GEEK Force Communiques

Volume 1.1 October 7, 1998
Published by the Global Effort to Eradicate Know-nothings (GEEK Force) Portland, OR

Table of Contents

(1) Censure and Move On Campaign Hits 175,000 Signatures
(2) Jon Katz Speaks free! Once More
(3) The REVOLUTION Targets a Victory Over Horseshit
(4) Post-Political Portals?

(1) Censure and Move On Campaign Hits 175,000 Signatures

The Censure and Move On campaign has gathered over 175,000 signatures in the two weeks since its launch. The campaign, according to its website is:

... a bipartisan group of concerned citizens organizing around a single issue: speedy resolution of the Lewinsky sex scandal. The vast majority of the American public understands that a continuing obsession with this scandal will do great damage to our institutions, our economy, and our power and prestige in the world. We expect our representatives to understand this as well, and show true leadership. Now that the independent prosecutor's report is in, the issue is in the political domain. A compromise resolution of CENSURE is clearly the only path to speedy closure.

While a committee in the House of Representatives has voted to proceed with hearings intended to consider the possibility of a full-blown impeachment trial against President Clinton, the Censure and Move On effort is continuing to gather signatures to a petition which will be presented to members of Congress in an attempt to demonstrate widespread post-political support for ending the spectacle of distraction and forging ahead with all of the real issues confronting the nation.

Censure and Move On is a "flash campaign", conducted almost entirely via the Internet to generate word of mouth and media coverage. As such, it is almost entirely dependent upon interest and active individuals. To sign the petition, or to volunteer to assist in some other more substanital way, visit the campaign's website for more information.

(2) Jon Katz Speaks free! Once More

Jon Katz, the involuntary patron saint of GEEK Force, is once again publishing on the web. Thanks to an invitation from the Freedom Forum to become a First Amendment Scholar, new editions of Katz's columns on media and technology can be found several times a week at the Forum's website. Recent topics have included the firing of an editor at Salon magazine for voicing dissent aimed at Salon's publication of a story on Henry Hyde, the need for resurrecting a sense of journalistic ethics in the Information Age, and the media's demonization of technology.

In addition to keeping up with Katz's columns at the Freedom Forum website, links to each are being maintained at GEEK Force's own website , where links to all of Katz's previous columns for HotWired's Netizen and Synapse sections are being assembled as well.

(3) The REVOLUTION Targets a Victory Over Horseshit

The Internet now has a nascent political party. Sparked from a series of rants and raves by R.U. Sirius at , The REVOLUTION intends to one day declare "victory over horseshit". Included at the newly redesigned The REVOLUTION website are links to the party's 15-point platform (and smaller issue-specific platforms, including one on Internet policy which is in some sense reminscent of a similar platform passed around the net during the last round of Democratic and Republican party conventions), banners and other graphics for the obligatory hyperlinks to The REVOLUTION website, and information on how to become involved.

Many of the issues being addressed are serious, but The REVOLUTION's approach to them are certainly somewhat unique. If nothing else, it has been quite awhile since the United States had a decent or vibrant prankster political campaign, so on that level alone, The REVOLUTION might be worth a look -- at the very least, heading to the voting booths on Election Day to write in "R.U. Sirius" might actually be more entertaining than simply watching Peter Jennings on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise reading the results of exit polls.

(4) Post-Political Portals?

As Netscape, Excite, Infoseek, Yahoo! and others race headlong to capitalize upon the newest Next Big Thing (becoming "portals", the new media equivalent of the major broadcasting networks, we suppose), a mildly interesting question arises. As all the major players begin assembling their packages of strategic partnerships with or outright acquisitons of content producers in their efforts to become the "one-stop" bases of oprations for Internet users, an curious absence in their strategy becomes clear (or at least it should).

It's no particular secret that the driving force of the explosion of both Internet hype and reality has been a model wherein Internet users are seen as consumers first and citizens second (if, in fact, ever). All of the players in the portal wars appear to be contextualizing their efforts in a way that supports a fairly narrow range of human activity -- mainly entertainment and shopping, with a little news thrown in to make it all seem well-rounded.

What's missing is something that could, in theory, revolutionize the portal concept into something much grander than what it is: at most, a pretty obvious grab for the attention of Internet users in order to lead them to your advertising.

And they call this NEW media?

Picture the following hypothetical post-political portal: You're an avid camper and hiker, with a profound sense of connection to the environments in which you engage in these activities. Since your traditional camping season is fast approaching, you decide to do a little online shopping for a new tent. While searching and browsing for good deals, you notice that the portal's navigation bar includes a section for news stories that are somehow related to the general subject matter of your shopping expedition -- one of which appears to be about a bill before Congress that would enact policies detrimental to the coastal mountain ranges you frequent so much during the summer.

Taking a break from looking for that new tent, you click over to the news section and do a little reading. Outraged at the implications of this proposed law, you tell yourself that you should write to your Congressman and tell them how you feel about the issue. Moving back to the portal's navigation frame, you click a button labelled "Redress Your Grievances!" -- and you are whisked away to a page that, thanks to the customizations you've made via the My Portal! settings, is ready and waiting for you will fill out a webform, press send, and fax along a letter to your political respresentative.

This will all, of course, never happen. The time you spent being an active and concerned citizen is time in which you should have been spending money, or at least noticing the portal's advertising banners.

But such an integration of those aspects of our lives that fall outside the arena of commerce would certainly make portals seem more attractive as "one-stop" online starting places when users sit down and log in.

Portals are not, on the whole, an especially attractive concept to begin with. Maybe it's best that they do NOT integrate these other aspects, and simply become the latest Next Big Thing to vanish into the obscurities if attempted Internet business models.

Then again, maybe we here at GEEK Force are just infatuated with the idea of having a "Redress Your Grievances!" button.

Subscription Information

GEEK Force Communiques is a free occassional publication of the Global Effort to Eradicate Know-nothings. To subscribe, send email to with no Subject header and a body containing the words "subscribe communiques" (without the quotes), and then respond to the confirmation message as instructed.

To unsubscribe, send email to with no Subject header and a body containing the words "unsubscribe communiques" (without the quotes).

Copyright and Distribution Information

Copyright (c) 1998 GEEK Force. May be redistributed for non-commercial purposes, but must be kept whole and intact.

About GEEK Force

The Global Effort to Eradicate Know-nothings is a virtual interest group based in Portland, OR. It was established in 1998 to fight for freedom, a civil environment, the equitable distribution of technology, and to combat distortions about our culture.

For more information:

	* email
	* see
	* write to GEEK Force
	           3710 SE 39th Avenue
                   Portland OR 97202
	* call +1 503 235-9945