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Barefoot into Cyberspace: Chapter 3 - "Information wants to be free"

Barefoot into Cyberspace: Chapter 3 - "Information wants to be free"

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Published by Becky Hogge
This is the third chapter of my book "Barefoot into Cyberspace", uploaded primarily to accompany a lightning talk I'm giving at Book Hack Day on 14 May 2011, but also to give interested folk a taste of what to expect from my forthcoming book.
This is the third chapter of my book "Barefoot into Cyberspace", uploaded primarily to accompany a lightning talk I'm giving at Book Hack Day on 14 May 2011, but also to give interested folk a taste of what to expect from my forthcoming book.

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Published by: Becky Hogge on May 13, 2011
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08/11/2013

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Becky Hogge07967 331184becky.hogge@gmail.com 
BAREFOOT INTO CYBERSPACE
 
Chapter 3:
Information wants to be free
 by Becky HoggeMay 2010
 
 Chapter 3: Information wants to be free
“What’s wrong with the corporate world? I don’t get what’s wrong with
co
nsumerism and I don’t get what’s wrong with corporations per se.”
Stewart Brand is sitting across from me in the small private living room of 
a central London hotel. At 72, he’s looking remarkably well, although the trip
over here from his hometown of Sausilito, California
where he lives on atugboat with his wife
 
has taken its toll on his voice. We’ve already had to
reschedule this interview once
the publicist for his current book was worriedhe might overdo it, and 
 was certainly gravely.Liver spots pepper an expansive forehead revealed by several decades of hairloss. But his eyes are bright, and his old world courtesy combines well with his
check shirt, leather waistcoat and slacks. I’m feeling very comforta
ble sittingacross from him on a cosy sofa, as a particularly violent bout of January weatherrages in the city outside.
 
Brand is a 1960s original. When Tom Wolfe first came across him as one
of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, madly driving a souped
-up pickup through thestreets of San Francisco, he recorded the encounter thus:
“Stewart Brand, a thin blonde guy with a blazing disk on his forehead too, and a
whole necktie made of Indian beads. No shirt, however, just an Indian bead necktieon bare skin and a
white butcher’s coat with medals from the King of Sweden onit.”
 
Brand comes from a world I dreamed about in my teens, one I searchedfor through celluloid and print. A world where Steppenwolf  
growl “You know I
smoked a lot of grass. Oh Lord! I popped a lot of pills. But I've never touched
nothin' That my spirit couldn't kill”, just as two men release the kickstands from
under their motorcycles, throw their watches into the Nevada dust and set off across America to New Orleans in my favourite film, 
.But Brand isn’t just any old hippy, he’s also the missing link between the lost world of sixties
counterculture and the radical values of the 21
st 
century hacker.
It’s a complex legacy. There’s no doubt that today’s rampant consumer
culture took its cue from the radical individualism promoted by the navel-gazing
hippy liberals of sixties West Coast America. What’s less know but equally certain
is that these very same hippies bequeathed my generation
or at least the folk who know enough to make it to the Chaos Congress each year
with the toolsthey would one day employ in an attempt to reboot that culture.When I was nineteen, Ken Kesey came to my home town, Brighton, alongwith a reproduction of Furthur, the psychedelic school bus he and the MerryPranksters first drove around the US in the late sixties on one long trip funded by

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