Date: Sat, 10 Sep 1994 17:26:47 -0800
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Gary Wolf
Subject: Renaissance 2.0: The Novel
or, Renaissance 2.0: The Novel
Last night, Justin was cranking the Indy _hard._ At one point Josh and I, impelled by an invisible current of energy coming out of the monitor (or was it coming from _Justin?_) pushed our chairs at the same time and made silent gaping gestures with our faces. "Don't even touch him, man," said Josh, only half-sarcastically. "He's out there."
We had scheduled a simple session of browsing the Web for graphics, Retina being a half-step behind the other Renaissance sections as the race toward launch accelerates. But I totally admit that by midnight we had lost our focus. No, I take it back, we didn't lose it. We consumed it. Or rather, we _sacrificed_ it on the speckled cerulean alter of the SGI.
With Justin at the mouse, we distributed our brains between the five or six Mosaic windows that were always open, clicking on new links while waiting for others to load and startled by an endless sequence of impossible juxtapositions. Justin urged us to follow a link labeled "torture" while an animated diver performed background somersaults and an anonymous Indonesian artist gave us a glimpse of demonic possession. The images went by so fast, and yet so disconnectedly, that time itself seemed to be jerking backwards, as if Mosaic were a sort of temporal strobe-light creating the illusion that the evening was flashing before our eyes in reverse.
"This way beyond MTV," Josh said. "It's a whole new level."
After midnight, things grew fuzzy. I remember that Michael Gold left at one point while Julie, Justin, and I were howling with hysterical laughter over an anti-corporate rant of unparalleled Pantagruelian violence. (It is linked to Justin's page if you want to check it out. Look for "How to Fuck with McDonalds.") For a while, we were gathered around the Indy to hear a two minute recording of Will Rogers, crackling out of the speakers as if from a depression-era wireless. And as I left, the voice of Richard Nixon delivering his maudlin farewell speech ("When I remember... the high hopes... blahblahblah...) was making giddy alcoholic echoes in the room. I walked down the stairs to my car, smiling (strangely, I'm sure) to the window washer who was wiping down the front door in the darkness. What year was this? What planet?
Go to My Guru, Justin Hall