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May 10, 2004

Big Media Subversion, The Cool Zone & Dead Links

I've decided to go back to view the very first website I ever built which is almost 10 years old. It was 'The Cool Zone'. For better or worse, large sections of it can still be found here.
Excerpted from the intro to the Cool Zone:

the cool zone is a black cultural product in cmc which is designed to interactively involve folks with artifacts of various types. these artifacts whether visual, textual or aural will, if everything works properly, provide a basis for what i beleive is a new art form. this art form puts the flavor of blackness - the expository cultural components of african-american life - into the technology of the 90s.

For many years, in fact most of my life online, I wrote interactively in lower case so as to distinguish it from the work I composed offline. From this distance it looks cool still, but a bit futile and immature. The thing I think I've learned most over the years is to stand alone as an observer - connecting the dots in my mind publicly and letting that influence (or not) fall where it may. I no longer conceive of myself as a director of motion, although I still fall into the embodiment bag. Nor is the personna stuff so necessary. I am accustomed to the level of scrutiny and feedback the internet provides. I have no expectation and therefore no fear of fame.

What brings me to talk about the Cool Zone is twofold. The first is to link to 'B' which might have been the first group blog, or perhaps something a bit like 'word.com'. I see in so many words what Orcinus' gripe is about the media, and in concert with Gerard quotes of the Iron Rules I remembered my same gripe. I started it with 'B' way back in the days. In fact, much of what brought me to the Internet was a purposeful subversion of big media fueled as it was by the Big Lies about black Los Angeles pre- and post-riot and informed by Marshall Blonsky's semiotics.

From my intro to 'B'

In my view the editorial style and physical limitations of what we call newspapers force researchers into particular ways of seeing things that lack the authenticity of the voice of people, African Americans, especially. The very manner in which newspapers and televised journalistic reports are assembled are biased to profess the false objectivity of journalists who themselves have become a very powerful class of Americans. This bias for me has become unendurable and I find it most annoying to parse through a multiplicity of papers to get at the truth. Having done so, the truth I arrive at seems much the product of oppositional cross-examination of institutions with much to hide. Yet often there are odd spots of writing I happen upon which ring with the flavor of authentic experience. It is this type of information that gives me the confidence that the world is indeed populated by human beings who can understand and explain it and do so out of genuine curiosity and love.

The second, interesting in passing note is the sad resignation I find in the finding out. It turns out that only bloggers, something I would have not suspected, have come forward to subvert the signs. I thought it might be a bit more intstitutionally based. And so when I see the dead links in the Bastions Plane of the Cool Zone, I am sadly reminded that black grass roots & other organizations never really did the hookup. Nobody did really. Not in a transformative way about informing our society about what's going on at ground level.

Hopefully soon we'll turn our cameras back to home when this awful war is over, now that the technology is cheap and abundant. We may yet find out what we're all about. Who's manning the thousand points of light?

Posted by mbowen at May 10, 2004 12:38 PM

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