One of the few living writers that interests me is William Gibson. His latest book is called PATTERN RECONITION, and except for the lame ending, it isn’t a bad book. It’s not as speculative as most of his work but the basic premise — that a few snippets of an obscure art film made by an unknown person and hidden on the internet are discovered and become a cultural sensation — is as believable to me as GODZILLA vs THE SMOG MONSTER. I mean let’s face it people, there are plenty of great art films by geniuses like Godard or Bergman readily available in plain sight at the video store and people aren’t exactly stampeding to grab them. If anything profound ever happened to appear in cyberspace it wouldn’t even be recognized, obscured by all the noise and pop ups that are the lingua franca. I firmly believe that if there is to be a great leap forward in culture, it will be (as it has in the past) because of new technology but so far the net has proven itself to be mainly good for pornography, home shopping and GOP funded right wing bloggers. Check out the other blogs on this site — it’s all me, me, me. Everyone is writing them and noone is reading them. Culture today is like any other consumer item in the overstuffed consumer supermarket — with four billion brands of toothpaste people buy not because of what’s in the tube but because of packaging, the commercial on television, the IMAGE and not the CONTENT. How else do you explain the fact that Ashlee Simpson has the #1 CD when it’s a well known fact that SHE CAN’T EVEN SING? When I graduated from college in the eighties I decided to stop trying to personally promote myself (as I had done with great success) and to concentrate on the WORK. Although I stand by that, in the cultural context of the time it was a disastrous tactical move. The twin avatars of the time were Ronald Reagan and Madonna — both triumphs of image over substance. Madonna appeared to be a cutting edge, avant garde rebel, but she was in fact an attention starved, firmly conventional fame grubber much more interested in publicity than creating anything memorable — and indeed has any other music celebrity with such a long career produced so little of merit? Kurt Cobain created more in a few years than she has in decades. If anyone is responsible for the pathetic state of contemporary popular music it’s Madonna, and she’s openly idolized by all the talentless bimbettes she’s spawned. (I could go on — perhaps one day I’ll devote an entire rant to her). Reagan was also a smokescreen — appearing the firm, knowing elder cowboy when in fact he was a prematurely senile fool long out of touch with reality. He remained an actor and spokesman for corporations even when he was President, and anyone who thinks he was responsible for the fall of the USSR is welcome to give me credit for the sun coming up tomorrow morning. The cry of Punk rock was the last real howl of protest against the total hegemony of the corporate. We’ve got it all now — corporate music, corporate movies, corporate bookstores selling corporate books, even a corporate president dedicated to serving the interests of the body corporate. Even if a real artist manages to rise momentarily on the strength of phenominal work there’s no way for them to endure in this poisoned climate — just ask Kurt Cobain why he blew his brains out. But don’t worry about old UBU — I’ll just keep pissing into the wind in tetchy obscurity until they have to wheel me out.