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ke...@maple.circa.ufl.edu

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Jan 9, 1992, 4:13:17 PM1/9/92
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someone wrote that cyberpunk, partially, is a revitalization of punk rock.

well, let's talk about this shall we. Few people involved to any extent in
punk rock will disagree with the statement that it has degenerated into
little more than a self-parodying fad, as all things, unfortunately, tend
to do. Punk and hardcore bands are starting out the same as corporate cock
rock groups, with dreams of stardom and big bucks and groupies and vidoes
on MfuckingTV. They're hiring professional agents and booking people. But
they still sing anti-corportae, anti capitalist bullshit. I won't name any
names, but Nirvana, Jello Biafra, and Henry Rollins pop immediately into
mind.
However, we still have a few festering relics who insist they don't need
the help of so-called "industry experts," who refuse to even handle it as
an industry or business, who do things themselves and don't fuck people
over on their way to trying being number one on the Billboard charts. In a
word, Fugazi. dischord records. bands that actually practice what they say,
and who say a lot.
so where does cyberpunk go? We can hand it to the corps, as it seems we're
doing right now, turn it into a hollow fad to be sold out of LL Bean and
Fredericks of Hollywood. Or we can keep it on a real level, in effect, to
ourselves and out of the hands of anyone looking for a fast dollar like the
people selling and buying that asinine "cyberpunk actionwear."
PUNK in general: doesn't get discussed much here.
lot's of cyber, not much punk. who knows what it is anyway? I've had the
label applied to me for eight or nine years now, and I couldn't tell you
what it means, not in exact terms anyway. But maybe it'd be cool to see
some other music discussed. It doesn't have to be 'industrial' to be cyber-
punk, because there's two words in that word.

the point to the disjointed story: people just aren't eating enough Vienna
sausages.
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Username: KEITH ( ALLISON,KEITH) - STUDENT
Internet: KEITH%maple.circa.ufl.edu

Mail in Mirrorshades

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Jan 9, 1992, 8:46:05 PM1/9/92
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In article <1992Jan9.2...@math.ufl.edu>, ke...@maple.circa.ufl.edu
writes...

>
>
>so where does cyberpunk go? We can hand it to the corps, as it seems we're
>doing right now, turn it into a hollow fad to be sold out of LL Bean and
>Fredericks of Hollywood. Or we can keep it on a real level, in effect, to
>ourselves and out of the hands of anyone looking for a fast dollar like the
>people selling and buying that asinine "cyberpunk actionwear."

It's far to late to decide where cyberpunk is going to be kept. It's
been steadily mainstreamed since _Neuromancer_ (or before)--and once
something is in there, you can only wait until it has been used up and
become useless. The cyberpunk of 10 years ago is dying (if not dead aleady).
In its place is that "hollow fad" doled out not just by LL Bean and FoH,
but also by Warner, Signet, FASA, Steve Jackson Games, Epic, and the like.

The options left to us are sitting here debating drug use &
password security on various machines or starting/finding another movement
that hasn't been mainstreamed yet.


_______________________________________________________________________________

Sean O'Connell "Agony is born of desire.
cy...@hacks.arizona.edu That's what you get for wanting." - Moev

woj

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Jan 10, 1992, 9:55:14 PM1/10/92
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ke...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:
>someone wrote that cyberpunk, partially, is a revitalization of punk rock.

i'd take exception to that actually. the link between cyberpunk and punk
rock are the attitude. punk rock was about smashing the bombastic morass
that the music industry had become in the middle 70s. cyberpunk is not
about smashing anything really (at least not the splatterpunk anyways).
cyberpunk is about social issues: what happens to man when the distinction
between man and machine disappears? how does technology affect man when
it completely pervades life at every corner? i don't think that there is
any commonality except that there is a common attitude shared by punkers
and some members of cyberpunk milieus: do it yourself, do what you want,
etc.

>well, let's talk about this shall we.

well, this really isn't the place, but who cares?

>Few people involved to any extent in
>punk rock will disagree with the statement that it has degenerated into
>little more than a self-parodying fad,

no, i agree with you here. and i still consider myself involved in the
punk scene as well (though not as much as i used to be). but i would
qualify this statement, as you did later when you mentioned discord records.
there *are* people out there who are still true to what punk initially
stood for. their numbers decrease all the time, it seems, but they are
there.

as for a "self-parodying fad", i think that is a wee bit critical. punk
served a function and that function is over - but who are you to call those
who still are part of it parodies? something doesn't have to have a purpose
to be meaningful. and if it only meaningful for memories for some, so be
it. leave be.

>Punk and hardcore bands are starting out the same as corporate cock
>rock groups, with dreams of stardom and big bucks and groupies and vidoes
>on MfuckingTV. They're hiring professional agents and booking people. But
>they still sing anti-corportae, anti capitalist bullshit.

well, this is a bit cynical.

how many punk/hardcore bands are there on emptyv these days? and no,
nirvana doesn't count.

for that matter, why does punk/hardcore have to be specifically anti-estab-
lishment? sure, the original reason why the ramones became what they were
was to make the kind of music they enjoyed in the 50s (only with less skill
and slightly faster) and sure, the sex pistols were bent on destroying
everything that britain was, but what has that to do with bands now? hard-
core is more a *sound* than a specific poltical or socialor commerical agenda.

>so where does cyberpunk go? We can hand it to the corps, as it seems we're
>doing right now, turn it into a hollow fad to be sold out of LL Bean and
>Fredericks of Hollywood.

but i like leather. ;)

how are we "handing" cyberpunk to the corporations? it's not like i have the
time or money to research virtual reality - but is that the crux of cyber-
punk? i say no: the social issues are the heart.

>Or we can keep it on a real level, in effect, to
>ourselves and out of the hands of anyone looking for a fast dollar like the
>people selling and buying that asinine "cyberpunk actionwear."

oh please. what does it matter to you if the general populance thinks that
edward scissorhands was cyberpunk cos he wore black and had little metal
things on his duds? let the masses believe what they want. cyberpunk is only
a word and words mean different things to different people.

>lot's of cyber, not much punk.

mayhap cos there's really not much punk in the canon of the movement.
night city is gritty in gibson, but that's not punk - that's just the
rough side of town. the label came before punk, as such, became part of
novels and stories that you read now.
--
woj - inhibition is the distance between thought and action - have a fish...

jes...@yang.earlham.edu

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Jan 11, 1992, 5:59:47 PM1/11/92
to

SUBVERSIVE REGGAE:
A SYNTHESIS OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE


I'm going to try to respond to a lot of arguments at once, here, and
put them in the context of my own meta-argument.

Woj says:

> ke...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:
>>someone wrote that cyberpunk, partially, is a revitalization of punk rock.
>
> i'd take exception to that actually. the link between cyberpunk and punk
> rock are the attitude. punk rock was about smashing the bombastic morass
> that the music industry had become in the middle 70s. cyberpunk is not
> about smashing anything really (at least not the splatterpunk anyways).

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^
? (comparison?)
Beg to differ!
The rhetoric of cyberpunk, from its scruffy early stages to its maturity
and on, is absolutely *fraught* with references to its predecessors, the
kind of references that should make any English student sit up and shout:
*ANXIETY OF INFLUENCE*. Which must always include a distancing, a
rejection of the old, the same kind of punkish bravado that cyberpunk is
marked by.

> cyberpunk is about social issues: what happens to man when the distinction
> between man and machine disappears? how does technology affect man when
> it completely pervades life at every corner? i don't think that there is
> any commonality except that there is a common attitude shared by punkers
> and some members of cyberpunk milieus: do it yourself, do what you want,

> etc. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Then he goes on to question whether or not c'punk is "anti-establishment".

>>Few people involved to any extent in
>>punk rock will disagree with the statement that it has degenerated into
>>little more than a self-parodying fad,
>
> no, i agree with you here. and i still consider myself involved in the
> punk scene as well (though not as much as i used to be). but i would
> qualify this statement, as you did later when you mentioned discord records.
> there *are* people out there who are still true to what punk initially
> stood for. their numbers decrease all the time, it seems, but they are
> there.

Maybe what we're not reaching here is an understanding of the
mechanisms of "self-parody". Marshall McLuhan, describing the
evolutionary cycle which each new technology or idea must go through, held
that there were four stages to the process. The last stage, Reversal,
involves a flipping around of the original intent or purpose of the
idea/technology; it is this stage which is reached when the thing has been
stretched to its farthest extent, pushed *beyond* its limits. Then
something new takes its place.
If you can accept this view, it becomes apparent that the "self-parody"
that seems to crop up around any set of aging memes is a natural process
of decay. It's a signal to look for the next wave... or to abandon ship.
Kathy Acker says that each text must subvert the previous one, "until
there is only background music like reggae." Her novel *Empire of the Sun*
contains within it a parody of *Neuromancer*.

Jim W. Lai says:

> In article <24NOV9...@smaug.hacks.arizona.edu> cy...@smaug.hacks.arizona.edu (Sean O'Connell) writes:
>> It's a shame, though it was inevitable, that CP has become so
>>comercialized. It seems as though anything written that contains Nets, AIs,
>>cybernetics, and other neat-o gadgets gets called "cyberpunk," even though it
>>lacks the attitude. And then anything that's missing them isn't "cyberpunk". In
>>other words, CP is becoming what was rebelling against--it's becoming more
>>concerned with the interesting gizmos and junk than it is with the characters
>>and ideas. Bubba and Grund have traded their Enchanted War Hammer (+5) for
>>cybernetic limbs and a cyberspace deck and are going AI bashing.
>
> It was only natural that as the genre was perceived to be commercially
> successful, that the hacks would emulate it, churning out yet another form of
> adolescent power fantasy. They hoped that by adopting the window trimmings of
> what they, with their short-sighted literary vision, saw as "cyberpunk", they
> could cash in. Sympathetic magic.

The repeated references to fantasy, to fantasies, and to "magic", are
ironic. Does anyone recall, in Sterling's introduction to the
*Mirrorshades* anthology, his denunciation of "the ominous proliferation
of sword-and-sorcery" fiction?
The signs of self-parody, of the end of a literary cycle, are everywhere
...and you don't have to be a millenialist to see them.

Sean O' Connell says:

>>so where does cyberpunk go? We can hand it to the corps, as it seems we're
>>doing right now, turn it into a hollow fad to be sold out of LL Bean and

>>Fredericks of Hollywood. Or we can keep it on a real level, in effect, to


>>ourselves and out of the hands of anyone looking for a fast dollar like the
>>people selling and buying that asinine "cyberpunk actionwear."
>

> It's far to late to decide where cyberpunk is going to be kept. It's
>been steadily mainstreamed since _Neuromancer_ (or before)--and once
>something is in there, you can only wait until it has been used up and
>become useless. The cyberpunk of 10 years ago is dying (if not dead aleady).
>In its place is that "hollow fad" doled out not just by LL Bean and FoH,
>but also by Warner, Signet, FASA, Steve Jackson Games, Epic, and the like.
>
> The options left to us are sitting here debating drug use &
>password security on various machines or starting/finding another movement

>that hasn't been mainstreamed yet. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
A suggestion to abandon ship. But where is the raft? And where the
rescue boat?

He writes furthermore:

>>Or we can keep it on a real level, in effect, to
>>ourselves and out of the hands of anyone looking for a fast dollar like the
>>people selling and buying that asinine "cyberpunk actionwear."

To which Woj replies:

> oh please. what does it matter to you if the general populance thinks that
> edward scissorhands was cyberpunk cos he wore black and had little metal
> things on his duds? let the masses believe what they want. cyberpunk is only

> a word and words mean different things to different people.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Exactly. Words, memes, undergo manifold transformations even in the
healthy parts of their life cycle; it is when they assume multiple (and
multiplying) meanings that they are in death. The word "cyberpunk" is
literally being torn to pieces--

>>lot's of cyber, not much punk.
>
> mayhap cos there's really not much punk in the canon of the movement.
> night city is gritty in gibson, but that's not punk - that's just the
> rough side of town. the label came before punk, as such, became part of
> novels and stories that you read now.

--Like so.

In imitation of McLuhan's cycle (he called it a tetrad), I would like
to return to my original assertion about c'punk anxiety of influence.
Isn't that syndrome, which seems as necessary and inevitable as the rest
of the process, a sort of decomposition of the body of predecessor work?
Bacteria decompose dead flesh, scavenging it for nutrients. Molecular
disassembly work. So new movements scavenge the old. They reverse the
entropy of death to gain energy to fuel their life. Anxiety of influence
is the mechanism.
In that case, people looking for the next wave should be directed to
listen for *attacks* on the decaying body of cyberpunk, like Acker's...
listen like sonar...
"...following the beat..."
...for the sound of reggae.

"...the long pulse of Zion dub."

--Jesse.


"Listen. The more men you've had, the more I love you.
Do you understand that?"
"Yes, perfectly."
"I hate purity, I hate goodness. I don't want any virtue to exist
anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones."
"Well, then, I ought to suit you, dear. I'm corrupt to the bones."

--George Orwell
*Ninteen-Eighty-Four*

Mike Wiik

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Jan 11, 1992, 6:20:19 PM1/11/92
to
In article <9JAN92...@smaug.hacks.arizona.edu> cy...@smaug.hacks.arizona.edu (Sean O'Connell) writes:
> The options left to us are sitting here debating drug use &
>password security on various machines or starting/finding another movement
>that hasn't been mainstreamed yet.

Drug use on various machines? :-) That hasn't been mainstreamed yet...

'Cept where it ties in tightly with the c-word, I'd leave drugs to alt.
drugs. Password security for alt.hackers. I'll bet the % of alt.cyberpunk
readers who check these 2 groups is quite high.

The NET hasn't been mainstreamed.

The _Washington Post_ recently referred to "cyper-punk" (sic) W Gibson.
Dr. Tim calls it "psyberpunk". No doubt "cypherpunks" exist, too.
Course th' Post is just being stupid, and the good doc is just spicing
up his previous illuminations with current buzzwords.(note: th' Post is
featuring the Dan Quayle epic in ~9 parts, like a big commercial.(Hmmm,
maybe D Quayle can make Bush vomit - from a distance). No doubt some
folks will think Dan is a cyper-punk).

Hey, we could discuss the slogan <The Future Belongs to the Stupid and
Lazy> from B Sterling's _Islands in the Net_. Technology is making it
easier for all sorts of idiots to not only survive but thrive and hold
important jobs in major corporations.

We could discuss metaphors that changed completely due to technology
or social changes. Like where FAX used to be tabloidspeak for facts,
as in PIX 'n' FAX, instead of facsimile. Or where you could previously
use HOV as a prefix for hovercraft instead of High Occupancy Vehicle.
("she turned on her left side" - SRD).

Perhaps we could discuss which tv celebs are cyberpunks! My vote's for
Ted Koppel! :-)

-Mike
--
| o==== . : ... : : . |Mail Me Neat Stuff->POB 3703 Arlington VA 22203
--@-- . o o o ... O -O- o o : |No disclaimers needed: I actually pay for this.
| ... : : |-----------------------------------------------
mEssAGE fRoM sPAcE ARt stUdiOs |Above ape, man, above man, Info-Man! (huh?)

as_...@titan.kingston.ac.uk

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Jan 14, 1992, 11:24:39 AM1/14/92
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In article <1992Jan9.2...@math.ufl.edu>, ke...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:
> someone wrote that cyberpunk, partially, is a revitalization of punk rock.
> so where does cyberpunk go? We can hand it to the corps, as it seems we're
> doing right now, turn it into a hollow fad to be sold out of LL Bean and
> Fredericks of Hollywood. Or we can keep it on a real level, in effect, to
> ourselves and out of the hands of anyone looking for a fast dollar like the
> people selling and buying that asinine "cyberpunk actionwear."

I think you've got a point; too many people are going to hop on the bandwagon
because it's really cool to be rebellious, but they aren't really. The world is
full of wannabees and the few who really are what they claim to be (or, more to
the point, are labelled as by others) are in the minority.
I've been being labelled a cyberpunk by friends for two years, but the only
basis for it seems to be my preference for them there mirrored shades ... shows
just how much they really know about the world ! I like the classification
because it just feel right; I like tech, I like rock, I like doing my own thing
and not towing the line. In short, I'm an individual and I like computers to
an excessive degree. I used to hack a bit but now I write the sort of programs
only a mad techie would try.
The trouble is, most of those around me who claim to be CP aren't. They all
read a few CP novels, like the style of the (anti-)heroes and then proceed to
pose as much as possible. They know all the cool lingo and can bluff the
average person into thinking they know about computers, but ask them to write
code and they fall flat. They know what they want to be, but they don't know
how.
When I started college three years back I didn't know much other than a rather
proprietary version of BASIC. I wanted to know more, mainly because there was
nothing better to do, so I fell in with the local hacking crowd. I never set
out to be CP or a hacker, it just sort of happened. The more I learnt, the more
I wanted to know. Now I'm a competent VMS abuser, surrounded by people who keep
asking me how to do this that and the other, but they want it all on a plate
because they think it's cool to become some sort of CP; but they never want to
know just for the shear fun of it, or to put in any effort. I told them that if
they wanted to hack VAXes they should learn assembler, but they wouldn't ...
too much effort !
Offer them a 'do-it-yourself' cyberpunk kit and they'd fork out a few hundred
quid each to pay for it. They could have neat holographic badges with their
names on and imitation smart-guns ... hold on a second, I could sell out and
make a fortune with this idea ! Yeah, I could play them all for suckers ...
gee whizz, pity I'd much rather be reading my netnews and making computers do
totally pointless things.


- Hermes, the megaflow junkie.

cy...@hacks.arizona.edu

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Jan 14, 1992, 7:05:51 PM1/14/92
to

There appears to be three different forms of "cyberpunk" being
discussed in here. One form is the original--the literary genre that's as
easy to define as getting a pdp-8 to perform like a Cray. Another is the
music genre (which is a little easier to define). Third is a label for
the computer literate, hacker, crackers, etc.
While there can be some overlap, they aren't requirements for
admission to some elite club where, if you don't fit into one, you can't
join. If it were, Saint Gibson (as he might as well be called for all the
reverence he's given) of the Cyberpunk Church wouldn't be allowed in because
he doesn't meet the third requirement.
It just seems that the three forms of the same word are getting
mixed up into one, especially in the (/shudder) "I am a cyberpunk"
declarations--"I am a cyberpunk because I can build a Sun station from scrap
and write my own C-compiler all in 20 minutes, while wearing my mirrorshades and
listening to Front 242..."

Stephen J. Okay

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Jan 17, 1992, 11:46:07 AM1/17/92
to
In article <14JAN9...@hacks.arizona.edu> cy...@hacks.arizona.edu (Sean O'Connell) writes:
> It just seems that the three forms of the same word are getting
>mixed up into one, especially in the (/shudder) "I am a cyberpunk"
>declarations--"I am a cyberpunk because I can build a Sun station from scrap
>and write my own C-compiler all in 20 minutes, while wearing my mirrorshades and
>listening to Front 242..."


But its "Tyranny For You" that provides that extra 130bpm kick needed to get this
all done in 20 minutes. Without, it, it can't be done....
"You don't believe me!?!?!???" :) :) :)
--
Stephen Okay so...@mitre.org
"Welcome to the Politically Correct States of America. Please turn your mind
in to the nearest oppressed minority pressure group. It will be returned to
you once we've decided what you can think"

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