Gerard Van der Leun on Wed, 8 Jul 1998 18:30:40 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Technoblather Contest Winner


(Yes, Joe Jarrell wins $100 for
the following bit of inspired
technoblather. Yes, we know that
Joe probably cobbled this together
from some lame artsy-fartsy piece
of shit he had lying around on
his hard drive next to the signed
polaroid of Karen Finley begging Jesse
Helms for spare change while shoving a
yam up her butt ... but we don't
care. Blather is where you find it.)

Between 393 AND 404 (The Ocean Is 11)
By Joe Jarrell

The spoon was made of British silver from 
1835, with a distinct Baroque pattern of 
berries and vines on its handle.  It once 
stirred the teacups of the Queen Mother.  
Now it was charred and yellow-brown and 
full of stuff being sucked up into the needle 
that Turgis glided gently into his vein.  

It was 3 am but Turgis was already wafting at 
the high end of the intermediate stratum.  
This shot would enhance that unquenchable 
feeling of raw domination that only high-
grade penguin dust can give.  In the dark 
Turgis stubbed his toe, tripping over a pile of 
books on structural unemployment and 
multinational corporations.  He glanced back 
at the disaster strewn across the concrete 
floor.  "Dammit, it's like pre-industrial living 
conditions around here," he said aloud to his 
Weimareiner Marlene.  She groaned and 
rolled over.

Turgis sensed an undercurrent of something 
almost invisible but, in his mind, very real.  
A faint wave.  A fine, trembling line.  In 
recent months, he had noticed people were 
speaking differently, even walking 
differently.  Just slightly, as if unconsciously 
forced to cope with some crusty, deep-earth 
tilt.  This tiny tweak upon the axis was just 
the beginning.  Within the year, every person 
on the planet would feel the implications.  A 
fundamental phase shift of global 
proportions.  A toppling of the dominant 

Turgis felt that only a few people had an 
inkling of it.  This quiet terror, a dormant 

On the black slate table was a pile of blue-
green powder.  Turgis noticed the striking 
contrast, thinking how beautiful and simple it 
was.  He dumped out a line and snorted it.  
His information-processing technologies 
blurred into another galaxy of thought. 

The intelliphon suddenly zapped on. "Do all 
rich information managers sink into such 
festooned garbage lifestyles?"  It was Steefen 
Paul Van der Neef on the shielding.

"Vanderfeffen, so nice to hear from you," 
Turgis replied, licking a bit of dust from the 
vine-grooves of the spoon.  "Let's begin 
where we left off last time, but please avoid 
the factoid.  God may be in the details, but 
that's where I get lost.  I'm not a numbers 
man, like you."

All of Turgis' relationships were based on 
disagreement.  Only arguments led to 
analysis and, eventually, truth.  Turgis 
learned this from his father, a Russian 
physicist.  "Find someone who argues with 
you, then make him your friend," he could 
hear the old goat say.  "If everyone agrees 
with you, how will you ever learn anything?"

"I still say, if it happens at all, broad 
international consensus on circuits of 
international information exchange will be 
generated from the West," asserted Neef.  
"The economic prospects are too good -- for 
corporations, politicians and the small 
pockets they line along the way -- to let 
warfare interfere."
"But there are still wild cards out there," 
Turgis began.  "Islamic fundamentalism in 
local specificities has endangered the crypto-
fascist left.  In their moments of 
rearticulation, they are fully armed and 
employable for multi-theater warfare, and 
economically advantaged to foster incendiary 
acts to propel it.  Cultural and behavioral 
permissivity have always been outlawed, but 
now they finally have the machinery and 
infrastructure to enforce their whims at will 
over a broader spectrum of the population." 

Neef and Turgis shared some of the same 
subaltern classes in middle school.  Neef had 
only risen to technoid status, despite his 
brilliance, but there were legitimate reasons.  
Neef's corpulence led to his ostracism at an 
early age.  He developed anti-social behavior, 
a strong display of resentment based on lack 
of recognition and an air of condescension 
based upon intellectual prejudice, all 
conditions which Turgis somehow found 
endearing.  Everyone else considered Neef an 
arrogant geek and a fat loser.

Turgis drew a deep breath and a pang bit his 
chest.  He raised his hand so Neef would not 
interrupt.  Being interrupted before finishing 
his thought drove Turgis absolutely mad.  

"Alibaub Shekka-kankar-kerous dissolved 
the sand nations' petty religious grumblings," 
Turgis continued.  "He controls the guns, the 
water, the oil and more importantly, the 
minds. The minds are the only true resource, 
although nobody ever wants to admit it.  But 
in that region, they're all pointed in the same 
direction for once and it doesn't look like 
Mecca to me.  The promise of the 
deterritorialization that we've been waiting 
for is as far away as CV-9801, or Hemp 
Nebula 13."

"What crepuscular cowboy blatheration!" 
spat Neef. "Are the information debilitated 
third-world economies going to discover 
some messiah from the neo-fascist right who 
can steal enough plutonium to rival the Hemi-
North big boys?  Could those turbaned dune-
clowns create a truly effective system of 
consumer-product distribution?  Could they 
could upend a couple thousand years of 
Western European cultural progress and 
create a new transnational military-economic 
order?  Methinks not."

Turgis enjoyed their occasional conversations 
immensely, for there were few conversants 
and far fewer brilliants in his Sector.  
Network-based discussions for him were 
unbearable drivel.

"I'm not suggesting that." Turgis said, before 
being cut off.

"Are you having an ideological cyberspasm?  
Your global hegemony of neoliberalism may 
be crumbling, but the current systemic 
political management is not," Neef asserted.  
"Do you believe in some hegemonic 
dissolution, Turgis?  There's no apocalypse.  
Nothing ever changes.  The rich get richer.  
You just can't face the truth. "

Turgis was clenching his teeth, as much from 
the dust as from the interruption.

"Number one, you interrupted me before I 
could finish.  Please don't do that again.  I 
never suggested that some Koran-based 
technorealistic-monotheism would sweep the 
planet.  There are too many people who enjoy 
laughing to worry about that.  There is a 
dragon in the East, however, and it is rising.  
It's only a matter of time before it blows its 
fire.  Number two, I think I'm very much 
about facing the truth," said Turgis.  "No 
matter how awful."

Turgis felt a priapic condition coming on, and 
it was getting stronger.  Sometimes this 
happened after the fourth gram of penguin 
dust.  He didn't think he had taken that 
much.  He could do nothing until he satisfied 
himself.  "Shite, shite, shite," he mumbled, 
smoothing out his trousers.

"What's that?" said Neef.

"Call me later, Paul der Dash," he said.  "I 
hate to cut this short but I've got to do 
something."  The intelliphon zapped into 

He turned to the slate table for one more line.  
Now everything was crystal clear.  "I'm 
mining the Self, that's right, I'm seeking out 
information enriched mental plutonium, ha-
hah."  Marlene looked up at him quizzically, 
then turned back to licking her paw.

Resource-extraction can be painful, but that's 
what dildonics were made for.  Turgis wiped 
the peninsula of sweat from his face and 
stepped up onto that black leather and metal 
devil.  He plugged and clicked and buckled 
and strapped himself in.  The final restraints 
were automatic.  He was locked into place 
until the ride was over.  "Only intense, 
physical exertion can prevent someone from 
becoming intellectually insane," he thought.

Within moments, the machine began its 
monstrous hum.  His legs were being moved 
apart as his vertebrae were being guided 
downward.  The curved seat looked like a 
torture device.  It was, after all, Zapatista 
international's most successful export.  

The first sensations were always remarkable. 
"Ooh, that's a bandwidth-intensive, center-
left hegemony if I've ever felt one," he 
thought.  His chest and neck restraints felt 
tighter than usual, but he could do nothing 
now.  In the large round mirror straight 
ahead, he saw that his nose was green and 
blue.  This typical bruising effect would 
diminish after three days perhaps, but he 
would be confined to his home until then. 

Turgis' entire body felt the increasingly 
violent propulsion. He could see the 
Hummometer.  It was at 185 and climbing 
rapidly.  He glanced at the redline  where 
the machine was instructed to stop  and his 
eyes widened.  "Oh, Christ," he chattered 
through clenched teeth.   

He was so high on dust, he had set the 
machine to reach 404 before stopping.  
Turgis had never gone past 300.

The hummometer accelerated: to 245, 280, 
325.  As blood dripped down from his nose; 
he spat what portions he could catch into the 
drool cup.  More blood fell upon his neck 
and shoulders. The grinding ZD (Zapatista 
Dildonic) machine sounded like a room full 
of poorly tuned electric guitars. It was 
deafening. "The transnational civil society 
will collapse before I will," he thought.

Turgis was a river of sex and sweat.  He was 
prevented from being ripped apart at the 
limbs only from the superior design of the 
machine and the tightness of his restraints.  
Every nerve ending, every synapse in his 
system was deluged.  At 375, he could feel 
the tiny blood vessels in his corneas softly 

He closed his eyes.  He released his clenched 
jaw from the leather bit.  He surrendered and 
saw his body become a soft white flag 
rippling in a hot desert wind.  The black 
theatre behind his eyes erupted into vast, 
yellow fields.  The grinding sounds were 
gone, replaced by an orchestra of violins.  He 
had finally surpassed the characteristic form 
of articulation.  He had entered worldmind.  
This moment of joy was purely his, beyond 
the information-and-service economy, far 
removed from the idiotic aesthetic 
technicians, heedless of complex political-
cultural articulations and computer-based art 
and appropriate cultural forms.

At 393, he heard a woman's voice whisper, 
"You're going to make it after all."
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