The original “weblog” was Jorn Barger’s robotwisdom.com. I used to read it every day, and went to about half the links. And that’s about all his blog was for a long while … he used to do small paragraphs, but then finally was posting 15-20 or more links a day with small comments next to them. It would range from cartoons to James Joyce, technology to poetry. It felt great because here was a guy who consumed the Internet the way I did, and found it a drug in the same way. So much at your fingertips, and all of it pouring in faster than you can comprehend. Just dipping fingers into the stream and tasting.
I didn’t realize Jorn ended up broke and panhandling. I hadn’t kept up with him, really, and just figured he’d moved on… but then I saw a post over in Sean’s blog to an article about him (this one:What happened to Jorn).
On his panhandler sign, Barger had written:
Coined the term ‘weblog,’ never made a dime.
Then I looked on Wikipedia and found this. And it says that Barger now says that most of what the post above said was “fiction.”
See his comment, posted just a few weeks ago, in the Wikipedia discussion page.
Whatever the situation, this is a guy who doesn’t fit in the cultural grid of “normal” — he’s brilliant, and probably just short of Unabomber (that is, super smart and looks at the world in weirdly accurate but nonconventional ways, but luckily hasn’t decided that the alien world around him needs to be bombed into oblivion).
The Wikipedia bit about him is pretty informative, and explains a lot of why his head is so widespread. He’s looking sideways through the cracks in our silos.
The thing is, I wonder how much synthesis he does? His weblog is a serial parade of nodes, but does anything combine and spawn from all that input? Based on what the Wikipedia page says, probably so (he’s published on various topics, and been known to write academic and critical stuff).
Luckily, RobotWisdom is back up, as of Feb 2005.