Category Archives: Internet

What Andrew Keen does not understand

Via a local newspaper last Friday I was introduced to the reactionary thought of Andrew Keen (a self-proclaimed “leading contemporary critic of the Internet”) who is doing a book tour through Europe to launch his 2007 book The Cult of the Amateur in which – among other things – he states that “real” writers do not blog. A conspirator of thought of Keen, Marshall Poe, states that Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia, but a repository of common knowledge.”

Both Andrew Keen and Marshall Poe completely miss the point of blogging, Wikipedia and the nature of the internet in general. Even more, it’s not just that they don’t understand. The fact is is that they are fundamentally and ethically wrong.

1) A. Keen and M. Poe underestimate the importance of information access in the third and fourth worlds (and poor people everywhere) to a repository of books, encyclopedias and common knowledge:

Extremely knowledgeable people are paraphrasing information from a canonical list of books into Wikipedia, towards a new and yet unseen educational perennialism . People in such countries as Chad, Burkina Faso now have access to verifiable info and would not have it, if it were not for Wikipedia.

2) A. Keen and M. Poe underestimate the importance of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is good. We need common ground when discussing subjects. An encyclopedia=common knowledge copied from books (or from expert’s own minds). When Marshall Poe states that “Wikipedia is … not an encyclopedia, but a repository of common knowledge,” he forgets that people such as David Hume before him stated that “nothing is more usual than for philosophers to encroach on the province of grammarians, and to engage in disputes of words, while they imagine they are handling controversies of the deepest importance and concern.”

3) A. Keen and M. Poe fail to see what makes Wikipedia an interesting place for people who do have access to physical libraries:

For those of us who live in the First World, who do have access to the physical books, Wikipedia discloses info on the nature of knowledge and the social construction of knowledge via such features as the “what links here” and “disambiguation” pages.

I do not feel that strongly about points 2 and 3, which is intellectual nitpicking which makes no difference to the stomachs of people in the world, but point one, information access in the third and fourth worlds, is something I feel very strongly about and leads me to conclude that Keen and Poe do not have their hearts in the right places.

Tired/Wired #1

Since its inception in the early nineties of last century, Wired Magazine has run a series called Tired/Wired. It highlights what is hot and what is not in cyber culture.

Here is my first Tired/Wired entry backed (or fronted) by a song by my musical hero Gainsbourg:


Qui est In Qui est Out” (1966) by Gainsbourg

(The above composition also counts as World Music Classic #28 )


Please excuse the inclusion of my project. It is more a question of ambition than of reality. MUSE and JSTOR feature the best academic info but they keep it behind a walled enclosure.
Further rationales:

  • Wikipedia feels bloated today, Wikisource is getting up to speed (great for contemporary historical info in the public domain)
  • Google books has been a reliable source for some time now and is only getting better, Google itself contains too many Wikipedia clones
  • Downloading: only did this once, and downloaded some 250 tracks during a two month period which I subsequently lost, so I never downloaded again, I’ve always been in favor of the server-centric model proposed by SUN Microsystems rather than the client-centered model of that bête noire of computing Microsoft
    • Youtube satisfies my every music and moving images whim
  • Wikicommons is featuring a better and better image database free for use for any writer and blogger

Internet archeology #1

Soledad in Akasava

Der Teufel kam aus Akasava

Before Miranda, there was Soledad Miranda. Soledad was a Spanish actress best known for her films with Jess Franco. She died young in a car accident.

Via my recent purchase of Necronomicon: book three by Andy Black comes the Soledad photograph above, which I had hitherto only seen in its censored version, without showing the torso, from a screen capture or set photograph from Der Teufel kam aus Akasava.

Below are the better known online versions which I listed at as photocredit unidentified:

Soledad Miranda, photo unidentifed

photocredit unidentified

Case solved.

Five wikis

Wiki is the format of the future and will eventually displace HTML as primary mark-up language. Interesting things are happening in the Wiki space. I’ve mentioned Citizendium. Here are five more wikis that have recently caught my attention.

One can clearly see from the last three examples that the diffusion of new technologies and new media always travels the viral path of sex. In the words of Gerard Van Der Leun, writing in 1993 for Wire magazine:

“Sex, as we know, is a heat-seeking missile that forever seeks out the newest medium for its transmission.”

P. S. The waiting – of course – is still for a good bliki platform.

Citizendium: improvements and bowlderizations

Last October I reported on Citizendium as the first Wikipedia fork, today we are seeing the first results of this fork. My feelings are mixed. Take for example the Pierre Molinier entry at Wikipedia and its sister article at Citizendium. While the Citizendium “sister” is more elaborate and in depth (thanks to the contributions of one Pierre Petit who also contributes a nice photo) than the Wikipedia entry, it is also a bowlderized version. Compare the entry on the death of his sister.


“Molinier began to take photographs at the age of 18. When Molinier’s sister died in 1918, he had sex with her corpse when he was left alone to photograph it. “‘Even dead, she was beautiful. I shot sperm on her stomach and legs, and onto the First Communion dress she was wearing. She took with her into death the best of me.” [1]”


“Having been in love with his younger sister for a long time, he took a photograph of her on her deathbed, in 1918, thus starting his quest for androgyny identity, which would be a recurring theme throughout his life and work. “

On micro-blogging and macro-blogging

Micro-blogging is a relatively new term that has been used in connection to new social networking applications such as Twitter (What are you doing?). Today, it’s also being used in connection to Flickr and YouTube. A good post on the subject here and here.

I’ve only been ‘properly’ blogging since August 2006. With properly I mean using blogging software, I used to imitate the style of a blog in simple .txt files here. First I tried blogspot, which I disliked so much that I thought I’d return to my old ways, but then I tried WordPress and have stuck with it.

But when I compare the ease of editing at WordPress with those found at Flickr, Flickr is clearly the winner. Many times when I started with a post I’d compose it first at Flickr and than copy it and continue with it here (WordPress).

Now the main –how do you say it in English (overall tendency or purpose)? — is:

  • to praise Flickr’s writing environment.
  • to praise WordPress and especially its SNAP extension
  • to raise the question whether there is a Flickr-like application for MP3s
  • to question whether there is content management system in the making which is as elegant as Flickr, and which also includes content from Wikipedia and YouTube, sort of the meta-approach to internet publishing and where I could re-publish the content now hosted at
  • to introduce the term macro-blogging referring to the process listed in the bullet point above

In order to spice up what is perhaps an uneventful blog entry I give you Chesty Morgan in Fellini’s Casanova:


Breast fetishists may want to scrub to two minutes and 23 seconds.

Credit where credit is due: I think it is Nils Geylen who first led me to the concept of micro-blogging.

The joy of comments

Note to self: recent comments:

Ombres Blanches currently has a review of Breton’s unfinished literary project and Scott McLemee asks if there is anybody out there eagerly waiting for volume two ofSexual Personae”.

Happy Valentine

My internet crush Eva Deadbeat has reached a Youtube milestone and celebrates it by posting her own videos, a lovely picture of herself, and a superb punk song: “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” by X-Ray Spex


Perhaps in 5 years from now?

Jeanne Goupil in Don’t Deliver Us From Evil

I’ve said this before, the past is a much bigger place than the present, by which I mean that it is easier to find enticing books, films and music of by-gone eras than from the present era. Mike’s Esotika blog, one of the recent film blogs that have caught my eye gives ample attention to the past, and more importantly manages to discover and review films from that same past that are unknown to me (and I’ve done quite some searching over the few years). The latest entry on Mike’s blog is a review of the 1971 French film Don’t Deliver us from Evil. The film is directed by Joël Séria and upon seeing stills such as this, this and this one, I was excited. The first thing I do when a new name pops up is check whether it’s referenced at and yes, I was able to find it in the title listing of Amos Vogel’s Film As a Subversive Art. [The plot is revealed in Vogel’s write-up]

What was it that excited me? First of all, the title, any title with the world evil in it attracts me (which reminds me that I still need to document Barbey’s story Le Bonheur dans le crime of his Diaboliques collection). Second, the aforementioned stills and especially this one, in which the girls are reading that classic of transgressive literature Maldoror.

After checking for connections (my motto being: “Wanting connections, we found connections — always, everywhere, and between everything”) on my own site, I go out on the net and try to find more. First Wikipedia and IMDb, the French Wikipedia has this, IMDb this (sorted by ratings) and subsequently on the wild wild web. Where we find this: Joël Séria : Filmographie complète d’un obsédé sexuel with these 1, 2 [nsfw].

In an ideal world I would be able to connect to an online video on demand service provider and view the entire oeuvre of Séria. Perhaps in 5 years from now? At present, not even Youtube features clips of Séria’s films.

A teaser of the film:

Anne and Lore are two barely pubescent teens who attend a Catholic Boarding school. While seeming sweet, well behaved, and innocent from all appearances, the two have actually devoted themselves to Satan. While they are at school, the two intentionally ‘sin’ as often as possible without getting caught. They steal clothing and religious reliquaries in order to use in future Satanic rituals, they confess sins which they haven’t committed, they spy on the nuns, and they read transgressive literature under their covers once everybody else is asleep. Their life at the boarding school is a constant joke to them, and they giggle at everybody else’s misfortunes and the fact they are getting away with so much sin. Once summer break comes, their activities begin to get a little more serious.

And a review by Kinocite:

As a whole, Don’t Deliver Us From Evil / Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal comes across as something akin to Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows as Luis Buñuel or Catherine Breillat might have imagined it – no bad thing, especially to those nay-sayers who would deny that European cult cinema of this sort has anything to actually say.

And all this time I was thinking that the film reminded me of another film. And while I suspected that my perceived connection was maybe too far fetched, confirms that the film was based on the same events that inspired Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures:

Never before released on home video in the United States and making its world premiere on home video in its uncut form for the first time ever, Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is a very loose adaptation of the notorious story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hammond, the two murderous maids who also inspired Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures (still arguably his best film…. Hobbits and giant apes be damned). While there are some similarities between the two films, Joël Séria’s take on the story, his feature film debut, is very different in tone, execution, and theme as it manages to bring a far more blasphemous interpretation of the events into play.

Closing remarks: while researching Don’t Deliver I re-stumbled on film producer Antony Balch who was one of the first British entrepreneurs to embrace art, horror and exploitation films with equal enthusiasm, and who appropriately distributed Don’t Deliver in the U. K. .

Unrelated earcandy.