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Re: CPunks in the news: St. Jude

At 5:12 PM 12/1/95, Jim Gillogly wrote:
>Today's (1 Dec 95) LA Times has a writeup on female "hackers", and gives
>several sympathetic column-inches to St. Jude Milhon, a charter Cypherpunk.
>Evidently she has a new book coming out (Girls with Modems?).

I saw a book yesterday along the lines of "Girl Hackers" (or should it be
the Cybernetically Correct "Grrl Hackers"?) I forget the exact title and
author, but it's written in the typically breezy, cut-and-paste style
pioneered by Stewart Brand and Ted Nelson and now apparently the only
acceptable form for anthing connected to the Net.

Interviews with Jude Milhon and Romana Machado (aka "Cypherrella"). (For
more on Romana and her Cypherella personna, see

I didn't buy it, though I did buy the "Cyberpunk's Handbook" a few months
ago. It was co-authored by Jude, with Eric Hughes as the cover model.
Others have reviewed it here recently.

And Jude has another book coming out, something like "How to Mutate and
Take Over the World."

Personally, I find it distasteful--just my opinion, with no aspersions cast
on Jude, Romana, Eric, Robert, etc.--that so much blatant self-promotion is
becoming the norm. (Yes, I know I agreed to be one of the "cover models"
for the issue of "Wired" on "Crypto Rebels," but this was almost 3 years
ago and I think now I wouldn't agree to it--in fact, I've turned down a
dozen requests for interviews recently, feeling the planned interviews were
fluffery and not substantive.)

It seems that the media loves to see the extreme side of people, and
encourages really strange antics and bizare self-labelling. The glut of
Internet magazines ("Wired," "Net Guide," "Infobahn," etc.) and the even
greater glut of pop culture mags with Internet connections ("Raygun,"
"Detail," and a dozen others, mostly with Traci Lords or Sandra Bullock on
their covers) means there must be some appetite for these personality
pieces. And the more outrageous a personna, the more coverage.

(Recall that one Cypherpunk list reader saw the British t.v. show that
covered Cypherpunks and mentioned "a porn star named Cypherella who writhed
on the floor while describing PGP"...I didn't see this show, but I presumed
he was seeing Romana in her "crypto bondage and discipline" outfit. I count
Romana as a friend, though I haven't seen her in a long time, but I
_personally_ am slightly embarassed at this sort of thing...again, no
aspersions cast against her choices in life.)

(I expect this will find its way to Romana--Hi, Romana!--courtesy of her
friends and/or of search engines like Deja News, and I suppose I really
should take this out so as to avoid any hard feelings. But, I guess I
won't. Jude, Romana, Lisa Palac, and all the other "cybergrrls" are just
players in the media fascination with such things. To each their own. I
don't have to buy the books or magazines which extol them, so all is well.)

The "cult of personality" is alive and well in cyberia.

--Tim May, expecting some angry e-mail over the next few weeks

Views here are not the views of my Internet Service Provider or Government.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."