Former Mondo 2000 heavyweight and current 10 Zen Monkeys big wig R.U. Sirius has penned a fascinating review of Fred Turner's From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Sirius, who interviewed me a while back for NeoFiles and whose latest book, Counterculture Through the Ages, I reviewed for the Wash Post, pulls together threads that are usually woven in different directions (does that metaphor make sense?) and argues that politics is less important in fomenting social change than many people think. Here's a snippet:
I think that the internet has — palpably — been much more successful in changing lives than 40 years of left oppositional activism has been. For one example out of thousands, the only reason the means of communication that shapes our cultural and political zeitgeist isn't COMPLETELY locked down by powerful media corporations is the work that these politically ambiguous freaks have accomplished over the past 40 years. In other words, oppositional activism would be even more occult — more hidden from view – today if not for networks built by hippie types who were not averse to working with DARPA and with big corporations. The world is a complex place.
Whole thing, well worth reading, here.