"Did you sleep with Violet Blue? I can't keep track," my editor IM'd me. He's not nosy; he's just trying to stay on top of things. To help him — and you — out, I've dashed off this sex map of l'affaire Boing Boing, including my own involvement. (Why didn't Xeni Jardin just do this in the first place? In retrospect, that seems easier than taking the abuse she's now getting.) Jardin thinks blogging one's personal life is "stupid," but then, I get to report for an operation where my seriously gay editor factchecks the difference between "lesbian" and "girl-on-girl." And if we're fucking the people we're reporting on, we'll tell you. So no, I did not sleep with Violet Blue. Even though she asked.
As new media gets big, it remains small at heart - and not in a good way. Boing Boing, the popular tech-culture blog, has offered a tardy defense of its mass deletion of posts mentioning a sex blogger from its archive, and it amounts to this: Because Boing Boing started as a personal blog, it's entitled to be as petty, as hypocritical, and as inconsistent as a 14-year-old girl with a MySpace page. Never mind the fussing about so-called "censorship" - though one would be sure that, had this happened at another website, we'd be reading all about it at Boing Boing, with its editors in a righteous nerd froth. The excuse that "it's personal" would ring more true if we weren't talking about a media enterprise whose audience exceeds that of Conde Nast's Epicurious.com, or the publicly traded finance site TheStreet.com. While Boing Boing's revenues are unknown, the site formed the cornerstone of Federated Media, an online-advertising startup which has already made founder John Battelle - Boing Boing's "band manager" - a multimillionaire. Oh, and did we mention that Violet Blue, the sex blogger in question (and contributor to Gawker Media's Fleshbot), shown here at right, used to be the lover of Boing Boing editor Xeni Jardin, left?
All through college I loved writing short stories. But because I am a cad, when I found out how unprofitable the medium was I switched to blogging and TV scripts. Turns out there's still one way to market a short story: Pack it with references. Not thought-out T.S. Eliot ones, but marginal-pop-culture ones. Your story doesn't have to be good if it's about Vampire Weekend, the Tipping Point and Twitter.
"They're toads," Tony Kornheiser recently said about bloggers on a radio show for which he is paid good money. "They're little toads. Actually, they're pimples on the behind of the greater body politic in this country and in this city. And because, because they have access to airwaves and three or four people read them, they think, 'Oh, I'm very important.'" Kind of like radio hosts! But enough of that goofball, there are nine bigger blogger-haters who deserve derision — not because bloggers don't deserve constant mockery, but because insulting an entire class of people always guarantees failure.
Explaining why Facebook does not make him as paranoid as Google, science fiction writer Cory Doctorow says frenemies will doom the social network: "Adding more users to a social network increases the probability that it will put you in an awkward social circumstance.... That's why I don't worry about Facebook taking over the net. As more users flock to it, the chances that the person who precipitates your exodus will find you increases. Once that happens, poof, away you go — and Facebook joins SixDegrees, Friendster and their pals on the scrapheap of net.history."
Cory Doctorow turned a few Google-operated spy cameras his way when he wrote a fictionalized account of a dystopian future where the search engine stumbled and fell down the slippery slope into evil. We're sure "Scroogled," which appeared in the September issue of Radar, wasn't supposed to launch an entire genre of Google fiction. But it has. Someone has gone and written an account of a world where Google scans and indexes the human body — everybody's human body — for public search. (Photo by Jason Upton)
The New York Times gave futurist and avant-garde pianist Jaron Lanier space to complain that he wants you to pay up for Internet content. You probably don't know who he is unless you watched PBS science programs in the '90s. He allegedly coined the phrase "virtual reality" back when it meant bulky goggles and the Nintendo Power Glove, not cruising for a mistress in Second Life. We agree with this much: Everyone has the right to try to make a buck. Some Internet content has value. But definitely don't buy Lanier's CDs. Instead, we'd pay for a high-def webcast cagematch between Lanier and his unnamed nemesis. Can you guess who?
Science fiction writer Cory Doctorow continues to use his regular gig with The Guardian to rail against copyright. In particular, against video-sharing sites' efforts to filter content which belongs to others. He may be sincere in his feelings, but Doctorow makes a dishonest argument. He proclaims the problem with video copyright filtering is "it's all lies, wishful thinking and irresponsible promises." That nicely sums up Doctorow's own argument. YouTube and Microsoft don't need to police the entire Internet to be effective, for one. And while Doctorow may be willing to give up his rights, not every artist shares his view, nor will they appreciate Doctorow imposing them by fiat. Doctorow also claims that monitoring video uploads for copyrighted content is an invasion of privacy — which seems strange, because the users are submitting video to share it with others. Then again, Doctorow doesn't really need to make sense here. He just needs to cater to his rabid geek fanbase to sell science-fiction novels. That's the most rational argument of all. (Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)
Science fiction writer, Boing Boing editor, and copyright activist Cory Doctorow claims the blockbuster movie is doomed. It would certainly validate his worldview. In Doctorow's mind, there are two kinds of people: Greedy moguls who will exploit copyright in every conceivable way to preserve their multibillion-dollar profits from schlock movies, and noble-minded indie auteurs — all of whom surely agree with his extreme view that "art" should be copied and distributed freely. They'll make it up on popcorn sales.
Science fiction writer and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow has made a career out of finely parsing copyright issues. He's lectured on the topic as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California. So it seems kind of weird that Doctorow would cut and paste a 600-word satire by A Wizard of Earthsea author Ursula K. Le Guin onto Boing Boing and leave off the last line: "copyright © Ursula K. Le Guin, 2007." The result: An outstandingly huffy email from a spokesman for Le Guin. But there's more to the story.
After wooing San Francisco at its hub airport, Virgin America has enlisted seven Internet heroes to pitch the new airline. Seen here are Xeni Jardin, Cory Doctorow, David Pescovitz, and Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing; Peter Rojas of Engadget; and Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose of Diggnation. You can see them in these Virgin cartoon spots, which are like C-minus episodes of Sealab 2021.
The Internet retailer has finally launched its long-awaited digital music store as a public beta, with prices that undercut Apple's iTunes by a dime. The music also comes free of digital-rights-management software, which raises the question: What will Boing Boing editor and anti-DRM crusader Cory Doctorow do with all his free time? [Amazon]
The latest issue of Radar, the on-again, off-again pop-culture ragazine, has a short story by Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow. "Scroogled" imagines a world where Google has slid all the way down the slippery slope into full-on evilness. The scary thing? In his speeches and blog posts, Doctorow veers toward irrational, paranoid rhetoric that's easily dismissed. But in his fiction, a darkly dystopian future where Google and the Department of Homeland Security have all but merged, where Google's Wi-Fi hotspots feature webcams that track your every move, doesn't just seem likely — it seems inevitable.
Thomas Crampton, a former International Herald Tribune reporter turned extremely amateur videoblogger, cornered spunky Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow to discuss how to be a better blogger at a conference in China. Doctorow's advice was rather straightforward: Write headlines as if you work for a newswire so search engines can figure out what you're writing about. (We wish he had offered Crampton advice on shooting video interviews instead — or rather, how to pick up a laptop and type notes for a written blog entry, so search engines can figure out what your interviewee is talking about.) But Doctorow couldn't resist a competitive swipe at Gizmodo, the gadgets blog Boing Boing is now taking on.
The Bart Nagel photo above depicts the big throbbing brains of uberblog Boing Boing, namely, from left to right, Mark Frauenfelder, David Pescovitz, John Battelle, Cory Doctorow, and Xeni Jardin. In a doofy "New-Media Power List" in the Wall Street Journal, the photo is charmingly cropped to include the slinky hotness of Jardin, plus an incidental Doctorow behind her ear (though we're sure they would have liked to excise him as well). The blurb also mentions only Jardin and Doctorow, neatly avoiding the buzzkill of three more nerdy-glasses dudes in the photo (or the article). Of course, Boing Boing readers offered no sympathy, instead offering a quick arithmetic lesson.