Re: We've become infamous!

Adrian Tanner (atanner@MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA)
Mon, 15 Jul 1996 18:55:18 -0230

Lines written on the occaision of a visit to the Dan Foss WWW page. I always
suspected that, in addition to his (please excuse the third person, Dan)
always generous and scholarly anthropological insights on an apparently
infinite number of topics, in which he seems to employ a form of thought in
which the brain directly works his computer terminal fingers at the speed
and volume of his own stream of conciousness, in addition to this, I repeat,
Foss also seems, at least at some sometimes odd moments, to have, and play
out between the lines of his messages, a good part of his own worthy and
complex social (not to mention fantasy) life on the net. References to parts
of this social netter-world seems to randomly subtextualize, like his
wordplay, his otherwise highly abstract and muti-layered thinking. While
these days I never actual have the time to *read*, in the normal sense of
the term, any of his stuff, just as I theorize that he himself does not
actually *write* his messages in the ordinary sense of the word, (and, also
by the same token, along with stopping trying to read them long since, I
have even destroyed the old hard disk copies I periodically used to make of
some especially precious parts of his output, which I was laying by, to read
and savour "whenever I get the time" - for somewhat the same reasons I still
keep every copy of Paul Krassner's 'Realist' I ever owned, edges dark from a
1966 Montreal house fire, in my cupboard - only in that case I did read them
from cover to cover as they would arrive at my door by mail); so that the
only Foss messages I do read now are those close to, if not up, one of my
own familiar mental alleys (trouble is, such a decision is made at the
reading of the subject line, if not the first page, which overlooks his
ability to get from any one to any other particular mental alley, no matter
how remote it should be); still and all (as I started out this sentence to
say) I have developed a technique of ritually breathing them in, like
washing myself in the shaman's sweetgrass fumes, a technique which consists
in rythmically touching the "page down" thingie, gulping in screenfuls at a
time, going on to the next, only becoming occaisionally concious of random
words or phrases, my own kind of symbolic homage to the man.

Now, in addition to the anthro-l archive, which in my haste to delete I
could never forget was always there, holding many of the bits and pieces of
old Foss, in his message form, if even I actually wanted to open such a
pandora's box of "a new project" - to unearth the steadily accumulating Foss
time casual time capsual. But I cannot have been alone in always imagining
that someone else would sooner or later take him on as a project, a
fossdyking biographer of a virtual life. And now indeed we see the logical
outcome of this electronic existence: a Fossian Home Page! Is this the
promised web-wide world of hope and joy I see? - with old spider Foss in one
epicentre, and, wonder of wonders, by god, is it, despite all, a social
world; is that not actual dialogue there? and one-liner interchanges here?
are there not other people there, alongside Dan Foss? and not even just all
our old familiar anthro-l standbys. And what of those of us whom Dan has
favoured to engage in wordplay, most of them, as they previously appeared in
this group, drawn out of their shells but (to my eyes, at least) appearing
in the Fossian sideshow mirror darkly, distorted out of any reasonable
recognition, folks of past and present whom we love, and love to be
infuriated by (they are so much like our relatives, and like all the other
inhabitants of these kinds of social worlds, the ones, that is, made up of
those who are there in our lives, but not 'mates', as the Aussies have it,
not there simply of our own choosing).

Adrian Tanner

Adrian Tanner
Memorial University of Newfoundland