Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Xen Warriors

So, I have just recovered from a fever that caught me in the morning and was with me all through the night. At one point the temperature in my body reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 38.3 degrees Celsius, for those of you that measure it that way, which there aren't.

We have grave news of the passing of Caspar Weinberger who was an old school, patrician, cultivated, politician, and was, um, indicted for some stuff a long time ago. Which goes to show, Mr. Taibbi, that it's not just low-class student conservatives that break laws with willful abandon - the grown-ups do it too.

Why do I mention Mr. Weinberger right now, apart from to offer mild criticism of my favourite Rolling Stone author? Well, the man's name used to crop up a lot on the news when I was a child, and there was something very luxurious about the name, at least there was in 1980s South London. I may have been the wrong side of pubescence, but I knew a Super-Bad Missile-Sellin' Hawk-Master when I heard one.

Anyhoo, what I really wanted to talk about was Xenisucks. It wasn't until I got down to linking to this that I realised how much I'd need to explain. Xeni Jardin is a contributor to Boingboing, one of the hugest blogs around, a repository of some hugely weird stuff, and occasional source of a mass email to my colleagues.

It's also a soapbox for the various obsessions of its authors, who use it to publicise their books, work and media appearances. Which is fine by me, it's their blog, and it's a good mix of nerdery and more varied stuff from all corners of the globe. But it can be a bit insidery, and it is this which appears to have motivated Matthew Neal Sharp to set up Xenisucks, a treasure trove of ad hominem attacks on poor Xeni.

Xeni links to it, adding that "this is a total hoot", and then sort of allowed in a reader comment that put all of the author's personal details online. He didn't seem too bothered by it, even mentioned it on his own blog. But the next post up sounded a little darker:

I can only assume you mention my employer in hopes that someone "higher up" than me will .... get me in trouble or something. Who knows. Who cares? Thanks for the free publicity! My stock value just bumped up a bit more.

What with allusions to hackers being sicced on his servers, the whole thing got rather sordid. And while the man might strike us as a wee bit paranoid, there certainly might be some fans of hers that were even more vindictive. Throughout all this, though, Xeni smiled beatifically on, like Lula's mother from Wild At Heart. Aaaaaargh!

The Switch - "Kiss Or Kill"
Buy "The Rattlesnakes Versus The Switch" here. Or not. The site seems to me to be mostly sleeping, and in the interim some kids from Long Beach stole the name. Hard one to google, you gotta say

Oh, and finally, some late-breaking diplomacy here:

London Mayor Ken Livingstone, upset that the U.S. Embassy is not paying a quarter of a million dollars in traffic congestion charges,has called Ambassador Robert Holmes Tuttle a "chiseling little crook."

Now that's a lede.


At 7:12 PM, Anonymous mns said...

I think it's important to note just how much her "friend" got wrong in the first two iterations of my "personal details". It wasn't until I corrected her that she finally got my name right, and my location right. According to a mutual friend who will remain semi-anonymous, her "friend" was her, which is what my gut instinct told me; who else could be so sloppy with factchecking, when all it would really take is a simple WHOIS query? I hardly try to hide myself online, so getting it so wrong was particularly amusing to me.

As for the potential of me being paranoid, sure, I could be. However, I'm a security nerd. Tripwire was going off the hook, and my router was sending me announcments of failed Teardrop attacks, ping of death attacks, and verbose port scanning. Those things happen all the time to any internet server, but once I had been linked to by Xeni, the rate at which those occur increased by a factor of 12.

What I find the most amusing out of this whole thing is how, had she and Metafilter not linked to xenisucks.com, it likely would have withered in obscurity until I lost interest in maintaining it. Now, however, my traffic is through the roof (compared to what it was before, not compared to, say, actually-popular sites), and I'm getting fanmail in droves, with people who find her annoying, like I do, and from people who hate her, which I actually don't. Then again, it's not terribly surprising that she'd link to it, considering that, to someone who grew up with a messed up childhood, bad attention is just as good as good attention.


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