November 16, 2003

New York Times

Good grief. I'm in Monday's New York Times. It's about the Tony Perkins humor piece I did here in this blog back on Nov 6th.

They even included a photo of Perkins. And he doesn't look very happy. I wonder if this will be in the print edition.

Meanwhile, I noticed that Marc Canter had some comments on the Perkins piece.

UPDATE - 7am, 18 Nov 2003:
A mini comment on one paragraph of the NYT story. Here's the paragraph:

Something about the proposition struck Brian Dear, a software entrepreneur and writer, as being a lot like Tom Sawyer's inviting the other boys to paint the fence. Mr. Dear found the posting especially galling, he said, because he has been grinding away for years on a history of the user community that grew up around Plato, an early computer network. "It just kind of rubbed me the wrong way," he said of the Perkins proposal, "and I thought, 'You know, I should denounce this.' "

Just in case anyone's wondering: in the telephone interview of Nov 13th, I explained to John Schwartz that I run a satire website called Denounce Newswire and that when I initially got Tony Perkins' email to the AlwaysOn Network members I first thought that I ought to "denounce" it, meaning, post a parody on the Denounce website. But then I thought that a line-by-line commentary would be a better method of examining Tony's letter, and such a style didn't fit the Denounce format (everything is done in press release style there) so I'd put it on Brianstorms.

Unfortunately, that explanation didn't make the NYT article, so now it sounds awfully funny: "You know, I should denounce this." I'm suddenly reminded of the Suntory commercial shooting scene in Lost in Translation... but unfortunately readers are probably not thinking, "are you sure that's all he said?"

Also, I did indeed mention my PLATO project in the interview --- I've been researching the history and significance of the PLATO system for years (grinding away!) with the goal of coming out with the first book ever on the subject. The idea that a good book covering the whole history of Google could be whipped up in weeks or months seemed absurd, and that notion ran counter to my own experience. If Tony pulls it off, fantastic. But I'm doubtful.

One other thing: I explained to Mr. Schwartz that in a way I'm doing something similar to Tony's email with my website: soliciting help, ideas, information, oral history from anyone and everyone. And it has worked. I can attest to the power of using a website and Google to cast a wide net to find lots of people to use as sources for the book. The difference is, I've found it takes a long time, and a lot of work to track down, interview, and transcribe. Maybe it doesn't if you have a whole army actually working on the project? We'll see, I guess.

Posted by brian at November 16, 2003 09:48 PM

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