The Panther Moderns were a sort of youth terrorism organization in the book Neuromancer by William Gibson:
“Panther Moderns,” he said to the Hosaka, removing the trodes. “Five minute precis.”
“Ready,” the computer said.
It wasn’t a name he knew. Something new, something that had come in since he’d
been in Chiba. Fads swept the youth of the Sprawl at the speed of light; entire subcultures
could rise overnight, thrive for a dozen weeks, and then vanish utterly. “Go,” he said. The
Hosaka had accessed its array of libraries, journals, and news services.
The precis began with a long hold on a color still that Case at first assumed was a
collage of some kind, a boy’s face snipped from another image and glued to a photograph
of a paint-scrawled wall. Dark eyes, epicanthic folds obviously the result of surgery, an
angry dusting of acne across pale narrow cheeks. The Hosaka released the freeze; the boy
moved, flowing with the sinister grace of a mime pretending to be a jungle predator. His
body was nearly invisible, an abstract pattern approximating the scribbled brickwork
sliding smoothly across his tight one piece. Mimetic polycarbon.
Cut to Dr. Virginia Rambali, Sociology, NYU, her name, faculty, and school pulsing
across the screen in pink alphanumerics.
“Given their penchant for these random acts of surreal violence,” someone said, “it
may be difficult for our viewers to understand why you continue to insist that this
phenomenon isn’t a form of terrorism.”
Dr. Rambali smiled. “There is always a point at which the terrorist ceases to
manipulate the media gestalt. A point at which the violence may well escalate, but beyond
which the terrorist has become symptomatic of the media gestalt itself. Terrorism as we
ordinarily understand it is inately media-related. The Panther Moderns differ from other
terrorists precisely in their degree of self-consciousness, in their awareness of the extent
to which media divorce the act of terrorism from the original sociopolitical intent….”
In the book, the “random acts of surreal violence” described above take the form of the Panther Moderns facilitating a raid on an office building by hacking into the building’s computer network to basically hypnotize everyone inside into thinking they’ve been poisoned. At the same time, some of the Moderns called the police to tell them that:
“an obscure sub sect of militant Christian fundamentalists had just taken credit for having introduced clinical levels of an outlawed psychoactive agent known as Blue Nine into the ventilation system of the Sense/Net Pyramid. Blue Nine, known in California as Grievous Angel, had been shown to produce acute paranoia and homicidal psychosis in eighty-five percent of experimental subjects.”
Throughout the raid, the Panther Moderns refer to themselves as ‘Brood’ and another character as Cat Mother.
Since Neuromancer is pretty 80s, here are some synthed-out tracks to get you thinking about the original cyberpunks:
Part of me wants to think that those tracks are what the Panther Moderns would be jamming to if they were actually around today. A bigger part of me knows that they’d probably be fucking around on 4chan instead.
If you like this playlist, you might also like the Space Dub playlist I put together (smiliarly inspired by Neuromancer), or the mix I think Thanos would have given Death.
Oh man - I just finished reading Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination and it is intense. The book was written in 1956, but is decades ahead of its time and reads like an ultra-violent modern thriller. It keeps up a frantic pace for all 300 pages, and you’re never sure if you should be sympathizing with the main character and cheering him on in his quest for justice or hating him for the atrocities he commits.
If you get a chance, pick this book up. I mean, just look at the main characters in the book:
Gulliver “Gully” Foyle - the almost-unlikable protagonist. He survives months shipwrecked in deep space, has his face tattooed with tiger stripes and the word “Nomad” and spends the entire book on a murderous quest for revenge against those he feels have wronged him.
Sol Dagenham - The fast-talking head of an interstellar courier organization/private detective agency, a war-time accident left him so radioactive that he isn’t legally allowed to be in the same room as anyone for more than 30 minutes.
Olivia Presteign - Heiress to the Presteign fortune, albino and able to see only in the infrared spectrum. Gully’s hidden tattoos are visible to her, as are the warring ships in orbit around earth.
Jiz McQueen - The unfortunately-named beauty that helps Gully escape from a prison deep within the mountains of France, she seems more of a throw-away character
Robin Wednesbury - A broadcast-only telepath who promises to help Gully in his quest for revenge only so she can find out what happened to her own missing family.
Y’ang-Yeovil - Master of disguise, Asian stereotype and a big shot in the earth’s intelligence agency, he is tasked with putting a stop to Gully’s rampage.
Add to this zany cast of characters the fact that everyone in this future is able to teleport at will distances of about 15 kilometers (they call it “Jaunting”), and you’ve got one hell of a piece of science-fiction.
Try and not think too hard about it while you listen to Owl Vision’s Fields of Corpses - its a track as angry and intense as Gully Foyle. I don’t much about Die Antwoord, but I’m throwing another of their tracks up here because Ninja is at least as driven and tattooed as Gully.
I have no idea what to think about Die Antwoord - they’ve got samurai swords and ninjas (I mean, the front man’s name is Ninja!), breathy female vocals and amazing electro beats. But there’s something about them that just doesn’t seem right, and I think that’s part of the appeal - you just don’t know what is really going on. Even their website makes it hard to find out more.
Ninja reminds me of a skinny white guy I used to work construction with who had tattooed the words “Thug Life” and a dragon ripping through his flesh on his chest all by himself. The style was exactly like Ninja’s - a little shaky, and you’re glad he didn’t go for anything more complicated.
But listening to the Die Antwoord’s music and watching their videos, you should be glad he did go for Yo-Landi Vi$$er. Wikipedia says they’re married, but Wikipedia could say anything and who cares as long as she keeps balancing Ninja’s hard raps.
Rounding out the trio is DJ HI-Tek, his hat is awesome.
I don’t really know what role Leon Botha plays in the band beyond artistic support, but he’s one of the elements of Die Antwoord that you leave you with more questions than answers, and affirms the fact that their style is “UFO.”
Ryan from Pitchfork Tweeted that “DieAntwoord.com just made 2010 official. I think BoingBoing called it a memesplosion and I think you’ll be hearing a lot of them over the next few weeks. After that? Who knows.
I think that Aliens: Salvation has one of the best comic book covers of all time. At first glimpse, it looks like it might be a traditional piece of Japanese art: a samurai kneels with his sword in front of him while behind him a dragon dances. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the sword is actual a huge cannon, the dragon behind him an Alien. Yeah, I capitlized Alien there because its probably one of the most famous aliens: the chest-bursting, acid-blood aliens from the the movies with Sigourney Weaver (Alien: Ressurection was my favorite).
Since pretty much every encounter with these perfect monsters results in death, I thought I’d accompany this image with some tracks that Trash Yourself threw at me a couple of weeks ago:
Do you remember when the Sci-Fi channel used to show anime every Friday night? I do…and I especially remember being super-creeped out by the movie Akira.
I mean, all the posters make it look like it’ll be classic cyberpunk: bad-ass bikes, tough Tokyo gang kids, that sort of thing. Then bizarro anime hell breaks loose and the movie just gets weird.
Anyways, Dane Jah ras is a Canadian poet/freestylist and he has put together a concept album based on Akira. From Dane’s blog:
“Each track features at least one sample from the film. Samples used include Japanese dialogue, the re-done English dialogue and segments from “The Akira Suite” (The film’s score). The mixtape was produced and recorded by myself. The concept, mix and master are from KnowSomething’s DJ D-Mass.”
Courtesy of Suckadelic comes this wonderful piece of religious iconography.
I used to love Star Wars, and Boba Fett in particular. In fact, my 11-year-old self even had a letter published in Star Wars Insider magazine letting the world know how cool Fett was. He had at all: cool helmet, jet-pack, wrist-gun, mystery. He might not have gotten a lot of chicks, but that thought didn’t really cross my mind back then.
In the face of today’s Master Chiefs, Dark Knights and assorted other Iron Men, he seems a bit outgunned and kinda lame. But back in the day, he was the MAN.
If you like Star Wars, be sure and hook it up with Band of The Lost Star Wars mixtape. You haven’t really gotten down with the Dark Side until you’ve heard Vader beatboxing through his respirator.
Two things that I definitely think are awesome are ninjas and hot blondes - and that’s why this picture of a hot blonde showing that ninja some love is so awesome.
This rework of the Robin S. house track “Show Me Love” is also pretty awesome. Its by the good half of NONEWYORK, a fella that goes by the name of Something Wrong. They’ve got also got an EP out on beat port
The Metal Gear wiki has the full story, but basically the combination of a cybernetic suit of armor and a High Frequency blade makes for one wicked ninja.
This week my friend also reminded me of the genius that is the GZA (aka the Genius). If RZA’s futuristic personality is some sort of crime-fighting pimp, then the GZA will definitely be reincarnated as a cyborg ninja in the future.
I’m not really clear if RZA’s alter-ego Bobby Digital is supposed to be some sort of futuristic ghetto protector or if he’s just a cyborg pimp. Either way, he’s pretty awesome. I mean, just look at the album cover: huge circuit-board gun, Mad Max shoulder pads, sniper honey, Kung-Fu, van driving out of explosion. It really has everything.
I also think it is pretty awesome that members of the Wu-Tang make numerous references to the fact that if their group was Voltron, RZA would be the head. Equally awesome is that in almost every single account of the rise of the Wu-Tang clan that you’ll read, there is mention that RZA asked the other members to give him full control of the group for the length of one “dynastic cycle,” after which time he’d relinquish control and basically hand them an empire.