This interview I conducted with Andy Hawks under the nom de net Jagwire X appeared in the first issue of Scream Baby, a collective online zine published by David Smith (Blade X). This version has been formatted to fit this blog and links have been added because they were not generally available at the time of publication – the world wide web was brand spanking new.
What follows is an online chat interview with Andy Hawks (Hawkeye). If you haven’t figured it out by now, he is responsible for the Future_Culture Mailing list on USEnet and the Future_Culture FAQ that goes along with it.
When Blade first asked me to do this interview I was a bit wary as I didn’t get a positive impression from some of Andy’s posts on USEnet. I decided to do it anyway and try to find out more about what Andy thinks of the ‘New Edge’.
I had a great time chatting with Andy and hopefully the interview will reflect his thoughts on the ‘New Edge’.
These bits of info were snagged off of the User Registry on my own board, the CyberSpace Institute.
Information on Hawkeye:
What other aliases do you have? none
What is your gender? Male
About how old are you? 18
What’s your sign? Virgo
What kinds of music do you like best? Techno/Industrial
What’s your favorite color? Blue
If you were a tree, what kind would you be? Dying slowly, tormented by the solemn silence in knowing my existence.
What do you do for a living? hang around
Describe physical appearance: 5′ 10″ brown hair thin luke-perry-esque-sideburns blue-eyes
Describe your mental attitude: individualistic existential free-thinking post-modernistic
What BBS‘s do you call? my own (TKB: 303.438.1481) MindVox, Pentavia, hang on the INTERnet
What are your interests? writing, philosophizing, poetry, technoculture/new-edge, cyberpunk
Chat Mode begin
JAGWIRE X > You there? got time for a chat?
ANDY HAWKS > Umm, yeah, I guess….Sure- if you wanna do the interview thing now, that’d be cool….I didn’t have to work tonight so I didn’t crash out early and have time to mess around…
Jagwire X > Cool..man you type fast. Lessee… I didn’t figure on you calling so as usual I am unprepared to do an interview but as usual I guess I can wing it. I’m terrible about these things.
Andy Hawks > Hehehe, that’s cool….If you want, you could just go ahead and e-mail me like you planned, if it’s easier on you….If you e-mail me, I might be able to give some thoughtful responses rather than whatever-comes-to-mind BS that I might give you now….
Jagwire X > Hmm… I guess I’ll do that. Seems strange to do an interview via E-mail Whatever. I enjoyed your Future-Culture thang quite a bit. Why did you decide to do that?
Andy Hawks > Hehehehe…is this the interview?? :)….Well, I decided just got bored and frustrated with the mass media…It seemed to be just barely keeping with the times, let alone have any sense of direction towards the future….The only publications really worth reading these days seems to be things like Mondo, Intertek, umm, SF Eye, and a bunch of other underground ‘zines…Other than that it’s mostly bullshit, so what I wanted to do was to combine what I saw as the “technoculture edge” into one resource-guide, where people could find out what resources carry the sort of information they might be interested in…It caters to that new-edge / cyberpunk / technoculture crowd, ….(whatever-comes-to-mind BS example #1 🙂
Jagwire X > Great! I know Blade X is gonna have a cow when he sees the end result of this thing, but that’s what he get for asking me to do an interview. So I guess I should ask you what you do and who are in meat reality.
Andy Hawks > “Meat reality“…that’s interesting…Don’t know if there is such a thing….Well, (wait- hold on -the lights in my room just got real dim and I can’t see)…Ok…Sorry bout that…Can’t type in the dark…I’m 18 years old, a high school student (senior for the second time in a row)…Umm, I consider myself a poet (written about 300 poems and trying to get some of them published however I can)….I like to consider myself an existentialist…Like, whenever I’m talking to someone, I may be talking to them on some level like “dude, let’s go hang out tonight”, but in my mind I’m always thinking about the nature of reality and shit like that…Right now I’m into going to raves – techno music, ecstasy, and the whole scene….And, I’m always into the latest technology, and futuristic (or actually near-futuristic) literature and shit like cyberpunk….
Jagwire X > I see that we are actually very similar in a lot of ways. Do you think that the luke-perryesque side sideburns are a fashion trend? Curious because I too have them.
Andy Hawks > Hehehe…I dunno…I don’t watch the show anymore, although I do sometimes when I have nuthin else to do…I heard on MTV or something that he’s shaving them off….I dunno personally got tired of that no sideburns look that seemed to be around for a few years, so I just started keepin’ ’em when I heard about 90210 and all that junk….I thought ‘cool’, I can grow ’em back now…:) 🙂
Jagwire X > I’ve noticed that when I am on INTERnet and looking through the sub echos I like that there seems to be a whole lot of ‘arguing’ and very little creative discussion. In fact it disturbs me. I think of INTERnet as a place in which ideas can be tossed about and expanded upon but I find that there is a lot of belittlement going on (people saying I’m right and you wrong etc.) Do you think this is true or am I missing something?
Andy Hawks > No, you’re right on target…This has bothered me since day one of being on the net…It’s like, everything you post to a newsgroup, someone feels compelled to post the opposite just for the sake of keeping with the political structure on the INTERnet (USEnet, actually)…I remember Bruce Sterling once said in an interview that his main problem with USEnet is the people are so damn uptight…I couldn’t agree more, and it’s sad to see since the majority of sites are universities which are supposed to be places where free-thinking abounds, but it sure as hell doesn’t on USEnet…Everybody conforms or non-conforms in keeping with the “unwritten laws of USEnet”…I often find myself falling into the same trap, just because it’s the only way you can communicate with these USEnet addicts who’ve been on the net for a decade and it’s like the discussion has to be their way or no way…It bothers me a lot, too…That’s what’s great about BBSes – for the most part, the “real” BBSes seem to be immune to that conformity and bitching and shit…
Jagwire X > Yeop. That sums it up pretty much. I have only posted a few messages to USEnet and one of the replies I got back was from you. (Hey double speak)… And it was (I thought) rather confrontational. At first I was really pissed but then I thought… because I really liked and respected your FutureCulture Article(?) FAQ(?) whatever it is, anyway I was kinda put off by you. I decided though that that was probably not the attitude I wanted to but into and just let it pass. I think that the same problem that plagues USEnet also is inherent in the “New Edge” movement (whatever that is). I feel it lacks direction. I myself try to give direction to it, not control, but expand upon things and not to criticize. Have you had a similar experience?
Andy Hawks > Well, with my mailing list on the net, yeah, I’ve had a lot of similar experiences. I get mail all the time saying what a dick I am for how I interpret things, and, when I post a message about, like, “cyberpunk culture” or something, people treat it as if it’s law…And that’s certainly not my intent, I mean, I really in the end know just about as much as everyone else, so, it’s like, who really knows what is true and what isn’t, so who really has the right to control where a movement is going, for example….I know I’ve been accused so often of trying to control some section of “new edge” or “technoculture” or “cyberpunk” (I throw the terms around a lot in the hopes that people will realize just how futile such terms really are in the end) and, it’s like, “well, I’m sorry that you see that I’m trying to control the direction of this, but please understand that my opinions are no more or no less valid than yours”… Everybody’s got opinions on where this thing (”new edge”) is going, and the scary thing is that everybody’s got an opinion but nobody seems to be really taking any action on it…I think once the technology that the new edgers are into (VR, fiber optiks, etc.) becomes more practical, then this will all make more sense, but as it stands right now new edge is so new, and so directionless, that it really is difficult to make any sense of it…BTW – sorry for pissing you off – I know that I piss a lot of people off, but, like I said before “it’s just my opinion, everyone’s got one, and in my mind no one person’s is more or less important than anyone else’s- they’re all equally “….You should see the responses I get from alt.suicide.holiday -I try and defend suicide as, like, a personal choice, and people get really, really pissed and send me mail, and I just say ‘hey, that’s just my opinion, don’t write it down as law”….
Jagwire X > Whew. Lets see. Grade-A curmudgeon “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink.” I see the New Edge as having a thousand directions and all of them moving at the speed of light. There’s so much information out there and it is impossible to keep up. I rely on my ‘network’ to keep me informed much the same as a nest of ants works together and communicates. Perhaps I have a bit too much of a Learian aspect to my view of New Edge but it seems perfectly valid to me. Needs more quantum physics (like salt). Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle runs rampant in the movement. You can either tell how fast you are moving or where you are but the more you know one the less you know the other.
Andy Hawks > Hmm….That’s pretty cool….And I liked your analogy about the ants…That was really good-that’s the one thing that networks are full of is information- whether it be a master’s thesis or mindless dribble, there’s tons of information on the networks and BBSes…Seems everyone is that has a modem is an info-holic of sorts….By ‘Learian’ you mean Timothy Leary, right?
Jagwire X > Yeah, he and Robert A. Wilson pretty much turned my life upside down at the age of 14. In case you are wondering I’m 25 as of Thursday [Aug 6]. Interestingly I was born on the anniversary of Hiroshima.
Andy Hawks > Woah…I wonder what that means….Hmm…I was born on the anniversary of the pardoning of Nixon….Anyway, happy birthday!!!…..Can’t really sing to you, but, anyway, happy birthday….I haven’t read much of Wilson (not much at all, actually- every time I’m in a bookstore a look through the Illuminatus Trilogy or that new book he has ..something ‘reality something)….But, I’m a big fan of Leary as well….I think it’s great that he’s involved in the new edge shit…People may not like him or his beliefs, or the way he comes across, but at least he’s a unique individual not afraid to voice his opinions…He always uses the word ‘cybernaut‘, and always talks about cyberpunks are basically ‘reality pilots’, which I really think is true, and I place a lot of faith in that…Some people may think ‘reality pilot’ is just his new ‘tune in turn on…’ keyphrase, but I think it is an important phrase that’ll have a lot of meaning in whatever the new edge becomes….
Jagwire X > I couldn’t agree more. I fact that’s what the whole posting thing was about that I got pissed off with. More the other guy than you, I must say. Just goes to show how people manage to misunderstand each other. I feel that the majority of the people involved in the New Edge don’t understand that we are creating the future now. And that we must be aware of what we are doing. It is as if they don’t follow through with the cybernetic definition of intelligence (Receive, Integrate, Broadcast (I know that’s kinda loose))
Andy Hawks > Yeah, the Integrate part certainly seems to be lacking in the movement…I agree with you completely about “we must be aware of what we’re doing” – one prime example of this is Queen Mu from Mondo, who, basically, just seems to be one of those people who to me who just jumps on the latest bandwagon, prances around all over the culture like the US on some poor third-world nation, and then gets off (almost literally) the boat whenever she wants to….Her articles in Mondo (which in general doesn’t seem to have much concern over the impact it has) are usually about teledildonics, or virtual-sex, and shit like that, and it’s like, c’mon, whatever we’re doing here is a whole lot more than that, please don’t reduce it to virtual-sex!….I really get frustrated with that….One opposite example, in my mind, is Storming the Reality Studio…Larry McCaffery’s excellent ‘casebook’ of cyberpunk and postmodern fiction-he brings up all these wonderful postmodern essays and equates them with cyberpunk literary and cultural a criticism, and puts it together in a very intelligent manner that attempts to make some sense of what cyberpunk is really all about, at a very basic aesthetic and substantive level….Really cool…
Jagwire X > Nope. Is it a USEnet maillist?
Andy Hawks > Yeah, it’s a mailing list , in the way that mine is like..But, umm, the list is all about ‘metaprogramming’, which basically means ‘piloting your own reality’ (like Leary said)….they talk about Leary and Wilson a lot (as does the Extropians list, which is kinda similar I think)…But, anyway, the reason I mentioned it was because they talk about Leary, and also because they have these pretty cool ‘net trips’ every so often, where they get as many list-subscribers as they can to get dosed on acid and call the net while dosed, and they all send mail to each other and chat and shit while fried… It’s really pretty cool….
Jagwire X > Wow. sounds cool. I’ll definitely check it out. You know I’ve been trying to get onto your maillist and yesterday I realized I was sending my request to the wrong net address. Duh. Wait. I remember. I was told the the idea of getting a self supporting off coast New Edge commune was being tossed around a while back and then sort of died out. Now that’s an idea I really like. I would seriously like to get a high-tech self sufficient group out on the seas in like an oil tanker and where they canna do anything about it.
Andy Hawks > Haha, sounds real cool…Probably not too realistic, didn’t Leary try something similar down in Mexico? I ‘m not too up on Leary’s history, but I remember reading something about that in ummm, shit, Storming Heaven or something like that – a book about acid…good book…But, yeah, anyway, that ‘roving new edge commune’ sounds pretty cool…I’d definitely sign up for it as well! I’ve always wanted to get my own island, like, off the coast of Washington or Oregon, and, kinda like, secede from the US and just make my own little, like, Plato’s Academy with all my friends and shit, where there wouldn’t be any laws or anything unless there really needed to be…
Jagwire X > I am working on putting together a ‘zine called SunDog. I understand that you too are publishing a ‘zine. Tell me about that.
Andy Hawks > Well, it’s called The Infinite Edge. The first issue, which is all I’ve done, is basically just a restructuring of the Future_Culture FAQ file into a magazine format… Umm, my intent with the magazine is to offer something more to what little of “new edge” focused magazines are out there….My hope is to make something like Mondo, but a little broader in scope, and a little more readable and intelligent in nature.
Each issue is divided up into 11 categories:
Genesys — editorial/notes from me
Listen! — notes from the readers
Moderns — cultural observations and commentary
Republic — philosophical and political commentary
Visions — fiction and poetry
CyberPlace — life in cyberspace/what’s new in modem-land
Altered — drugs and virtual reality
Eyes — magazine and book reviews
Ears — music
Live on Tape — movies and video
Mobius — closing words
Right now, I’m working on the second issue…When I finish that one, and figure out how/where/who I can get to print this thing out in a magazine type format, I’m going to send people who’re interested both issues, so they can have an idea of what my intent is with the thing….Hopefully, with all the great attention that my FutureCulture mailing list has gotten (Bruce Sterling, Tom Maddox, Steve Brown of SF Eye, St Jude of Mondo, the Ono-Sendai people, to name a few, have been pretty interested) I can use the people on the list and the net in general as a platform to get this thing going….
Some articles I’m working on for the second issue include a commentary on the rave scene, cyberpunk culture – if it exists or not, a review of storming the reality studio, the possible futures of practical vr-tech, and hopefully I’ll be able to print an article of mine that is going to be appearing in issue #8 of Mondo, entitled “there’s a rave in cyberspace” which is all about the current state of the computer underground and new advancements like MindVox.
Andy Hawks > Well, I really enjoyed the conversation – don’t get to talk about stuff like this everyday, and I’ll be sure and call back sometime soon and check out the board!!!
Jagwire X > Cool. Thanks. I enjoyed it much myself. Take care and I’ll drop you e-mail soon. via con dios amigo.
Andy Hawks > later…!
Chat mode over.