On being a geek and the possibility of knowledge

I'm pissed off at people who brag about being geeks, cause geeks are "cool" now for a while, and they use it to leverage and capitalize on other people's true awkward coolness. This is nothing new, as this is precisely how fashion works, but it's kind of sadder: geeks are indeed a bit obsessively miserable. They've been socially ridiculed for centuries, and most importantly: they've actually *achieved* their status. No one chooses to be a geek, and you won't see any real geeks bragging about it. I think I'm a geek because I get excited when I see clean code, because I literally spent 2/3 of my waking hours playing video games, because when I first heard "Losing My Edge" (think it was 2003) I checked every Google search result (and there were some) to see what people said about it. I could go on, but it would be embarrassing for the both of us.

If you're not a geek, don't steal someone's genuine misery. It's personality theft of the worse kind. The digital commodities age has led us to believe everyone wins when information is replicated. This is why downloading music makes sense to everyone. Does it really matter if both of us have the same data? In the digital age, there's no single physical "source" that one can claim. This falsely creates a collective épistémè (possibility of knowledge), in which it is believed everyone can (or needs) to know everything, to *be* everything. In other words: when everything's a copy, "everything" becomes cheaply accessible. But thievery is still a double-edged sword. When you steal something, even if you merely create a mirror of it - a copy - something still gets stolen FROM someone. When you call yourself a geek, you're actually stealing the possibility of someone else's own geekness.

[This is inspired by a real stupid video someone did, that gathered a bunch of Web 2.0 heads who celebrated their faux-geekness, and by the excellent post Marco Arment wrote that followed it.]


These days, I mostly tweet here (follow me.) I have plans to go back to longer form writing in one way or another, but I just wanted to share some musical findings.

Okay, so, some of the stuff I really like right now:

Tony Lionni -- Some newcomer who has that spiffy futuristic Detroit Techno vibe, sounds a bit like Omar-S, Keith Worthy, etc.

The OOFT crew -- The Revenge, 6th Borough Project, etc. Bunch of re-edits that are so good it almost sounds like a whole movement, like the new electroclash or something, but in a disco way. I think too much of that sound, as its kinda idiosyncratic, can get old, but moderated right it's really amazing and uplifting.

Jack Penate -- Yeah, that "Tonight's Today" track is great of course, albeit bit stale in a way. The remixes are great though.

Leo Zero -- The guy from A Mountain of One, anything he touches becomes gold.

Bottin "No Static" -- Great new Italo, immediate classic, Bottin is gonna do well.

Originals compiled by Mark 7 -- Another great comp in the Originals series done by Mudd, lots of unclassics and obscurities from this amazing DJ.

Shit Robot "Simpe Things" -- The robot is back, and the new track has its signature sound plastered all over it, but he did this old school house thing, it's pretty lovely.

Fern Kinney "Tonight (Channel 83 edit)" -- Huge classic with a little delicate and elegant edit, the tune is amazing.
Some things:

1. I like Hipster Runoff. Visually, it resembles the ridiculous "blog house" type blogs, but thematically, it's a brilliant parody on the medium, that type of blogs, and life itself. A while ago, its tag (it changes frequently, being "I am the meme economy" now-- all too clever for simpleton bloghouse-esque) used to be "So random, but authentic in a post-meaningful kind of way". That kind of sums it up: it IS random (addresses everything from memes, to tech, to fashion, to MGMT remixes, to whatever), but everything together conjures something SORT OF meaningful, but not really (which is the most you can get nowadays). Talking about hipsters or hipster lifestyle (the saddest anti-movement of this post-authentic era) is basically essential if you want to talk about today's world, and Hipster Runoff does it well by satirizing them. It's not a blog in the traditional sense, it's more of a sadistic art show-- there are no posts-- instead you get self-referencing meta-posts in the nature of "Should I post more about... ?". Saying more would damage the context I'm trying to create here, as it's all too self-referential to talk about seriously in a paragraph. Just head over there, give it a chance and enjoy the great somber-but-honest comedy. Also: the design is just hilariously fantastic.

2. I like Rososo.com. Rososo is labeled the "peaceful newsreader". Rososo comes from RSS, which is the 'push' technology geeks (hi Dave Winer) thought was a good idea, but instead - as usually happens when geeks create technology - became a horrible burden on people. Basically, RSS makes sure you will know of all new posts on your favorite websites and such. In reality, it creates a terrible mass of information, creating what the Rososo homepage calls "accumulation of obligation and guilt". I almost couldn't describe the problem with RSS readers today better-- and I've actually had the same idea (with a couple of different features), but I really like it. It's well-executed, simple, the design is kind of silly but makes its point, and most importantly - it gets the job done. Basically, it hides all the bad information (number of posts you haven't read, and other stuff), and gives a nice list of fresh websites, with no specific links to posts. All you have to do is click. That's why if you're an RSS whore, if you read too many blogs for your own good, this humane technology is what you need. Give it a chance as well.

So, now I'd say the next step in technology in the western world is for technology itself to take the role of parents-- educate us, take care of our (mental) health. This anti-technology is about CONCEALING, rather than EXPOSING (you have 142 unread blog posts! good luck!). It's about education and support, instead of letting us succumb to our overtaking caprices. Why is this necessary? This is the world today, and this is exactly what it needs. We're not evolutionary prepared for the tech we surrounded us with, and this is the essential step towards a peaceful - yes, indeed, peaceful - world.

3. I like BuzzFeed.com. The internet is a weird place. There are so many ideas, so many thoughts, so many cultures, that you're really sadly left with none. BuzzFeed tries to fix that mess, by addressing all of that as "memes", giving it that sort of context, etc. That type of editorial mindset is almost all you really need to have a great product (that's what Hipster Runoff does, too) -- choose your subject intersection right: anything goes, but in a good way.

4. I really like Krautrock. And Holger Czukay (here's "Persian Love", Movies 88'). I know, everyone likes Krautrock. Everyone can tell you how amazing Can is. But what I'd like to bring to the table is this: There's something about this sound, and Can in particular, that's very relevant to today. First, they understood space (minimal techno, anyone? etc) so well. I can see that their use of space in rhythms and melodies reflects very well in modern design, the 'less is more' approach, etc. But that's pretty trivial-- take a broader perspective on their unique sound-- the way they approached music, from almost a simultaneously listener-musician outlook, i.e from the ears outwards, or something of that nature-- is that kind of awareness everyone tries to reproduce these days (which, again, Hipster Runoff tends to refer to a lot). It's no coincidence that their astounding drummer, and one of Can's founders Jaki Liebezeit is known to be described as "one of the few drummers to convincingly meld the funky and the cerebral". Need I really mention James Murphy here?

5. I love DJ Harvey. Watch this:
That's House of House, BTW. Saheer Umar & Oliver Spencer (of Still Going fame). Out soon on Whatever We Want Records. Great-great tune, but that's not the issue. In an obsessive diggers-collectors-eBayers-Internet-seekers world, mega-stoner DJ Harvey seems like the gems FIND him. The highly obscure, unsung, sought-after pieces of forgotten, unclassical, super-rare music gold just finds its way to his sexy bearded vinyl case. The title 'crate digger' implies hard labour. Effort. Sweat. Harvey? He simply has an epic taste. It's all his, he's the music he's playing-- not just the DJ. As a pioneer of disco re-edits, he could laugh in the faces of hopeless "Nu Disco" (bleh) kids today. But he doesn't. Harvey is indeed amazing, but I warn you now: do not listen to anything by him. Not until you've established yourself. You're gonna be scared of DJing for a long time, and try to cluelessly imitate his style. Bad idea.

6. I still like Twitter. The world is having a constant and steady panic attack. "Where's everyone?", we ask ourselves an insane number of times during the day. "Has everyone disappeared? What's everyone doing?". Twitter does exactly that: much like the peaceful Rososo, it validates your existence an infinite number of times. That so-called ambient intimacy relaxes and calms your panic attack down a bit, in tiny doses everytime. It's essentially that anti-technology that's there to make you peaceful. What's Tal doing? Oh, he's having dinner. I feel better now.

7. And I like Tumblr. A lot. Why? Because it's just so cool.

8. Finally, I also like Lexx's mixtapes. Scattered over the web. Look for them.

Podcast! Music! Radio! Hebrew!

Fellow Israeli readers, I have a new podcast show that features some Hebrew babble and great music, check it out here: http://ourpodcast.tumblr.com/

Hope you enjoy it! Feedback is welcome.



This is quite irrelevant to the nature of this blog, but I still gotta try. I'm looking for people who are interested in cyberpunk culture and were active participants in one way or another in it. That's web 1.0 type of stuff, IRC and Phrack magazine. Looking for people who think there might be a connection between post-cyberpunk and post-modernism, between Creative Commons, Richard Stallman, Napster, Wikipedia, Kalle Lasn & culture jamming, mudge (from MIT) and buffer overflow exploits, Hackers the movie, Derrida, Lacan. And even: sw_r, h4g1s, u4ea, Solar Designer, The Mentor, b4b0. I believe we need to chat for a bit about something important. Please contact me ASAP.

And for the people just looking for some great music:

Wild Rumpus - Purple Somersault // Bitches Brew

Pretty perfect beach jam...

Brilliant, of course

(via Are)