inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #51 of 74: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 05 03:46
    
WHOLE EARTH didn't survive because WHOLE EARTH was made
of ink and paper.  I'm looking forward to the day when WORLDCHANGING
starts leaving some solid material traces, however.   Books, T-shirts,
coffee-cups, the usual website CafePress clutter, that's just not
enough.
I'm looking forward to the day when websites start designing
and manufacturing material objects with computer fabrication.
Man, that could happen tomorrow; I may do it myself!

Americans think everything in the world is their fault.
The UN is not some building in New York whose problems
can be solved with American dollars and bayonets.
It's the talking shop for everybody, and most people
aren't American.

The world is gonna have to solve its own problems.
In the climate issue, for instance, the vast majority
of the participants wish that the Americans would
just shut up, go home and sulk.  The world could
likely solve that problem if the Americans would just
put a cork in their mugs and stop pretending that
nothing ever happens without them.

BOLLYWOOD!  Yeah!  Let's talk Bollywood!
And I don't want to talk "classics", either --
to hell with the Indian cinema that's actually good.
I want to talk postnodern Bollywood NRI cinema,
which is, like, a premier window on 
contemporary globalization.

You know the coolest part of "Kabhi Khushi
Khabie Gham?"  It's when Hritik Roshan and
Shah Rukh Khan are swanning around London
and they are *the coolest two guys in London* --
they're sexier, richer, better dressed, and
better dancers than the remnants of the
British Imperial Raj.  They also have
cuter girlfriends and fancier cars.

Man, that rocked my world.  That flick
is the CITIZEN KANE of the Bollywood
family feudal epic.  Karan Johar is
a genius.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #52 of 74: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 05 10:39
    
Rohit will have to cover the Bollywod conversation; my taste runs to
quirky indendent films and high-decibel, highly-immersive effects-laden
blockbusters. We just watched "I, Robot," which was supposedly sci-fi,
but I figure the film's robot-men are fantasy, same with Vernor
Vinge's singularity, the creation of superhuman machines. What are your
thoughts on the future of robot intelligence? 
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #53 of 74: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 05 18:01
    
Frankly, artificial intelligence is hokum.  That idea
has just got no traction at all.  I don't think we're
a whit closer to robot intelligence now than we
were 30 years ago.

I'm a whit closer to California now, though;
I left Austin this morning and I ought to
be in Los Angeles in two days.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #54 of 74: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 05 19:05
    
So you must be driving, and we're hoping you can find connectivity
along the way, especially in Las Vegas. Los Angeles has flood warnings
out the wazoo, so you're on your way to a Viridian happening.

The friendly neighborhood Drudge posted this link was "weather
freakout": 
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news?p=storms&ei=UTF-8&datesort=1

I can see the headlines now: "World Ends; Texas is Spared."
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #55 of 74: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 05 19:33
    
So I see.

"Los Angeles Fire Department personnel use heavy equipment to remove
mudslide debris Sunday, Jan. 9, 2005, in Los Angeles. A powerful,
plodding storm drenched California with another consecutive day of
heavy rain turning roadways into rivers, knocking out power to
thousands of homes and setting off mudslides and flooding that shut
down highways. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)"


*Yeah, welcome to sunny California, home of the Unnatural Disaster.
Don't have a tsunami?  Make your own!

*It wouldn't kill me to hang out in El Paso another day.
Carnitas Queretaro, man, that's the stuff!
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #56 of 74: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Mon 10 Jan 05 02:53
    
Before you go completely off on a Bollywood rant, would you talk a bit
about the emerging 'neobiological civilization', some of the tensions
of canon panic and maybe even throw in a bit about the problems of
digital archiving and what's being done on that front?

Tomorrow Now just kicks! Safe driving and enjoy Pasadena.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #57 of 74: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 05 04:45
    
Oh man, come on, let me talk about Bollywood.

It's wonderful to see how one can turn on Bollywood
DVDs at parties and have them just clear the room.
Sometimes Americans just flee; you can see the
culture shock just hit them in a wave.

Some of the Bollywood material I find of most merit
is the stuff that actually clears the room *of Indians.*
Like, say, "BOOM," directed by bad boy Kaizad Gustad
and starring Mrs. Salman Rushdie.

http://www.apunkachoice.com/scoop/chirpychat/20040113-0.html

This crazily brilliant mess shot right by the heads of
most anybody who might have appreciated it, but
it's about Bombay supermodels, Bombay couture,
human trafficking, prostitution, Arab wealth and
multinational Muslim gangsters.  It makes no sense,
probably because it's trying so hard to tell the truth.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #58 of 74: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 05 05:01
    
You know what? Soon  I'll be living just north of Hollywood!
So I get to TALK FILM!  I'll be in Tinseltown, LA-LA Land!
Man, what a perk!

Maybe I'll actually BECOME A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAN!! 
What next, eh?  I'm thinking maybe a macrobiotic
diet and an eyelid tuck!

You want to see the state of the art in modern
Bollywood, check out this workhorse.  This is a
genuinely popular hit film made by some pros
on the top of their game.  "Main Hoon Na."

http://www.planetbollywood.com/Film/MainHoonNa/

Bollywood is actually a wounded cinema in a lot
of ways... it seems to have lost touch with its
traditional audience and its revenues have been
severely disturbed by changes in the means of
distribution.  The real key to the glory days of
Bollywood were that cinemas were a place to
get out of the Indian heat, so you could sell
tickets to the air conditioning while presenting
the movie as a kind of billboard.

With better electricity services in India and
home DVD players, Bollywood hit the rocks.
But I enjoy watching its enterprising struggle;
I think it's got a good chance to become
the first truly post-national cinema, a
form of expression by global emigres
for global emigres.

I don't consider myself a real rootin'-tootin'
film critic, but I do know one.

http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Island/3102/
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #59 of 74: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Mon 10 Jan 05 05:27
    
Okay, you may rant. I followed your links to discover Veer-Zaara as
well. I'm not sure I need another obsession at this point in my life,
so I will bask in your exuberance.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #60 of 74: It matters who your daddy is. (debbie) Mon 10 Jan 05 08:52
    

Just added Boom to my netflix list, thanks!
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #61 of 74: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 10 Jan 05 08:53
    
D'you have a top ten list of Bollywood films? And a top ten list of
neobiological entities?
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #62 of 74: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Mon 10 Jan 05 09:03
    
Well then, <bruces>, you are welcome to play your Bollywood DVDs at my
place in the Hollywood Hills, the fabulous CastleVoid, and I promise
you I won't leave the room.

I'll even provide the tikka masala, et al!
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #63 of 74: from DAVE PHELAN (tnf) Mon 10 Jan 05 10:01
    



Dave Phelan writes:



Now that Richard A Clarke (former counterterrorism tzar) has weighed in with
his (science?) fictional "transcript of the Tenth Anniversary 9/11 Lecture"
(originally at http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200501/clarke , text
mirrored at http://www.timsteil.com/blog.cfm?ID=35), and
<http://www.crichton-official.com/messageboard.html>Michael Crichton has
planted his flag firmly on the side of Climate Change deniers, is the gap
between fiction and politics now so narrow that the Viridian Principle of
'walking through the walls of the knowledge guilds' is becoming normal?

What other Viridian aims has the Pope-Emperor seen becoming real?


Thanks
Dave Phelan
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #64 of 74: Angus MacDonald (angus) Mon 10 Jan 05 12:33
    

[Also, does "BOOM" have the musical numbers?]
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #65 of 74: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 10 Jan 05 15:01
    
Speaking of Crichton, the scientists at RealClimate made two posts
analyzing his "State of Fear" arguments and pointing out the errors and
omissions:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=74
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=76
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #66 of 74: Jamais Cascio, WorldChanger (cascio) Mon 10 Jan 05 16:01
    
Those are quite lovely takedowns, too -- it's pretty clear that the real
climate scientists at RealClimate have no tolerance for Crichton's
bleatings. RealClimate is at the top of my RSS feed.

Although <jonl> and <emilyg> have quite ably represented WorldChanging here,
let me offer my thanks and appreciation for your support of our efforts,
Bruce.

Just as a note for you all -- my co-conspirator at WorldChanging, Alex
Steffen, will be on stage with Bruce at South by SouthWest this March.
They'll be giving a joint keynote. Should be a blast.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #67 of 74: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 05 19:18
    
That's odd.  A posting of mine vanished utterly.
It was about my number one favorite Bollywood film,
the cyberpunk technothriller QAYAMAT ("Apocalypse").

That must be a sign.  I'm in Phoenix, Arizona right
now.  Tomorrow I'll be wading into flood-stricken
Los Angeles.  What with unloading the car and trying
to get my academic ducks in a row, I can't imagine I'll have time
to do this topic justice.

I have the intuition that 2005 is going to be a whole
decade packed into a year.  They say that education's
very broadening; well, by 2006 I expect to be broader
than a six-lane highway.

So long, and don't be a stranger.
http://blog.wired.com/sterling/
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #68 of 74: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 10 Jan 05 20:22
    
The discussion will be here after you've unloaded, if you want to make
your way back and continue. We were just getting warmed up.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #69 of 74: Autumn Storhaug (autumn) Mon 10 Jan 05 20:32
    
I'd like to thank Dave Phelan for sending the link to the Clarke 'lecture.'
I'm going to pick up The Atlantic tomorrow.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #70 of 74: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 10 Jan 05 22:17
    
That's a pretty frightening story.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #71 of 74: from JOSH ELLIS (tnf) Wed 12 Jan 05 10:17
    



Josh Ellis writes:



I wish I'd known you were coming through Vegas. I would have bought you lunch
in thanks for sending my Kangol hat back to me after I drunkenly left it at
your house last SxSW bash.

I've been thinking a lot about this whole notion of America collapsing with a
whimper, not a bang; I've been reading a good bit about Rome recently as
research for a novel, and I'm fascinated by the way that the Empire basically
sputtered out when Constantine moved things to Byzantium. (I'm also quite
interested in how the Byzantines managed to survive for almost 1100 years
without making much of an impact on European culture, but that's a whole
other conversation.)

Here's the thing: I'm having a very hard time reining in my pessimistic
assumptions that Americans are so locked into our current modus operandi that
we're going to be totally incapable of jettisoning all the stupid behaviors
and habits that have gotten us where we are. (I gather Diamond's book is
about these same ideas, I'm gonna pick it up tomorrow). I know a lot of
people who have really neat ideas on living in a sustainable fashion, but for
every smart kid getting his or her tax credit on with solar panels, there's
two dozen more who really, really want an SUV that makes the Humvee look like
a lil' red wagon. And as far as I can tell, these people seem goddamn near
unreachable. They don't know, they don't care, and who the fuck are you to
mess with the party, anyway?

I've always thought the most interesting thing about the Viridian movement is
that it has the (presumably intentional) side effect of making sustainability
sexy for consumers. My question is: do you, Bruce, see that as a primary way
of reaching otherwise disinterested people? How do you get these folks to
quit staring at the pretty bling bling and pay attention? Personally, I've
about given up; I just ridicule them to amuse myself. But I'd like to believe
there's a more constructive solution. Do you think it's possible for us to
collectively hit the brakes? Or do you think we're going to have to have a
nasty full-on collision before we wake the fuck up?

Also: you were talking about Americans being forced to live the way the rest
of the world does. I lived in Turkey when I was a kid, which was a nice eye-
opening experience for a disenfranchised son of suburbia. Do you think it
would come right down to Kurdish-style encampments in Central California? I
tend to think America is so chock full of consumer products that we'd have at
least some sort of cushion -- Turks can't go down to Wal-Mart and buy
ultralight ergonomically-designed six man pup tents, whereas we can. What
sort of goofy post-imperialist scenario do you see as being most likely to
play out in America?



Josh Ellis
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #72 of 74: from KAMRAT TUPKO (tnf) Fri 14 Jan 05 11:47
    




Kamrat Tupko writes:





Dear Bruce,

I have a bunch of questions for you.

First one concerns media. You say 'an email list at all seems kind of
archaic now'. But it seems that with your list you obtain a different
feel, flavour, style, and thus effect than with your blog for instance.
And when you ask 'why not RSS feed?' this reminds me of a time when you
said that there will be no RSS feeds on your blog and we all have to
live with it. So what's your take on this now, maybe not on RSS itself,
but on the general craziness with all sorts of online publishing
schemes. I could ask, "Why don't you start posting to a wiki??", I
guess. I felt once that with your blog you were saying that such issues
don't really
matter. But I'm not so sure anymore.

But I'd rather ask, on this subject, what are you doing with your blog?
That is, what is its flavour, style, feel and thus effect? Answering my
own question (!), I think that you are doing an utterly crazy thing: you
are showing us that the Internet, once thought of as so strange by being
detached from the world, is actually rather a receptacle for the
strangeness that's already here, in the world, and it's evenly
distributed! I see you doing this with your musica globalista section,
with your MMORPGing guestblogger, with your shots of Milan and Balkan.
But then, I would ask, don't you worry this is skin deep, that this is a
level of experiencing different cultures comparable to feeling very
multicultural because you dine at a different ethnic restaurant each
day? I remember you posting about obscure Polish movies and, with all
due respect, was unsure how close that got anyone to getting that stuff
(as in the phrase, 'get it?') - if that ever was the goal. Or is the blog
just your wunderkammer, of the sort proposed by Dery, whom you recently
linked to? This pushing of an non-American world through the blog to a
presumably mostly American audience, I see it as a counterpoint to
situations like this conversation, where the subject is 'state of the
world' but the talk often slips to highly local issues located
somewhere between Austin and Hollywood Hills. How curious! You seem to
be saying, beware, the Internet is the world is the crazy great
different place about the existence of which one might forget!!!  Is
that it, do you feel Internauts in the US need to be reminded that there
are great, crazy, popular things going and they nevertheless have no
idea that they exist?

But what interests me the most is you and Eastern Europe. What's your
take on the region? I notice you spend a lot of time in the Balkans,
which to me are a mix of Yugonostalgia, war craziness and new
media savvy. They are so lucky, with all their media centers. And the
further North you go, the less of them you see, and once you get to
Poland, things in the 'getting the new media' category start to look
quite bleak. And then there's the Baltic and you have to stop. We're the
country with the most expensive telephone and internet connection prices
in Europe, maybe even in the world? So I'd like to know what's your take
on the Balkan affinity with the new media. Smart people say Poland is so
big, agricultural, catholic and traditional that the situation is quite
hopeless. It's hard for us to learn from places like the US, but maybe
there's a lesson to be learnt closer, in the Balkans?

And then there's the environment. Would you agree that that's an even
more hopeless issue to deal with in Eastern Europe? What is the right
style, do you have a bag of tricks for preaching Viridianism in Eastern
Europe?

Yours,

Tupko.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #73 of 74: Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Fri 14 Jan 05 12:40
    
Wow.  Truly hope Bruce circles back around to answer even a tenth of
that!

"...the Internet, once thought of as so strange by being
detached from the world, is actually rather a receptacle for the
strangeness that's already here..." is a lovely observation.  

A lot of us got quite invested in the idea of the internet as an
"other space," back in the 1990s.  

But I was wrong.  Things are really getting interesting *now* when
it's becoming a utility intead of an oddity.
  
inkwell.vue.234 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2005
permalink #74 of 74: Bruce Sterling (jonl) Sat 15 Jan 05 04:26
    
(from jonl: I sent Kamrat Tupko's message to Bruce via email, and got
this response:)

I have a bunch of questions for you.

*Those sure are a lot! I'm now in California
and being overwhelmed with administrivia --
I need a to-do list just for my to-do lists.

First one concerns media. You say 'an email list at all seems kind of
archaic now'. But it seems that with your list you obtain a different
feel, flavour, style, and thus effect than with your blog for
instance.

*Yessss?

And when you ask 'why not RSS feed?' this reminds me of a time when
you
said that there will be no RSS feeds on your blog and we all have to
live with it. 

*My blog's run by Tripod! Live with THAT!

So what's your take on this now, maybe not on RSS
itself,
but on the general craziness with all sorts of online publishing
schemes. I could ask, "Why don't you start posting to a wiki??", I
guess. I felt once that with your blog you were saying that such
issues don't really matter. But I'm not so sure anymore.

*It's all about "cognitive loads" and "opportunity costs."
I could explain that, but, well, first it's too hard to think about,
and, uh, I'm busy doing something else right now.

But I'd rather ask, on this subject, what are you doing with your
blog?

*At the moment, it seems to be mostly, uh, therapy.

That is, what is its flavour, style, feel and thus effect? 

Flavour: astringent
Style: autodidactic hodgepodge
Feel: radically and globally scattered
Effect: I get a surprising amount of sympathetic
email

Answering
my
own question (!), I think that you are doing an utterly crazy thing:
you
are showing us that the Internet, once thought of as so strange by
being
detached from the world, is actually rather a receptacle for the
strangeness that's already here, in the world, and it's evenly
distributed! 

*What's crazy about THAT? It's dead obvious!

I see you doing this with your musica globalista section,
with your MMORPGing guestblogger, with your shots of Milan and Balkan.
But then, I would ask, don't you worry this is skin deep, that this is
a
level of experiencing different cultures comparable to feeling very
multicultural because you dine at a different ethnic restaurant each
day?

*I'm in Los Angeles, man! People here do that
routinely!

I remember you posting about obscure Polish movies and, with all
due respect, was unsure how close that got anyone to getting that
stuff
(as in the phrase, 'get it?') - if that ever was the goal. 

*Watch that movie! I promise I understand modern Poland!

Or is the blog just your wunderkammer, of the sort proposed by Dery,
whom you
recently linked to? This pushing of an non-American world through the
blog to a
presumably mostly American audience

*Why presume that, "Kamrat Tupko"?

I see it as a counterpoint to
situations like this conversation, where the subject is 'state of the
world' but the talk often slips to highly local issues located
somewhere between Austin and Hollywood Hills. How curious! 

*The specific IS the universal, man!

You seem to
be saying, beware, the Internet is the world is the crazy great
different place about the existence of which one might forget!!! Is
that it, do you feel Internauts in the US need to be reminded that
there are great, crazy, popular things going and they nevertheless
have no
idea that they exist?

*OF COURSE I want to tell people about crap they never
heard of before! I'm a science fiction writer, I'm not some
*&*^$%% televangelist!

But what interests me the most is you and Eastern Europe. What's your
take on the region? 

*"Transition To Nowhere."

I notice you spend a lot of time in the Balkans,
which to me are a mix of Yugonostalgia, war craziness and new
media savvy. They are so lucky, with all their media centers. 

*And those war criminals and the cruise missile damage,
man, who couldn't envy 'em?

And the
further North you go, the less of them you see, and once you get to
Poland

*Been there.

things in the 'getting the new media' category start to look
quite bleak. And then there's the Baltic and you have to stop. 

*One word: "E-Stonia."

We're the country with the most expensive telephone and internet
connection
prices in Europe, maybe even in the world? So I'd like to know what's
your
take on the Balkan affinity with the new media. Smart people say
Poland is
so big, agricultural, catholic and traditional that the situation is
quite hopeless. It's hard for us to learn from places like the US, but
maybe
there's a lesson to be learnt closer, in the Balkans?

*Just jail some mafiosi and keep your birth rate up!
You'll pull through! Just thank the Pope's God that
you're not Russia, Ukraine or Belarus!

And then there's the environment. Would you agree that that's an even
more hopeless issue to deal with in Eastern Europe? What is the right
style, do you have a bag of tricks for preaching Viridianism in
Eastern Europe?

*Stay tuned...
  



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