name. He suffers from aphasia, which is an inability to comprehend language or recall correct vocabulary. The frustrating part is that he knows what he’s trying to say and understands that he’s saying the wrong words. Lorraine said it’s like talking to someone on LSD because he speaks in random stream-of-consciousness babble. I like to think the old beatnik in Wilson will appreciate his new “poetic” abilities someday. The most amazing news is that Lorraine brought a sketch pad to his bedside and after refusing to draw in it all week he finally opened it and signed his old signature exactly like he has signed his drawings for more than 40 years! Remember, last week he couldn’t even pronounce his own name so this is a huge improvement! He also walked past an easel today and drew a crude face of a woman. This is the first post-coma doodle that he’s produced! Just a few weeks ago it was uncertain if he would live, much less ever hold a pencil again. At this point Lorraine is bracing for life after the hospital and they are facing rapidly mounting medical bills. Wilson has medicaid, which covers about 80% of his bills, but Lorraine estimates that their debt is quickly approaching a quarter of a million dollars! She’s set up a PO BOX in case people feel inclined to send donations. Checks and money orders can be made out to Lorraine Chamberlain or S. Clay Wilson. Send ‘em to the address below:

S. Clay Wilson
po box 14854
San Francisco, CA
94114

(via OVO)

December 9, 2008 0 comments