Last month, on a brisk and blindingly sunny Saturday, over a hundred alumni of the “Whole Earth Catalog” network—Merry Pranksters, communards, hippies, hackers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and futurists—gathered to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication, and, per the invitation, to come together “one last time.” The event was held at the San Francisco Art Institute, a renovated wharf warehouse with vaulted ceilings, views of Alcatraz, and the cool sterility of an empty art gallery. A number of early-Internet architects, including Larry Brilliant, Lee Felsenstein, and Ted Nelson, floated around the room. Several alumni had scribbled their well usernames onto their badges. One man was wearing a red “Make Earth Cool Again” hat, swag from a recent climate-change-themed dinner co-hosted by Alice Waters; another wore a baseball cap advertising Tysabri, a prescription medication that treats multiple sclerosis. Hugh Romney, the activist and performance artist known as Wavy Gravy, wore a tie-dyed sweatsuit, a red foam nose, and a button that read “We must be in heaven, man!” He leaned on a thin opera cane; a small plastic pig dangled from the handle.
Monday, November 19, 2018
… The Complicated Legacy of Stewart Brand’s “Whole Earth Catalog” | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)