Geert Lovink: Danny O’Brien is the editor of a newsletter that looks into new media scandals, rants, and the latest in hi-tech industry in the UK. The site is called NTK.net, Need To Know, and besides that he is also a columnist and this is the way he makes money. His real passion is to look into the scandalous parts of the industry. This is really very dense literature so if your English is not so good or if you are not really into UK slang or hi-tech slang it is a tough read. But once you’re into it, it is really hilarious and enjoyable. So Danny.
Danny O’Brien: All right, my name is Danny O’Brien thanks for the introduction. I’ve edited a thing called Need To Know, which as Geert has said is almost completely incomprehensible. Even to me.
One of the things we regularly get from people is, “I love NTK. I subscribe to it. I’ve forgotten how to unsubscribe to it. And I really like it. I don’t understand half of the things you say.” But fortunately it is always a different half. So we’ve never actually eliminated anything.
What I’ve never confessed to these people is that I don’t understand half of it. Fortunately I have a co-writer and he writes the stuff I don’t understand.
I have two pr… well actually I have many problems, but I have two problems here today. And I hope to make them your problems as well. The first one has to do with web design. Okay, this is NTK in 1998, actually that is as far as the internet archive goes as far as copies for this.
I think you can see my first problem here; this is the height of our web design approach in 1998. Aaah it is fairly rough even for 1998. What you see there is a table and my inability to turn off the borders of the table. Now that’s okay, everything was fresh and new in those days.
This is today, and you see my other problem here. We’ve changed it slightly. You can see we’ve… I’ve worked out that border equals zero, and I’ve put in some nice color here. We received a lot of letters about that. The week we changed that I got hundreds of emails from my cutting edge web designer audience complaining bitterly that things have changed.
And this is one of the things I want to pick up in my talk; is that I think all of the speakers in this section have talked about how the media presentation of what web designers are, and what this culture is, is very much at odds as to the reality of the situation. And also often the dialogue that web designers have with researchers, and with fellow web designers, you know; how wonderful this career is, and how marvelous things are going; you know, it is only a matter of time before I really breakthrough; is really at a counter point with what they are actually thinking, and what they are actually crying to themselves in bed.
At NTK we like to see ourselves as a sort of receptacle for those tears, which are sent as Attachments.
The program that Roz very beautifully described, Attachments, prompted such a response by our audience that we set up a separate website for it called Everyone Hates Attachments. This consisted of an interactive chat type forum, (we got a bit better at this kind of stuff), in which people would go online and complain about this TV show as it was happening. So people would be going to the site, and people would be actually saying, “that never happens! We never sleep with other people at work, or each other, or the cat, or anything that is going on in this particular show”.
So there was a genuine irritation with what the media was presenting. And also I think, as both the other speakers have mentioned, a great hiding of what was actually going on.
So the other problem I slightly have is that in discussing work, very few parts of NTK were actually ever about work. We always either just pulled scorn on the work that people were doing, or uncovered things that were completely parallel to work; other things that people were interested in, TV and so forth. The only time work ever really impinged on NTK was when everything went wrong. Then people would send us screen shots of disastrous web site crashes. Or when companies would collapse.
The Dotcom bust was greeted with a huge round of applause from our readership. This was peculiar for a number of reasons. One of course was that they were all employed in this environment. And two, often, when, companies collapsed, or database systems fell over, or all of these things the people emailing us were the people who were working on those very projects, going “ha ha, look what’s happened!”
We were sort of this weird, saturnalia of the new media. I want to spend a bit of time looking into that for this talk and discussing exactly what the reasons for that was.
Obviously, part of the reason is; this is the funny side and this is a way of releasing all of these pent up frustrations with the contradictory nature of the business. But I actually think there is something else here. I think that there was something in the manner, in the way web designers thought that actually had coping mechanisms for this; who were actually developing a way to cope that didn’t really fit in with the bohemian ideal that other people were forcing on them. And these people actually drew from a much longer cultural tradition of coping than just within this decade, plucked from three or four different cultural influences that came through NTK.
I will try to explain at least 1% of the 50% of NTK that no one understands.
At the bottom of every NTK, since 1997, we’ve had this little catch phrase here, which is kind of the thing people put on t-shirts and so forth, it says “Need To Know: they stole our revolution, now we’re stealing it back.” This is older than NTK, this dates back to about 94, 95. A time before anyone really has any idea that a revolution was being taken away from them. This was before the Dotcom boom, this was before the capitalization of all of these ideas, and this is really even before the web. This was an idea that there was a revolution going on. There was a “they”, a numinous they, that were taking the revolution away, and in some way we had some way of getting the revolution back from them. I guess explaining that point is the point of what I am going to talk about today.
Okay, lets go back a bit. The rest of the speakers in their work and also in the book that Geert cited No Collar, talked about a discontinuity in the way people saw themselves, this moment where the past was geeky, but this is cool. This is one of the things, if you’ve read Roz’ paper; she talks about this: that new media workers were clearly trying to identify themselves away from the previous workers in this area. This (other here) was very geeky. But They weren’t doing geeky things. I may be stringing pointy brackets together but what I do isn’t geeky. It’s something else; it is a creative endeavor.
I want to go past that particular discontinuity, because a lot of the stuff that NTK rather subconsciously draws upon is a little before that.
You’ll pardon me if I do a little bit of ancient history here. This is actually ancient Greek history. This is the front cover of a zine from 1964. This is the cover of Principia Discordia and if you can read it [the screen], it is introduced as “how I found Goddess and what I did to her when I found her”. This is a very interesting bit of apocrypha, the secret material of the geek culture.
Has anyone heard of Principia Discordia, stick up you hands. You see a tiny tiny 3% here. This is actually a religious document. The Discordian religion started in the late 50s early 60s in a bowling ally in Yorba Linda, California, which the Goddess Eris, the Greek Goddess of Discord, appeared to two, I guess, bohemian types and explained to them that they were going to teach the world how to balance the nice orderly world, which is all around them, with the absolutely chaotic world that underlies it.
You can see what an appeal this has for geeks, who have to constantly structure their lives, knowing that there is this boiling iceberg of horror underlying almost all of their web sites. It is absolutely true that this is a tiny book that was exchanged via, at the time, a very early cultural exchange, which was mail art. Mail art was where people would copy the work they were doing and then send it to other artists. Principia Discordia is kind of a compilation of several artist scattered, not only over the United States, but also across the world. They poured all of this into a shared environment using the technology of the time. Principia Discordia, the first edition was actually a Xerox, well mimeograph in fact, made on Jim Garrison’s photocop… mimeograph. Jim Garrison being the guy who investigated Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of John F. Kennedy.
This is a very important status in the world of the Discordian, because Discordians also were very much into conspiracy theories. They were one of the first people to pursue the whole multiple shooter theory, and it is a tentative Discordian item of faith that there were at least 30 people trying to shoot JFK. This group of people has a belief that a lot of people have about conspiracy theories; they use them as a comfort. And for a lot of people Discordianism was a comfort. Is it a religion or is it a joke? It is really hard to tell.
One of the later… you may be more familiar with this. This is The Church of the Sub Genius. Has anyone seen these images? This is something that was actually picked up by the same people and had a much larger influence on the ideas of design in the 90s, which we will come to a little bit later. There is continuity with here. People tend to differentiate Principia Discordia with The Church of the Sub Genius by saying The Church of the Sub Genius is a joke pretending to be a religion, whereas Discordianism is a religion pretending to be a joke. I know a lot of programmers who seriously do believe in Discord and the guidance of Discord.
So what is the point I’m trying to make here? And how exactly does this lead to web design and work? Very good questions. Well for one thing this is a very tech lead design idea and a very tech lead idea of self expression. Also the technology came from work. This is the important thing.
Jim Garrison didn’t know he was starting a religion on his mimeograph. People were creeping into his office, mimeographing the stuff and then creeping out. And Jim Garrison was a paranoid guy, so that must have been hard to do.
Also there is this idea of a shared complexity. A contribution where all of these people, partly because of the illegitimacy of how they maintained this reproduction, couldn’t put their names to it.
It is very hard to find out who is behind the Principia Discordia in the same way as a lot of religious apocrypha. And that give it a certain force and it also gives it a complexity because you have all these different people adding stuff to the document. The team is bigger than an individual art project.
How well known was Discordianism? Hopefully I should be able to illustrate this.
This is a great book. This has just come out. This is called Revolution in the Valley; it is by the early geeks who built the first Mac. Here we are [points to dorky picture of Apple designers], you can see this is slightly pre-cool. We are now coming up to around 1984. There are a number of great stories here about how the Macintosh was first made. The Macintosh was really the first designed computer in the sense of not being just thrown together with bits of wires.
My wife pointed out something here that is very interesting, which is a chapter called Gobble, Gobble, Gobble. This is talking about Steve Jobs who is an interesting figure in geek culture, as I will go into in a sec. I’ll just give you this quote… “Steve was very protective of his Mac designers who were pretty much incapable of looking after themselves and would be working all night designing this first computer culture artifact that had elements of design”. And he also defended them from the “Straights”. This is the first time really that the idea of the Silicon Valley geek was a precious artistic person who had to be protected from the Straights. Before this point, the Straights were the geeks. And this is how Steve Jobs in his inevitable subtle way managed to do this.
Someone comes up for an interview for a management role, and Steve has promised; the geeks are worried, “we get some sort of authoritarian manager who’d wreck the unique spirit of our team. We expressed our concerns to Steve.”
It is always “Steve”,
“He promised we would have a big say in hiring the new manager. He said he would personally protect us if the situation like the one we feared ever arose.”
One of the ways he did this was he brought them into the interview situation.
The guy comes up for his interview,
“He was extremely straight laced, and up tight, and was dressed more like an insurance salesman than a technologist.”
So technologists already have this weird dress that is different than the Straights.
“I could tell Steve was losing patience when he started rolling his eyes at the candidates responses. Steve began to grill him with some unconventional questions. ‘How old were you when you first lost your virginity?’ Steve asked. The candidate wasn’t sure he heard correctly, ‘what did you say?’ Steve repeated the question changing it slightly, ‘are you a virgin?’ Burrell [Smith] and I started to laugh; the candidate became more disconcerted, he didn’t know how to respond. Steve changed the subject, ‘how many times have you taken LSD?’ The poor guy was turning various shades of red, so I tried to change the subject and ask a straight forward technical question.”
This is one of the geeks talking.
“But Steve got even more impatient when he started to give a long winded response. ‘Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble’, Steve said, making turkey noises. This was too much for Burrell and me and we started cracking up. ‘Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble’, Steve continued.”
And eventually at this point the manager realizes that he probably won’t get the job.
What you see there is the Turkey Curse from Discordianism. To perform the Turkey Curse, Geert you have to stand up for this I’m afraid. Stand up.
“You take a foot start, if you were John L. Sullivan”,
I have no idea what that means, perhaps preparing for fisticuffs?
“Face the particular grey face you wish to short-circuit”,
This is the 60s remember,
“Or toward the negative aneristic vibrations.”
This is someone who is slightly too organized. This isn’t you Geert I just needed someone who wasn’t going to hit me.
“You make motions with your hands as though you were a mandrake feeling out the giantess, chant loudly and clearly, ‘Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble’.”
Thank you, do it back to me, just so I don’t…
Geert Lovink: Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble.
Danny O’Brien: Perfect! I am cleansed.
Steve Jobs is the first example of a manager who understood the geeks that he was dealing with and then exploited them to the hilt.
Steve Jobs holds a strange kind of Angel/Devil figure in geek history. To give you an example the classic thing that excited people about Steve Jobs when he started, and turned them against him shortly afterwards, was one of his little adages he would have around the office. This was the one: “real artists ship”. Ship in this sense means writing code and shipping on time. So here we have this interesting almost Svengalian blend of work and your dreams, geek dreams. You’re an artist; you’re a geek. Everyone else thinks you’re a straight laced gobble gobble gobble, kind of guy. But you’re not, you’re an artist. And you’re an artist who’s working with me to create “The Great Work”. This secret artistic project; this shared project that we will do together; this is why people loved Steve Jobs.
The reason why people hated Steve Jobs of course was that he was utterly exploitative. The people who worked on the Mac project were paid very very small salaries. And when Steve Jobs was finished with them he just discarded them. A classic example of this was from Steve Job’s partner, Steve Wozniak, who when Steve Wozniak, after quite an awful accident decided to leave Apple and start his own little start up in Silicon Valley, Jobs denied him any suppliers. He went to all of Apple’s suppliers and said don’t deal with this man he is a traitor. Basically it is a rather tragic story Revolution in the Valley because it describes these engineers who were inspired to do great things by Steve Jobs. But at the same time when everything went wrong, when they were burnt out, effectively they were just thrown away. At the end of the book there is this awful tension that you see cropping up again and again, of the engineers trying to rationalize what is happening to them.
This happens again and again. One of the interesting things about the pre-1994 tech culture is that the booms were very short in duration and also periodically. In that they happened every ten years which means that you can have a boom/bust cycle, within your life time three times, three or even four times. The example here is that both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates came across in the 1974 boom, but they were also still quite young people in the second boom, the 1984 boom. Let me give you an example.
Danny O’Brien: This is Bill Gates in 1983, in a Teen Beat photo spread, as the young aspiring love interest of all decent 16 year old girls. [Note from Danny: actually, it’s not. See http://www.snopes.com/photos/people/gates.asp for its true origins]. Maybe it is a product of the time that this wasn’t in anyway freaky. And I think one of the reasons I now really… this is going to stay on the screen for a very long time because I don’t have another slide, so avert your eyes… This wasn’t weird because Bill Gates was relatively young as with Steve Jobs, they were both billionaires under 30, in a time when that was seen as unusual. Oh, of course they were not the only ones. You had people like Jobs and Gates exploiting geeks and becoming fantastically rich but you also had a rich culture of geeks exchanging things like Principia Discordia having all of these little in jokes. Communicating with one another, by the 80s, using bulletin boards, using the computer underground, talking about all of this and learning from these lessons. They knew that they were going to be “ripped off” by “The Man”. And The Man was going to be a rather smooth faced boy, that these people weren’t the people to be trusted. They looked like geeks but the were wolves! In geek’s pocket protectors.
This is the beginning of what is described by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson, of course in this very glossy way, as the computer underground. But the computer underground of that time was just as much undermining the tech industry of which it was a part. One of the things that cropped up in the 80s was the “Warez Network”, the illegal pirating of computer games and software. Now what a lot of people don’t really know, because it is not really spoken of that much is, many of the people involved in the Wares Network were writing that software. In order to get that software you had to work for the company and the best software was “zero day warez”. That was, warez that came out before the software actually reached the shelves, and that was usually smuggled out by people who were actually working on those products.
This seems a very self-destructive way of dealing with it, but of course they are identifying their work, their “Great Work” as being very different from the work they were being paid to do, even though the two are very closely identified. They were working many many hours on games and stuff like that and loved what they were creating, but then they wouldn’t want to perform exactly how the boss wanted them to perform.
Another interesting thing that is worth noting is that a lot of the people who ran those warez networks went on, and I can’t use names unfortunately, to be CEO’s, to be the management of companies. So often when you have this idea that corporations are very much against pirates and so forth, when in fact that is historically the background from which they came from. So the computer underground spat out people who would then become either the exploiters, or at least the people in control of these businesses.
The other thing to know about the 80s was the GPL. The GNU project which is another defensive action, in this case against academia, that you cannot take my software that I am writing for you because I’ve protected it with these licenses that prevent you from exploiting it in anyway. So, this is another reaction against the people who are taking this stuff.
Ah, this is something I am really just going to skip through because the previous speaker has covered this really well. Lets go to 1994, what I have here is, “a tech enabled revolution causes an explosion in self expression.” I’m talking here of course about the zine revolution. In 1994 if you were at all interested in design and self expression you would be two things: one, you would be unemployed because we were in a very big media recession, and two you were probably working on some little media project; some little zine that you would be sending out to people, or at least sitting in a cafe talking about writing a zine. I was. My zine was called Graduate Loser which kind of sums up what’s going on here. These people were being disenfranchised essentially from the bohemian lifestyle they are expected to live, right? The idea is to go into a media job right after your degree, after your Liberal Arts degree, as they say in America.
Now zinesters were the direct ancestors of the early beginnings of web designers. Why is this? Because they were very used to the idea and the appeal of self expression, un-moderated by anyone else. They understood the value of that. They also understood the costs of doing that. Essentially the way you made a zine was the same way you did it in the 1960s. You crept into your work place after work and ran off hundreds and hundreds of copies on the photocopier, and that was sticking it to The Man, costing him over 20 pounds worth of photocopier toner. This was still going on when I first joined the internet industry in the 90s; is that people were creeping into the office in the evening, and I remember very distinctly the quiet Goth girl who did web design coming in late at night, when I was sitting there working on my own zine, and photocopying hundreds and hundreds of her Goth zine, and no one said anything of course because they were doing the same thing.
The appeal of the web of course was that it got rid of that problem. Rather than having to distribute to a hundred different people, you would be distributing it to the whole world. And all of the appeal and the dream that you had of having control over your artistic project was there for the taking.
So we have arts graduates expecting jobs in media, denied by the recession, taking dead end jobs purely for the access to technology. It is unsurprising that this group first seized and understood the potential of the World Wide Web.
Of course the first entries were the most important on the Web in 1994. You had this weird influx of people who went on to be the millionaires because they were the first to recognize these values.
So we have the zinesters. And then we have this other group who were the academics. The academics were also the first into this environment because, similarly, they had access to the technology. They could get into these areas to exploit the technology. The classic example here are David Filo and Jerry Yang the co-founders of Yahoo!. Jerry Yang and David Filo started Yahoo!, I believe at Stanford. And of course it wasn’t part of their studies, because there was no such thing as web studies. They were doing this in their spare time instead of working on their studies. At Stanford they had access to the internet. Again we have this tradition of people having work that they are supposed to do, and the stuff that they are actually working on. Of course in this example the stuff they’re working on disappears, and the stuff that is the side project, the hobby, turns into this massive project.
So again we have this weird bending going on, where actually this other thing, not the work that you do, but “The Great Work”, this thing that you are inspired to do, becomes the main project. Other examples of this are seen in the IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. That was another project started the same way. And almost anything that you look at in the early days of the web started in this same way. All of these first web sites were built on stolen time and re-purposed technology. The web itself is supposed to be so you can write scientific papers and give it to you fellow graduates, right? Not that you are going to do this giant GIF of a coffee machine.
So here we go, these are the people feeding it. You have academics that find themselves sidetracked by far more attractive side projects. We have zinesters accustomed to both incredibly personal self expression and exploiting the technology of businesses. Then we have these geeks peculiarly sensitized to the dangers of living through their work, but unable to pursue their goals in any other way. And the reason why people like Jobs could consistently attract the geeks was because how else could you pursue your dreams if your dream was to create the world’s best computer game or an incredible communication system, except by working in a corporation?
This is an extra element. I don’t wish to glorify or come up with the standard Wired tropes about the web because I am five years too late, and they are not true. However one thing that is true is this supposedly egalitarian, probably just technically, egalitarian quality of this network, in that all nodes were equal peers. Not in the sense that everyone had a chance to express themselves or anyone had a chance to express themselves, but the fact that if you went to a site, you didn’t know whether it was a huge corporation or it was just some guy. Often, as Roz describes, it is one in the same.
A really good example of this was HotWired. HotWired was one of the first explicitly designed web sites. They brought in designers, they created a look and feel; it was seen as a media artifact. Of course the people who worked on HotWired went on to fill the multi-media gulch, which was very similar to the New York scene. One of the things that is interesting about HotWired was that it was run originally from a server underneath some ones desk, in the Wired offices. Brian Behlendorf, now we are talking real geeks here, is the guy who wrote much of the Apache web server code, had a server under his desk, and that was HotWired. Under someone else’s desk was suck.com. Suck.com was a site basically written by a couple of people working at HotWired who thought HotWired sucked and decided to do their own website. Within two or three months of suck.com starting, suck.com’s number of hits was dwarfing HotWired’s; and so one desk was remarkably cool to work on and the other one was burning hot. And of course they loved the ‘hot stuff’ at Wired. That weird convoluted, recursive way of that particular period in the Dotcom boom, favored the suck.com guys who then became the heroes. Wired commissioned an article to write about the people who had been stealing their technology to run their site, talking about how shitty the Wired web site was and wrote a piece about what cool people the suck.com people were. And did the deal, they made a deal and offered to buy the suck.com web site, for a ridiculously small amount of money. Of course suck.com took it because they’d been working all night and working all day at HotWired and they were tired and they were burnt out and their boss, who they hated, but respected, came along and said what you are doing is cool, I would like to buy it.
And of course when that happened all of the creative material goes away, all of the value of the project you were working on ebbs away, and it becomes just work. Not “The Great Work”, but the work. And we see this repeatedly, this tension in the creative industries and in working on the web.
There was this constant cross over; the stuff that was actually good was a side project, it was a hobby. But because it was good, and people were desperate for finding out ways of taking things that were good, people were instantly blinded with cash. So there was betrayal after betrayal after betrayal. And this was the pain that people felt at that time. That they couldn’t even escape into the side project without it being corrupted in this way. I was going to run through a lot of slides of this example, but since I see a lot of people nodding, I think you all know this experience. Things like fray.com.
A classic example of this is fuckedcompany.com. Which I think begins to express the end of this period. Where fuckedcompany.com was somebody setting up a side project to bitch about all the other companies that people were working for and that were collapsing. And two things happened; one, the site was absolutely drowned with people sending in tips about their companies dismantling themselves, all of the hypocrisy and lies, all of the hard sells that had gone on, and two, as a result fuckedcompany.com becoming a business in itself; because it was getting so many hits that advertisers wanted to advertise on fuckedcompany.com; because this was a very accessible demographic, right. These were hot web designers and we wanted to sell products to these people. The irony is, the guy running fuckedcompany.com packing in his other projects, which were I believe, and this is mainly gossip, porn sites, then decided to dedicate himself to fuckedcompany.com, and then being in the situation of having to fuel the fire. Having to continue to find fucked companies. And you know now all of the companies are fucked! What do you do? You have to work out some way of diversifying.
And to quickly cover on the side of the geeks, open source of course doing very well, by having the GPL and other license, legal defenses against being exploited. The geeks being somehow clever enough to give themselves legal defenses while working on these projects, so that these companies were then obliged to give away the projects to their competitors. Same thing, Dotcom boom, millions pouring into an area where businesses were funding things like Brian Behlendorf, the Apache project, that these people then carefully arranged to give away. Some of you may have heard the talk about Java. One of the interesting things about the history of Java is; there are two products, Tomcat and Ant, which are open source. Sun isn’t keen on open source because it doesn’t make a great deal of money and Java itself is not really open source. One of the reasons why Ant and Tomcat are open source was due to a bunch of individuals within Java, slipping it past the lawyers. They just stuck the licenses on it just at the moment when Sun was saying, “look we really have to ship this. Okay, just add this to the top, and here you go.” And these little applications, are used all over the world. Some of the most popular things to come out of Sun and also one of the reasons why Java is still very popular, because there are these tools people can use; again this weird undermining and yet reinforcing nature.
This is a quote from Geert. I have to suck up to the organizer. “The boheme is virtually absent in the electronic gold rush stories”, this really leapt out at me because it is true. For all of the media presentation of the web as a bohemian environment, it was really a struggle to incorporate what was really going on. If you look at the history of the bohemian movement it has a much more separated position away from work. The bohemian ideal is the idea that you have enough money from a slightly dead end job to support you art. Your job is boring but, hello, all jobs are boring. You work at a shitty job and you live in a garage and you eat paste, so you can support your art. This is a great sacrifice living in the bohemian way.
When I was writing this last night, I left it to the last moment. I was sitting in one of the cafes in the Red Light District, which is near where our hotel is. My little toddler child is having such an education. I was sitting there and it was about two in the morning and it was fairly empty, and somebody saw me scribbling, it was a young tourist. He came up to me very earnestly and said, “excuse me, you don’t mind me asking, what are you doing?” And I was sitting there writing in my little black note book, I said, “Well I’m writing this talk.” He said, “Talk you mean you are going to be interviewed?” I said, “No, no, it is a presentation.” And this was the keyword. His face fell and said, “Oh, it is work.” And then he turned and walked away. And the bohemian discourse was perfectly reflected in that moment. It is just work, it is not “The Great Work”.
What I would like to describe here is that the old bohemian idea, this meaningless low paid job that funds your art; this is something that a lot of people in the new media industry describe in an attempt to separate themselves. The media presentation of the new media industry is something different. It is David Brooks’ rather crazy idea of the Bobo. The bohemian person whose meaningful work is their job. These are the very positive reports of the new media, the idea that what everybody really wanted to do was a Levi Jeans web site; that’s what people dreamt of. And that this was their artistic expression is clearly not true. What we have here is an invisible bohemian. A job that leaves you alone with the technology long enough to pursue your own “Great Work”. The story is true that these people worked hundreds and hundreds of hours in their industries and in their businesses but a tiny fraction of those hundreds of hours were devoted to that actual industry, and the rest of the time they were sitting there, effectively and rather futilely, going ‘gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble’, at their bosses; unable to leave their jobs; unable to do anything but pursue their creative gestures using the tools that had been left to them by their kind and merciful overlords, the web and the photocopier.