"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 9 January 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Roostermoose Lays An Egg



If we've read Esther Dyson

correctly, we should expect the

Web to evolve into the online

equivalent of Amsterdam's Red

Light District, where anything's

available, and the first taste's

always free. We sure hope so -

these days the patina always

seems tastier than the full



[High Self-Esteem Logo]

Problems develop for Esther and

the Sucksters when one considers

the question of religion where,

generally speaking, the taste is

precisely the payoff. Of course,

even the Zoroastrians have their

sacred teachings available on

the Web, if only as a .txt puke -

now, we get excited by the prospect

of modern cults taking advantage

of the Web in its future

permutations to really "reach

out and touch someone." Planet

Millennium's High Self-Esteem

Program may seem less of a

nascent creed than an awkward

theological marriage of J.R.R.

Tolkein and Where's Waldo, but

its very ineptitude may provide

us the objectivity necessary to

thoroughly explore this terrain.



Please don't misunderstand - we

think high self-esteem is a

standup virtue, and we fully

intend to investigate securing

some in the near future. But

perhaps the dreamer in us is

dead - even the aggregate power

of Morph Man and his loyal band

of Utopians can't shake the

feeling of abject silliness we

encountered as we searched one

or two of the Eight Great

Treasures of Millennium. Even

after realizing that the

LSD-addled imagery was intended

either for curious children or

for chemically-imbalanced

surfers, the idea of

observational multimedia

goose-chases could not only be a

great tactic for mesmerizing

vagrant surfers of all flavors,

it could even be one of the

guiding parables of the net.


[Land of the Eight Great Treasures]

Millennium's eight-fold path is in

strict keeping with both Eastern

and Western ideals - consider

both Buddhism and Eight is Enough

as inspirational texts. And the

positioning of such questionable

spiritual bounty as the Jewel of

Truth in the Ocean of Emotion

seems like no accident -

according to the supplementary

lit, "our modern, high tech,

on-the-go lifestyles demand

simple, comprehensible product

... product that we, the

consumer, can easily digest.

People want to be entertained,

not burdened with self-analysis

tests, writing assignments, and

hours upon hours of reading."

Ain't that the truth, though? Give

us a punchline or give us death.



The 404 stop sign of the link to



befuddled for hours, wondering

whether it was a glitch or a

heavenly sign, and hoping for

our sanity's sake that the two

could be legitimately separated.

Then we manually fixed the

fucked-up link and chanced upon

the motherlode of

self-esteem.com exposition - the

bios of the key players in

Millennium's panoply of

demi-gods. Even without reading

the startlingly accurate

descriptions, we recognized

ourselves, from name alone, as

being either descendents of Jinx

or Monkeyhead - you make the



[Reality Mirror]

Predictably, theory tends to

swerve drunkenly into the path

of careening reality - and the

pitch for music, comic book and

poster set will, in most

instances, neatly precede

enlightenment. But, as we said,

the pusher's promise tends to

house everything a would-be

cultural spelunker would need.

With the High Self-Esteem

Program, we see a bet hedged on

a vast invisible class of Advanced

D&D graduates who've only divorced

themselves from the wisdom of

Gepepi the Mischievous Gnome in

practice - not in spirit. And

it's true that Rock Odyssey

concept albums tend to make the

rounds with the annoying

resiliency of headlice.



To get back to Dyson, we propose

that budding gurus heed the

lesson of the much-coveted

ancillary market well - the real

money's in converts, not

curiosity-seekers. Give it all

away, we say, and exchange the

$15 quick-sell for the long-term

clout of an army of devotees.

Think big - stretch your

epistemology to the breaking

point: broaden the scope to

include the presence of

corporate sponsors, even. Fall

hard - but leave a legacy, even

a minor one, of

mantra-sputtering 'heads and not

an army of unwary spenders.

And if all else fails, sell to

Scientology. They've been hawking

piety-injected sci-fi for decades

now. They'd be glad to eat you

for lunch on your tab if you'd

give 'em half the chance...

courtesy of the Duke of URL