VOLUME 2, NUMBER 31
<> MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2001
Cubicle walls closing in?
Do you suffer from feelings of helplessness and nausea while
working? Have you ever seriously considered a workplace atrocity?
Now there’s hope.
World is back. The magazine that
provided an irreverently relevant look at the early years of the
Information Age has returned to the newsstands (at Modern Times,
City Lights, and Unbound Books) with a 20th anniversary
If you remember the old publication, you’ll
recognize many of the names on the new pages. If you don’t, you’ll
recognize many of the situations they describe.
Here are a few extracted samples, just a taste:
|“Dot-coms’ demise could alleviate rent
problems” read a recent Examiner headline, more
promise than reality. In the Mission District, north of the
outdoor narcotics zone along 16th Street, dozens
of households received rent increases of 10 to 60 percent in
|The problem is not a lack of sites in the
city for new housing. A city Planning Department report
notes that there are under-utilized parcels with space for
60,000 dwelling units under current zoning.
|Getting to the root of the problem means
attacking the ownership structure of real estate. Some local
activists are proposing community land trusts as a new model
for affordable housing.
— Tom Wetzel, San Francisco’s
|I got into a conversation with a 22 year
old, who had just moved out here from St. Louis. He reminded
me a lot of me when I first arrived. I was 22, from the
Midwest: gentle, soft-spoken, full of hope and curiosity.
The biggest difference was that he came with $4,000 saved
up, Internet job contacts arranged ahead of time; yet he had
been couch-surfing for months in San Mateo, chasing after
that elusive place in the city. I couldn’t help thinking
how different it was for me when I came here in 1981, fresh
off a Greyhound with $300 in my pocket.
— Zoe Noe, I live in the Past: The
Rent is Cheaper!
|The framers of the US Constitution
envisioned intellectual property law as guaranteeing a set
of temporary monopoly rights to individuals — “authors
and inventors” — to encourage the production of new
works. Economic changes have created the current situation
in which creators have not had the resources or means to
disseminate their creations. Today most creators have little
choice but to sell their copyright to corporations who then
disseminate these works. For the most part, copyrights are
not held by individuals, but by corporate entities.
— Howard Besser, Intellectual
Property: The Attack on Public Access to Culture
|Altering billboards is an activity
requiring total engagement of the senses. You are doing
something NOW. It’s dangerous, exhilarating, a little
stupid and entirely alive. It’s a PRANK, it’s a joke;
you can thumb your nose at the wonderful institutions that
control us. You are completely alive when you’re at it.
However, as a political revolutionary concept (in the sense
of making the world a more fair or livable place for the
most people) altering ad messages is not important in the
— Jack Napier, The Billboard
|I called Kerry Lauerman, then an editor at Mother
Jones. Lauerman told me they had been kicking around the
idea of doing the anti-free-agent-nation story, about the
people for whom being way-new-kewl-entrepreneurial just hadn’t
worked out. I told him he had to let me pursue this.
|So I went to work, tracking down developers
from game companies gone broke, founders of companies that
died. I was on the case daily and I was getting nowhere: no
one wanted to talk to me.
— Paulina Borsook, The Disappeared
of Silicon Valley (or why I couldn’t get that story)
|Are you working, as the computer
ads, say, “smarter and faster”? Is faster smarter? Is
working longer hours better? Your answers, disavowed by
economists and government statisticians, provide clues to a
striking paradox at the start of the 21st
|Computerization has introduced a fugitive
economics — a status quo that is officially characterized
as prosperous and productive but that is ultimately neither.
|We are in need of a new economics that
speaks to our social history. We might begin by insisting on
a reckoning of our unrecorded overtime and a recalculation
of the work time and productivity figures. The revised
figures would make it more difficult to justify
computerization in its current, anti-automation
manifestation. They might also prompt demands to renounce
the salaried worker’s exemption from mandatory overtime
— R. Dennis Hayes, Farce or Figleaf?
The Promise of Leisure in the Computer Age