Introducing BBG's Band Manager: Marvin Battelle

We have a name for the 21st century where I come from: the suppurating asshole of space time. For reference, imagine flipping through an American History textbook, just lazily skimming around, then... WHAM! You now have a good idea of what the history books of the 31st century look like: an engorged, inside-out historical sphincter stretching between the knuckles of 1983's break-dancing revolution and the emergence of robo-break-dancing in 2176. Now imagine being sucked into that pulsating Goatse vortex and you've got a pretty good idea of what it felt like when I woke up naked in an Oklahoma field surrounded only by belching cows and clouds of dissipating purple chronatons. Yes, it's an ugly analogy, and I'm sorry to labor it, but short of cramming the monolith from 2001 down your throats, it's the only way I can make you monkeys understand what it's like to be trapped here. The name's Marvin, by the way. Marvin Battelle. I'm Boing Boing Gadgets' "band manager," whatever that is. And I am from the future.I don't want to dwell too much on how I got here or why I came: the cautionary value of warning you evolutionary mollusks about mistaking a flux capacitor for a french tickler would be just shy of zilch. Needless to say, the slippery slope, one thing led to another and now I'm stuck here. Without any of the valueless scraps of disease-soaked paper your rappers call "Benjamins" to my name, my first priority was clear: find someone to mooch from. Luckily, I had a prime candidate: my great-great-great-great-great-great23 uncle, John Battelle. Now, I don't know if you know this, but John Battelle is a trillionaire. Someday, he will lose these trillions funding Big Brother's war machine against the Neo-Bolsheviks of Eurasia. And if that doesn't scare you: Big Brother? That's Cory Doctorow. Or at least what's left of him after he was shuffled off to Ethics Reupholstering. So if you want a vision of the future, imagine a short film on the benefits of the Perpetual Pre-Copyright smashing into a human face forever. But I digress. The point is, right now, John Battelle is rich. Unfortunately, like most future converts to Ingsoc, Battelle also has a strong work ethic. Within moments of kicking in the door of my distant relative's office and grabbing him by the lapels, it became clear that I could count on him for none of the comforts to which I had grown accustomed. If I wanted to snort an endless supply of Substance D out of the bottomless cybertronic Fleshlight of a Marilyn Monrobot—even that a grim and paltry simulacrum of the sinuous delights of the 31st century—I would need to get a jay-oh-bee-colon-space-job. My uncle John kindly arranged a meeting at Happy Mutant Headquarters (rechristened "MiniLuv", circa 2012) between me and the Boingers. Unfortunately, the meeting didn't go well. I don't want to point fingers or try to figure out who alienated whom. No one was to blame. All I will say is that I regret telling David Pescovitz within seconds of meeting him the exact date and time of his death. Frauenfelder was a good guy, but in retrospect, I shouldn't have opened with the suggestion that he write a series of DIY articles on home trepanation for MAKE, punctuated by a short demonstration that ended up in part on his glasses. Doctorow did not seem to understand my attempts to converse with him entirely in Newspeak. And as for Xeni, my gift—a home-made LOLCats t-shirt featuring a mother cat eating her own mucousy kitten with the subtitle "I CAN HAZ AN ABORTION?"—was received not with the ebullient delight I expected, even though the NeoWikipedia of the 31st Century clearly identifies Xeni as the Pauline Kael of the form. [citation needed] Anyway, the vote was unanimous: I would not become the fifth Boinger. However, as Xeni's boot was propelling me from Happy Mutant Headquarters with one deftly applied judo kick, I happened to meet another Boinger reject: Joel Johnson. As utterly forgotten by the future as he is by contemporary historians, I at first mistook him for an obscure Republican senator from Nebraska. But it was ultimately Joel who invited me to dinner at his home, and it was during dinner that he triumphantly suggested a way for me to fit in with the Boing Boing family. "You're from the future, right?" Joel asked, selecting some choice offal from a garbage pail lid and cramming it into his mouth in the dank alley behind Happy Mutant Headquarters. "Duh," I snorted. He still seemed so astounded by the fact that I couldn't help but marvel at his breathless chrono-provincialism. "Then I want to hire you! With you on the team, we can really cram it to the rest of the internet. We'll scoop everyone on gadgets that aren't even out yet. That bastard Lam gets the scoop on iPhone 2? You write about iPhone 12!" "Actually a cybernetic scarab that writhes its way into your ear." I replied. "Wait for the second revision: Rev A causes migraines and bladder infections. Rev B only causes bladder infections." I think Johnson said, "Exactly!" but it was hard to make out the words as he took short, gasping draws from a smoldering banana peel. "Also, FYI: Fake Steve Jobs incorporeally possesses Real Steve Jobs in 2010 and the resulting rampage kills dozens. So you might want to skip that Macworld." "I can see the Diggs start rolling in now!" Joel exclaimed, and he was so excited I didn't have the heart to tell him that Digg's server cluster implodes into a quantum singularity six months from now after users begin recursively Digging their own Diggs. So that's the plan. On my part, I offer coy but mostly continuum-safe references to futuristic technology so mind-boggling and physics-defying that I might single-handedly spark the premature evolution of the third hemisphere of the human cerebellum in Boing Boing Gadgets' readers. And from you? All I require is the passive absorption of various subliminal "activation" words.
Image: Victor Geere
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26 Responses to Introducing BBG's Band Manager: Marvin Battelle

  1. Edward Oleander says:

    /sing/ = on

    Suppuration, you’re the one!

    You make bath time LOTS of fun!

    Suppuration, I’m awfully fond of you!

    (you-you, you, you, you, youuuu, youuu…)

    /sing/ = off

  2. Itsumishi says:

    I for one found this entire rant hilarious! It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me force my cat to eat it’s babies just so I could photograph the entire experience and produce a line of t-shirts.

    JOFLOW – I think the simple solution to your problem is to be selective about which posts you read and how many of the sometimes excessive amounts of comments you read through. A nice comfortable mouse with scroll wheel may assist this process.

  3. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    What have you got against suppuration?

  4. wurp says:

    Sure, Joel. Just happy to be heard!

    BTW, thanks for all the great work! Now I waste 50% more time every day browsing the web (,, and now gadgets…)

  5. mightymouse1584 says:

    viva la boing boing gadgets! the revolution continues!

  6. joflow says:

    I’m with Wurp, this is overkill, and more than a little annoying.

    Relent, I beg you.

    • Joel Johnson says:

      You’re annoyed that you have the option to read something you might not like, jo?

      We’re having fun. If you don’t enjoy our type of fun, there’s really only one option: just keeping reading until you do.

  7. Xeni Jardin says:

    It wasn’t that I didn’t LIKE the t-shirt, Marvin. It’s just that the mucous wasn’t drippy enough, and that correct LOLspeak taxonomy eschews any and all unneccesary articles. IOW, the “an” was overkill. But [snort], nice try bub.

  8. Xeni Jardin says:

    Also, sharing is caring, d00d. Pass me a fistful of whatever the fuck pills you popped before penning this post.

  9. John Brownlee says:

    Points to Matt for grokking the homage! We’re all HUGE OMM fans here.

  10. Glenn Fleishman says:

    Teresa wrote: What have you got against suppuration?

    What’s the point of a revolution without general–general suppuration, suppuration, suppuration.

    All together now!

    (Extra pts for identifying source paraphrase.)

  11. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    I, for one, (metaphysically) embrace reporting on the future. Clicking on gadgets.boingboing will be like a trip “Back to the Future”.

  12. joflow says:

    Joel, I think the point that you make that this is a new site and it’s trying to grow is an even more important point. You’re right, adding new content generally increases its readership. However, I think when you and Brownlee unite (and I’ve enjoyed reading both of you over the years) and now with this “Marvin” character, you’re not so much expanding and adding new and diverse content as you are spiraling on an overly-literate and anachronistic-word-laden track that goes nowhere but inward. I’m glad you treat your readers as intelligent and don’t dumb everything down for us, but I think entries like this end up being a tougher point of entry for new readers, and as I mentioned, a bit much even for those of us already accustomed to you guys. Exclusive instead of inclusive, so to speak.

    I’m certainly not going to tell you how to run your site, and I’m glad you’re having fun and on the whole I enjoy BBG immensely. I know in the end you’ll do whatever you like, but I also know you’ve been open to your readers’ input, so just thought I’d throw my $.02 out there. Thanks.

  13. airship says:

    Great! Maybe you can clear up some questions we have about so-called ‘reliable information’ that is rumored to have made its way down the timepipe from your era.

    For example:

    Is LOLspeak really the official language of the 31st century?

  14. pork musket says:

    In my opinion, pie is delicious. I better future pie is wonderful.

  15. metafactory says:

    I actually think that there is something interesting going on at boingboing. As some others seem to be expressing, I’m ambivalent about the explosive verbosity and number of posts. This is not so much a criticism of the posts themselves which are generally well executed here as an acknowlegement that there are new voices to train my ears to.

    There is a transition afoot, no doubt, and there will be /blood/ growing pains. Once-upon-a-time I could zip over to boingboing for some instant /procrastination/ gratification that I knew would not last too long. Today, it is becoming more challenging to do that and I need to deploy new techniques to limit the time I spend digressing from my work and family. As boingboing grows, so does the effort to read it. I rely(ied) on boingboingers to make those editorial decisions for me and you’ve done a great job at doing just that. And, just maybe, some of your success has been built on that selectivity. Now, to some extent, you’ve abdicated that role (though you may have never chosen it in the first place).

    I don’t think this is necessarily a just-get-used-it scenario. Perhaps it is bigger than that. Maybe it is like a user interface that becomes too noticeable (doesn’t easily slide into the background) or a listserv that becomes too active, so that I pay less and less attention to it. It is no longer rarefied.

    The resolution is that /we/ I must learn or apply new techniques of discernment. Oddly the effort may propel me away. Obviously you’re welcome to change, just as I’m welcome to come or go as I please (or to learn how to read selectively). But it would be interesting to track usage patterns based on the new explosion of boingboing entries.

    Whatever happens you are appreciated and I wouldn’t bother to write this if I didn’t care.

  16. MattMcKeon says:

    Marvin, old bean! I haven’t seen you for years! I thought that once Chet and Erik got jobs you’d skulked off to whatever you post-singularity reality construct originally squeezed you out. Good to see you again, although I must admit it’s a bit odd to see you with some of the edges burnished off — your fist porst already completed and not a single exploded monkey in sight. Have you taken a Neanderthal wife?

  17. Joel Johnson says:

    Metafactory, you raise an important point, perhaps inadvertently. Boing Boing Gadgets, while certainly proud to be under the care of Boing Boing and certainly in a same general ethical and editorial sphere, is a new site with new writers and new pretty-much-everything-else. It would be reasonable to expect that some people are going to like BB in a different proportion to their like for BBG. Nothing I can do about that. I’m fine with that.

    As for noting you may have to change your Boing Boing parsing habits, well, that may be, too. I will say that in my experience adding new content to a site increases its readership – those usage patterns – rather than decreases it.

    So while I’m proud that you consider BBG such an intrinsic part of BB that its increased output affects your perception of the whole…well, you already said what I would say. It is an interesting point, for sure, but one I wager you’re overthinking. But circle around in a few weeks and let me know if I’m wrong.

  18. Gary61 says:

    Wait a minute – that whole ‘woke up naked in an Oklahoma field’ thing happened to you, TOO?

    Then, perhaps you may be of assistance to me ….

    Do you know of a woman named ‘Sarah Connor’?
    I am instructed to locate her ……
    And to pick up a few cases of ‘Pokemon Trading Cards’, whatever they are …..

  19. murray says:

    Do my ears get hairy when I’m old?

  20. wurp says:

    I imagine I’m not the only boingboinger who would like would stop suppurating for a good long while.

    The posts are great; the metaphors are clever; the seeping wound imagery is unneeded and for my part unwanted.

  21. Joel Johnson says:

    Wurp: Noted. I wouldn’t expect it to change, however!

  22. bnt says:

    Instructions for DIY Home Trepanation? I need to see that like I need a hole in my head…

  23. Qozmiq says:

    After recently being sent the ten millionth LOLcat image, I had to put a rule/filter on my email. No more. Please dear Gaia, no more. However, the T-Shirt you gave Xeni is not the one item on this rare earth that I seek out the most. Pure genius!


  24. wurp says:

    Murray: Yes :-(

  25. zuludaddy says:

    I, for one, welcome our new time travelling overlord…

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