FY;) culture hacking (ripped from TBTF for 1/19/98: With a whimper)

Eugene Leitl (eugene@liposome.genebee.msu.su)
Tue, 20 Jan 1998 14:41:31 +0300 (MSK)

Apart from the raw entertainment value, this is an instance of deliberate
memetic engineering. Btw, TBTF is almost uniformly enjoyable for the
average weenie geek technophile.



TBTF for 1/19/98: With a whimper

T a s t y B i t s f r o m t h e T e c h n o l o g y F r o n t

Timely news of the bellwethers in computer and communications
technology that will affect electronic commerce -- since 1994

Your Host: Keith Dawson

This issue: < http://www.tbtf.com/archive/01-19-98.html >

[marathon snip]
..Culture hacking

These folks will pay you to mess with the mind of the consumer

The rTMark site [20] is the public face of a shadowy organization
that sponsors and pays for acts of culture hacking. Their aim is to
"encourage the intelligent sabotage of mass-produced items." (The
name is intended to suggest "circle-R TM ark," and is pronounced
"art mark.") This is the organization that solicited and then paid
money to a programmer at Maxis who added kissing boys action figures
to the game of SimCopter just before it shipped [21], [22]. The pro-
grammer, Jacques Servin, was fired for his trouble but has bounced
right back with the Whistlesmiths Web site [23], from which he offers
career councelling for those dismissed for acts of product sabo-
tage. In 1993 rTMark orchestrated the notorious Barbie Liberation
Organization's GI Joe / Barbie voicebox switcheroo [24]. Read the
rTMark manifesto here [25]. Wired covered the emergence of rTMark
from its veil of secracy last April [26].

Incidentally, the Web host fof the rTMark pages is paranoia.com in
Austin, Texas, whose owner, as Zero Micro Software, registered the
domain name micros0ft.com. After Redmond lawyers convinced the
InterNIC to suspend the name, he preserved the joke page at [27].

Another prolific and lifelong culture hacker is Joey Skaggs, self-
described "socio-political satirist, media activist, culture jammer,
hoaxer, and dedicated proponent of independent thinking and media
literacy" [28].

Finally, a tip of the Tasty Hat to the Boston Globe, which on 1/11
ran an article (not online) profiling two software evangalists. The
article describes a game they play called "reality hacking": They
invent a meaningless jargon term, brainstorm a plausible meaning for
it, then drop it into business conversations. The point is to get
the term into play. Sort of like Jargon Scout [29] does, but less

[20] http://www.paranoia.com/~rtmark/
[21] http://www.wired.com/news/topframe/775.html
[22] http://plato.divanet.com/mansco/qnn/1996/dec/QNN-96-12-08%20NYT%20(more%20on%20the%20computer%20game
[23] http://users.quake.net/jacq/whistle/
[24] http://www.virago-net.com/brillo/No1/blo.htm
[25] http://www.paranoia.com/~rtmark/document.html
[26] http://www.wired.com/news/culture/story/2997.html
[27] http://micros0ft.paranoia.com/
[28] http://www.joeyskaggs.com/html/topsec/index.html
[29] http://www.tbtf.com/jargon-scout.html