Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday Linkday

Link of the Week:

Before the word blog existed, I googled with Altavista. Those were the text-centered days of html, when babelfish was easily made recursive, allowing one to translate entire pages from English to Russian and back again with a single cut-and-paste. On several occasions this led me to something called The Hotsy Totsy Club, which was a serialized, real-time hypertext published in blocks of text the size of a computer screen. The Hotsy Totsy Club had a tendency to show up when I, bored, altavistaed any of my more peculiar cultural obsessions: Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Jack Spicer, Blind Willie McTell, Samuel R. Delany, George Herriman. I imagined a bustling community of outsider scholars, perhaps an alliance of computer programmers with queer taste in music and literature (which happened to coincide, in large parts, with my own -- I had never met anybody who agreed with me about anything before!), who had simply decided to make public all their internal deliberations.

Gradually I started reading The Hotsy Totsy Club for its own sake, following its links into the greater world of hypertext, and it wasn't long before I discovered that the Club was actually some guy named Ray Davis, and that there were other people, with very different cultural obsessions, keeping similar web pages. One day the word "blog" appeared, and suddenly everybody had one. But Ray's, my first, has always been my prime example of what a blog can be.

Davis's webwriting practice has meandered and mutated for something like a decade now, and he keeps changing the name of his site. For a while it was "Kokonino Kounty", which implied a spatial conception of hypertext -- a strange landscape to be stumbled through, with the occasional brick tossed lovingly your way (I have always identified Ray with Ignatz, not Krazy, in my own allegorical whaleworld, though he may think otherwise himself). Then it became "The Bellona Times", which was a way of formalizing both the serial, timestamped nature of blogging and its arbitrary relationship to time, while at the same time insisting (by allegory, again, here to Delany's Dahlgren) upon its power-dependent construction of a public sphere amid the deliriously fragmented anarchy of the internet. Nowadays he calls it "Pseudopodium", a clever portmanteau which downplays his own power as a public speaker, and emphasizes (instead?) his amoebic articulations of thought.

As for me: Despite a lifelong attachment to computers, I am but a fool in html. How do I get my blockquotes to show up in those neat little boxes that Ray uses on his page?


Ray Davis said...

Ignatz more in my youth, Offisa Pupp more now, but never ever Krazy.

The box thing's just CSS:

blockquote {
border: 1px solid #262626; padding: 1.5em;

And thank you for observing the blog's eighth anniversary for me! (July 4, since the earliest jottings weren't made public till then.) I assumed I'd say something to mark the occasion, but come the day I found myself still lost in the slough of mope. Anyway, this means a lot to me, particularly the recursive Babelfish closer. I've never heard an introduction to a reading that wouldn't have benefited from recursive Babelfish.

adam said...

Happy anniversary, Ray! Come away from the mope, and celebrate. Thanks for the 8 years!

Nick Piombino said...

I'll second that. Wish I'da been there for the whole 8, but I've enjoyed the four. Keep it going, Ray!