Count of Counterculture

I had a great time last night at the party for Counterculture Through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House, by Ken Goffman/RU Sirius. It seemed as if everyone from the Mondo2000 days was there, and gathered for the sole purpose of experiencing some connection and celebrating Ken’s emergence in the mainstream book publishing world as the brilliant social theorist and historian he really is.

Some faces I hadn’t seen in a long time, including Daniel Pinchbeck (breaking open your head), Mark Tribe (Rhizome and Columbia), Leo Villareal (artist), Manuel deLanda (author), Eric Lifton (architect), Michelle Handleman (NewSchool), Eva Wisten (journalist), ZeroBoy (performer), Emmanuel Goldstein (2600), Scott Heifferman (Meetup)…representatives of The Edge, NYU’s ITP, and Media-Squatters (including our own David Lamphier) and Barlow Frenzypeople were also in abundance. And I haven’t been handed more CD’s, DVD’s, and printed matter from emerging artists and thinkers looking for feedback since, well, since those days back when I’d walk through a party with Timothy Leary and he’d hand me all the stuff people were handing him.

It’s alive.

John Barlow, Genesis P-Orridge, and I were asked to say a few words, along with RU and Dan Joy, who first conceived of the book along with Tim Leary. I decided to go counter-counterculture, and explain that I’ve always hated the term counterculture because it implies that we’re the ones who are against culture, when it’s really the authoritarian overculture that’s so deadset against the fecund fertility of a living culture.

Luckily, the book does make a distinction between ‘cool people’ and counterculture, and is rather specific in defining countercultures as “a perrenial historical phenomenon…characterized by the affiramtion of the individual’s power to create his own life rather than accepting the dictates of surrounding social authorities and conventions, be they mainstream or subcultural.” Cool.

The best thing about the party is that it gave us all a chance to do what Tim Leary suggested – that is, “find the others.”