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[Nettime-bold] Howl.com
Thomas Keenan on Wed, 14 Jun 2000 04:14:25 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-bold] Howl.com



Howl.com (with apologies to Allen Ginsberg)

By Thomas Scoville March 22, 2000

I saw the best minds of my occupation destroyed by venture capital,
burned-out, paranoid, postal, dragging themselves through the
Cappuccino streets of Palo Alto at Dawn looking for an
equity-sharing, stock option fix, HTML-headed Web-sters coding for
the infinite broadband connection to that undiscovered e-commerce
mother lode in the airy reaches of IP namespace,

who poverty and ripped Yahoo tee shirts, cubicle-eyed and wired on
Starbucks sat up surfing in the virtual ether of one-million-dollar,
one-bathroom condos next to the railroad tracks, skipping across the
links of killer Web sites contemplating ... Java,

who rammed their brains into compilers and saw Intel angels
staggering on microchips under the insane weight of investor
expectation,

who blew off the search for Truth for as-yet-undreamed New Economy
scams, business models hallucinating infocapitalist messiahs on
clouds of market cap,

who abandoned lucid dreams of a Better Way for Shockwave fluff and
RealAudio baubles dangling from the buggy venality of digital
commerce,

who, while haunted by the scowling ghosts of hackers past -?
Stallman, Nelson, Engelbart ?- auctioned their immortal souls on
eBay, with documentation and a full year of support included, of
course,

who got busted in their spotless Nike cross-trainers traveling
through cyberspace with a file of illegal crypto for Open Source,

who ate sushi in Austin or drank microbrews in Silicon Alley,
jousting with bad mojo funk of layoffs, Chapter 11, or diluted
company stock night after night,

who chained themselves to start-ups for the endless ride from San
Jose to Wall Street on adrenaline and Evian, laptop batteries flaming
out over Oklahoma, no more vegetarian entrees, sir, would you like
the latex omelet instead? endless nights of keyboard grinding and
corporate microwave popcorn and Jolt Cola until the noise of their
own deadlines brought them down, gawping, convulsing, mute, crushed
beneath their own project plans,

who talked continuously about convergence and distributed control and
cluetrains and Y2K and extropians and Libertarians and Microsoft and
Linux and slashdot and wouldn't fucking shut up,

who pointed their browsers at Red Herring and Slate and Salon.com
hoping against hope that somebody might be able to make sense of the
infinitely perverse, ball-busting, soul-scorching, silicon-supernova
black hole that kept them awake all night every night and wouldn't
let them alone long enough to find dates in this lifetime,

who tattoo'd and pierced and dyed and branded themselves in a
desperate act of self-mutilating cyber-hepster cool, all the while
wearing a suit and tie on the inside they could never, ever take off,
and praying nobody would find out about the MBA,

who renounced the smokestack relics, the old guard and their father's
Oldsmobile only to find that they had been replaced by artifacts even
less substantial,

who chanted the free market mantras of laissez-faire and
techno-darwinism and Adam Smith's invisible hand-job except when Big
Bad Bill the Bully Gates-of-hell came to take away their lunch.com --
and became Socialists of Convenience.org,

who stalked investment bankers through Bistros and wine bars and
martini lounges, begging pleading groveling for one more hit of
funding from the luminous check-book oh please oh please oh please

ahh, Bill, you are not safe, I am not safe, and now we languish in
the dot com pressure cooker hoping for one last buzz of the old
hallucinations.

The wrecked avenues, the sullied conduits, the pinched pipes of a
quadrillion dropped and ruined packets.

The world wide waits, the denials of service, the infinite hosts of
hardcore farm-animal boredom, ghoulish domain-name squatters jumping
out from behind every virtual tree.

These failed revolutions, these paradigms lost, the end of Web Time,
and P/E ratios good to last the next thousand years.

Dot com! Dot com! Dot com! forever, and ever, ka-Ching

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