Don Marti

Sun 17 Apr 2005 08:33:51 PM PDT


Cyberspace is a magick place that's not like Earth, man. Remember that happy load of crap? That strange idea that a bunch of nasty machines that you cut yourself on when you try to fix them after they crash when you're out of town and heat up your closet and suck themselves full of strange, clingy, powdery yet fuzzy dust...those machines are really just the mundane shell for some kind of magickal aether, and on top of this substrate rides CyBeRsPaCe! The strange and wonderful place where if you're smart enough and imagine something and stay up really late doing really hard things you can just call it into being and rule it.

Can I just confess something mildly embarassing here? I had a Macintosh and a subscription to Wired in the mid-90s. And I traded the former for a 486 box to run Linux and Web stuff on, well before I let the latter expire. I was starting to believe all this cyber-folderol. I learned HTML and made this, cool, like virtual dungeon, where you could just wander around by clicking on little blue words! And this virtual newspaper in Perl, where people could, like, seize the media away from the Man! And I read John Perry Barlow's "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace"...

"I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear."

Woo hoo! Right on! Look out, military-industrial-television complex! Cyber magick will rock your lame ass!

Fortunately most of us have grown out of this stuff and figured out that the Internet is a lot more like regular reality than it lets on. (Damn!) But the epidemic of wild and woolly cyper-woo-woo airheaditude is still out there, and this time the people building glitter-covered stuffed-animal-sex rave palaces in the air are the DRMers. Somehow they're going to make their business bigger by selling us every piece of content multiple times at a micropayment per play, and they're all going to have perfect control of how many times everything gets copied or played, and their pure Mind is going to call into being a consensus reality of all poor-ass musicians getting Paid with a capital P. I wish it were so easy. In a way I wish I were still up late at night with strong coffee, "Programming Perl", and a white board full of happy BS.