Boing Boing Gadgets explains: "Just How The Hell Did I End Up In Infomercia?"


The Setting

Welcome to Infomercia, a massive super-conglomerate turned government on an alternate Earth in which indiscriminate technological consumerism and promiscuous corporate partnerships have become the backbone of an oppressive, Orwellian dystopia.

In Informercia, propaganda-driven consumerism is the method by which the masses are mollified, kept swollen and subdued by the government's encouragement of the blind pursuit of incrementally improved technology and the accumulation of crapgadgets. There is no money in Infomercia: instead, income is taxed at 100 percent, and technology is purchased from a monthly stipend of Informercian Pegasus Rebates, the official currency.

Infomercia is not our world's only super-conglomerate, but is one of a triumvirate of equally matched powers: Engasia and Gizmoldovia. Infomercia has "always" been at war with Engasia; Gizmoldovia is its ally.

In this world, Boing Boing Gadgets is one of an endless number of official government mouthpieces, controlled by Infomercia's Ministry of Machines (MiniMac, or MoM for short). In fact, all gadget blogs are either mouths of MiniMac's propaganda machine, or the mouths of its foreign counterparts. As such, links that go to Gizmoldovia's cluster of gadget blogs will tend to be laudatory; links that go to Engasian sites will be disparaged.

As a mouthpiece for the government charged with maintaining a constant level of commercial apprehension and unslaked gadget lust in its readership, Boing Boing Gadgets carries out its charter with the help of its three Ministers of Technology: Minister Thanko Brando, Minister Inspiron Touchpreaux and Minister Cray "Pippin" Wang. Every morning, they clock in, connect their umbilicals and grind through the propaganda of the day, part of a larger, well-oiled machine.

This morning, something will go wrong with that machine.

What This Actually Means

This week, Boing Boing Gadgets is doing three days of fiction-based blogging. The story will start on Monday, continue on Wednesday and finish on Friday. Tuesday and Thursday will be blogging as usual.

All of our posts on these days will take place in the Infomercian universe and be written in the voices of our imaginary Ministers of Technology. We will continue to blog about real-world products, but we will blog about them as if they were alternate versions of these products in our dystopia instead. For readers, this means that information in our posts may not be reliable, and opinions voiced will probably not be our own. We will be writing parody, not fact.

We invite those who want to read the real news and specifications of these products to click the links at the bottom of each post. Blogs or companies that might see us saying odd things about them: please keep in mind that we're writing fiction here, and it's all meant in good fun.

Enjoy your time in Infomercia. Remember, no matter what occurs: always stay calm, and keep shopping!

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83 Responses to Boing Boing Gadgets explains: "Just How The Hell Did I End Up In Infomercia?"

  1. Decay says:

    haha 🙂

    I did wonder what was going on. The Unicorn made me curious.

    I’d best crack out the Victory gin in celebration.

  2. AirPillo says:

    Well, this is weird, but have fun!

    I’m hoping for something involving electronic music and birds!

  3. Maurik says:

    The post fails to mention upcoming superpower gdgttia… Infomarcia should be fearing them.

  4. wisekwai says:

    Thank you explaining. I don’t respond well to change and was alarmed. I thought some sort of evil cult had taken over BBG. But it’s just fiction! Okay then. I shall keep reading.

  5. FoetusNail says:

    Checking URL’s carefully, then squinting through one eye and with trembling hand he clicked the link… was he still sleeping… is this really just fiction-based blogging or has the world tipped?

  6. 0xdeadbeef says:

    Because we mock it, that makes our consumerism better than other people’s consumerism, right?

  7. FoetusNail says:

    How many IPR’s for a badge?

  8. dw_funk says:

    A gadgets blog is a pretty cool medium for fiction; I wonder if it would’ve been more interesting to give the information above in the context of the fictive world. Regardless, this is the most creative thing I’ve seen so far today.

  9. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    I guess this is better than being taken over by Robots. Isn’t it?

  10. transmothra says:

    This is the greatest idea anyone in the universe has had in months. We need this at this crazy, stressful hour. Thank you, BBG.

  11. Anonymous says:


    Aren’t we supposed to go shopping because…. if we don’t the tourists will win? Or is it the Trotsky-ists? I can’t remember! Maybe we are supposed to terrify shoppers by hiding in the bushes and… no…. I do remember we have to do SOMETHING or the SOMETHING ELSE will win…

    Oh gee. I can’t remember my “Official Party Line” any longer. Please be kind when you pick me up for re-education.


  12. sisyphus says:

    I’m disappointed that the ambassadors to MiniMac have retreated so far into their high tower as to disallow “the rabble” from commenting on the individual, corporate-sponsored missives.

    We are hyperconsumers. Have we not wallets? Have we not HDTVs, UMPCs, External HDDs, media centers and consoles? Placated with the same trivial point upgrades, subject to the same demographic-profiling, titillated by the same announcements of new devices? If you give us a per diem, do we not spend? If you mollify us with advertising, do we not acquiesce? And if you wrong us, shall we continue to purchase?

  13. mujadaddy says:

    Y’all’ve lost yer damn minds.

    Carry on.

  14. moniker42 says:

    I, for one, welcome our technicolor overlords!

  15. Zarniwoop says:

    “How many IPR’s for a badge?”

    I echo this sentiment, though perhaps a series of stickers to adorn our gadgets would be better?

    Either way: Please?

  16. cha0tic says:

    Glee and Happy happy Joy joy.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Fuck you, boingboing. Last thing I need from the websites I use my (limited) time to visit is post-ironic criticism of my own viewing habits. Wake me when your masturbatory experiment is over and maybe I’ll come back then. Don’t waste my time with your bullshit.

  18. noahsachs says:

    Double plus good idea!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Dudes, Thot U were pwned.

  20. huntsu says:

    I just find the graphics annoying and they make it hard to read for the dyslexic among us. I don’t mind the fictional blogging, but could you give the art a break? The future doesn’t have to be something bad out of the 70s.

  21. pork musket says:

    I remember Joel saying this blog needed more rainbows. I see his plan has come to fruition.

  22. certron says:

    I look forward to our forthcoming info-ration, which, according to my state-supplied calendar and this most fortuitous announcement, should fall on Monday September 17, 1984 to be followed by the further virtuous words on the 19th and 21st of this most auspicious month.

    Let us use all our faculties to enrich and envitalize Infomercia! Our minds, our wages, and all electrons under our control will work for the protection and advancement of Infomercia! Our resources are at your disposal, our wise and generous leaders!

    Joy and style to our perpetual ally! Fuddlement and obscurity to our perpetual enemy!

  23. Gainclone says:

    New Dendrites are only 47 credits. Buy Now!

    What is that, nausea? Can you feel this?

    \What’s wrong?\
    Nothing, nothing really. I just fell like I need something stronger.

    \What’s wrong?\
    Nevermind. Nevermind. Never-never-nevernevernvernvernvnvn-n-n-n-n-nevermind. Nevermind.

  24. Clay says:

    Should I quickly go watch “Sleeper” before reading the site this week?

  25. aldenhg says:

    I’ve heard of a lot of things, but fiction-based blogging? I thought that BBG was just a quirky mashup of TUAW and Engadget, but apparently it’s on an acid trip. I’ll see you in three days.

  26. erzatsen says:

    ok, which of you pedants is which Minister?
    or is there a single, Sybilian encephalon behind this consumerist ruse?
    in any case, you all verbally masquerade well.

  27. Anonymous says:

    While I’m not going to be as harsh as some other anonymous posters, I do feel that this requires toeing the fine line of irony that all counter-cultural gadget lovers must face in their decisons.

    We all laugh at blogging robots and unweildly scalp massagers, but then pass around images of wall mounted neon linux server clusters and videos of EEE PCs modded with aftermarket touchscreens. In the larger sphere of alternative culture, those of us who own Apple and Nintendo products can rightly be accused of not being enviromentally responsible. Even our recycling friendly and revolutionary DIY scene will more often than not result in things that are still completely unnecessary; ie the NES controller the size of a coffee table.

    Mindless consumerism at it’s mainstream extreme is still laughable and subject to parody and critique in my book. However, you don’t see people who are reading USA Today measuring the standard size of the backlit apple logo in order to estimate the dimensions of the unannounced and upcoming Macbook. My ‘consumerist’ parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents have never engaged in an internet flame war or accused someone of being a ‘M$’ fanboy.

    It could be argued that we are uber-consumerists, in fact. Such statements are debateable, but I believe you understand my point by now.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this is implimented, but as someone from the same scene- I would recommend treading carefully.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Is there a URL I can use to filter out the rainbow crap or do I just remove BBG from my bookmarks and come back in a few weeks.

  29. sisyphus says:

    Erzatsen: seriously?

    Minister Thanko Brando: “day-glo skeletons with translucent skin squabble over the rotting techno-offal of Atari 2600 innards.”

    Gross descriptions of the body. Brownlee.

    Minister Cray ‘Pippin’ Wang: “As Ministers of the revolution, we are often asked ‘What cell phone should I buy?’…The answer […] is of course, ‘all of them.'”

    Obsession with mobiles. Beschizza.

    Minister Inspiron Touchpreaux: “… which by no means indicates that the persistent monitoring ability of the boom microphone sporadically broadcasts your conversations to the Infomerican Central Understanding Bureau — indeed, it broadcasts all the time as it should.”

    This one was harder judging on prose alone. But, it is “Tech Deals,” so Joel. Also, process of elimination.

    The fact that Infomercia is undergoing a mass exodus of grumbling, grousing curmudgeons actually makes this even more entertaining.

  30. erzatsen says:

    i love the IPRs. i almost bothered trying to read the license.

    i question the odd M in the word Agreement – looks like a flopped W. and the use of Last Line Justify makes the final line ugly and weird. more words in that last sentence, please.

    does the IPR only come in Ones? i’d like to see a whole array of bills.

    keep at it.
    send the whiners to the technargasso that is the Engasia gulag.

  31. reikiwes says:

    What the F*CK is happening to BBGadgets? I guess I’m too old, too, because the last ten posts went right over my head.

    Keep this up and you will lose a lot of readers who are here to read about GADGETS.

    The BB home page has now started filling its pages with video content, and material from BBTV, which the vast majority of people cannot watch at work. Like many folks, I read BB during breaks at work. That’s why I started reading the BBGadgets page, because it actually had articles instead of video links. And now this weirdness has befallen the BBGadgets page.

    What’s going on guys? This is seriously whacked content.

  32. Talia says:

    Uh, if you read the initial post, reikwes, I think it was made pretty clear what’s going on, and the schedule it’s on. Don’t like it, don’t read BB gadgets on those days.

    Also, Mr. Anonymous up there, shut up. That was one of the most outright odious posts I’ve ever seen.

  33. Pete says:

    I’d say that this is pretty innovative. Of course, the people who don’t like challenging reading are going to get the hump over it, but Gadget Blogging really does get quite monotonous. Congrats GBB crew, for trying something different!

  34. reikiwes says:

    Thank you, Talia, for your superior intellect. Now that I have been put in my place, I am sure you feel much better with yourself.

    And, according to YOUR post made in BBGadets, YOU YOURSELF DIDN’T READ THE INITIAL POST BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION, so please refrain from “telling me off” about something several people have commented on.

    And take your own advice: if you don’t like the comments, don’t read them. Telling someone to “shut up” is about as fourth grade as you can get.

  35. styrofoam says:

    Wait a second- you’re giving us this crap through one of the most momentous moments in electronics product release history?




    i hate you all

  36. themindfantastic says:

    Someone passed out the electric kool aid and the special sugarcubes didn’t they… for a second I thought the worshippers of the invisible pink unicorn took over or something. To say the least… this is fucked up.

    Not to say its BAD, just that its fucked up. Im all for such craziness… carry on.

  37. Anonymous says:

    You know what… i said so in the other thread, but my thought is “FINALLY.”

    It’s about time we had a gadget equivalent for MST3000, random anarchy from people who love technology instead of just BUY it

  38. clueless in brooklyn says:

    I’m clueless enough already on this site. See you next week.

  39. Talia says:

    #35, I read the post after the other guy linked me to it, I hadn’t realized it was here.

    All you did was copy and paste your reply from there over to here, without bothering to read the above post, which actually answered all your questions.

    Sorry, I thought that was fairly self evident.

    and you’re right, I really shouldnt read the comments, I am sick of people acting like 4 year olds in the threads. Its very frustrating, since in general I assume the boingboing readership is pretty smart, but I am continually let down.

  40. reikiwes says:

    “Its very frustrating, since in general I assume the boingboing readership is pretty smartASS,..”

    There. Fixed that for you.

  41. Anonymous says:

    This is the Central Scrutinizer. The white zone is for loading and unloading.

  42. eain says:

    Let me slightly and more politely rephrase Anonymous’ comment above, but essentially say the same thing:

    No thank you, BoingBoing. Last thing I need from the websites I use my (limited) time to visit is post-ironic criticism of my own viewing habits. Three days? You’ve lost a viewer for the duration.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I’m the anonymous #28,

    I must admit I enjoy the discussion happening atm. I’m not ‘against’ it, per se. It’s just dangerously close to the whole AdBusters phenomenon. You’re against rampant consumerism, so you make sure to buy a copy when you stop by Borders. Maybe snag a skinny late (hold the whip) while you’re at it.

    Generalized critiques of our consumerist culture have been done. It’s really easy to not do it correctly and sound like a play written by an angsty college sophomore. While there may be a few legitimate points within, it’s really comes out as an onanistic cringe fest that didn’t need to be. Again, this isn’t inherently the result. Just the likely one. That’s what makes people turn to Vice magazine- it’s generally counter cultural, but refreshingly intellectually honest. Of course, that whole scene can turn into the snake eating it’s own tail given the chance to run it’s own course long enough- but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.

    Good luck, BBG.

  44. OM says:

    …Kids, save this for April Fool’s. I was expecting *real* gadget news, not this drek.

    [shakes head in utter dismay]

  45. jgrassick says:

    Last night I was watching the film adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s The Final Programme. Today there has been a reality leak.

  46. Wally B says:

    Well done, ministers! Satire is a delicate art, but this was pulled off very stylishly. I’m truly sorry for the vitriol your humor has earned. Add a tally in the “really enjoyed it” column for me, please.

  47. Anonymous says:

    re: OM at #43

    Do you speak in earnest, or was that very subtle praise for their endeavor? If so, it was the most sublime irony-within-an-irony I’ve ever witnessed.

    “real gadget news”! Indeed!!

  48. Takuan says:

    Wheeee! This is gonna be good!

  49. Anonymous says:

    TO Talia:

    ” I am sick of people acting like 4 year olds in the threads.”

    Pot, meet kettle.

    Sugar booger, your posts have been the most-like a four year old above anyone else’s! Wasn’t it you who just said “SHUT UP” to another poster stating legitimate concerns?

  50. dacker says:


    I’ll be back when this crap is gone — and not a moment sooner….

    RSS Mode — DISABLED!!

  51. Anonymous says:

    There are obviously plenty of people who are enjoying this, however, I am not in their number.
    If the text is well written it should be a pleasurable experience, a conversation with the reader. The act of reading shouldn’t be an ordeal, it shouldn’t be hard (which is entirely distinct from the difficulty of the subject and themes of a text). This isn’t the case here – it’s like walking through tar. Slugging through the cruft to get to the facts of the post is not my idea of an enjoyable experience.
    Until someone makes epaper that is both cheap and good, reading on the internet isn’t going to be anything other than a necessity. If I cannot scan a post in less than 2 seconds to decide if I wish to read it fully, then it’s too long or too hard (or both). If I decide to read a post, then I want to be finished with it in under 20 seconds at most. If I wish to know more, then I’ll click through – so any post should be as short and sweet as possible. If it’s a full blown article, then the post should be the trailer (because if you have an article that’s worth reading you automatically have enough for a good teaser). If you don’t have enough for an article, then don’t make it into one – as cliché as it is, less is more.
    To be fair, this kind of venture is very hard to pull off successfully. Failure to impress (me) isn’t the end of the world, and there is much to be said for trying and failing in preference to not trying at all. That being said, (and on a purely selfish note) I’m pleased that it will be over soon.

  52. Bob Doles Communist Doppelganger says:

    Anonymous, @50:

    No, it was her who just said “SHUT UP” to the anonymous guy who was saying “FUK U ALL UR ALL FAGS LOL UR WASTIN MY VALUBUL TIM I NO RED UR SITE NO MORE IF IT NOT XACTLY WHAT I WANT LOL U SUK”

    There’s a difference.

  53. tfcon says:

    Is there a separate feed that excludes the Infomercia stuff? I saw someone else ask this question, but no response. I also don’t see an obvious feed link anywhere.

  54. Joel Johnson says:

    We’re not even all that concerned with making some grand anti-consumerism statement. (Take special note of “grand”.) We’re hearty purchasers of stuff ourselves. It’s just a fun universe to play around in.

    Mostly we’re just having fun. I’m glad some of you are enjoying it!

  55. styrofoam says:

    Oh, wait. you ARE going back to blogging for the Macbook release.

    Here I was all excited to see somebody actively ignoring an apple release date. Silly me.

  56. OM says:

    “Here I was all excited to see somebody actively ignoring an apple release date. Silly me.”

    …Let BB post all they want about (cr)Apple’s latest scam on the PC-challenged. I usually skip over those anyway, because I care AbZero about MacBook Hotair or the “Pete Puma OS”(*).

    (*)”Ehhh….how many Macs does this OS actually load on?”

    “Duh…three or four.”

  57. Anonymous says:

    I like turtles.

  58. Captain Kibble says:

    A satirical social commentary about consumerism on consumer website? How amusingly ironic and refreshingly original.

  59. historyman68 says:

    i know that about half the comments i normally see on BBG are praising the incredibly evocative and sometimes disgusting writing on this blog. so why the hate? it’s just that, pushed to extremes. i think this is kinda fun, but then again, i didn’t start reading boingboing back when it was a zine printed on parchment.

    essentially, this is a blog that offers a unique spin on gadget blogging. i still see that unique spin, i still see the gadget blogging… now it’s just a little unique-er.

  60. ehamiter says:

    Ugh. I know this is a creative way to change up the day-to-day monotonous blogging of gadgets, but I’m just skipping all of these Infomerica posts. There might be some humor to them, but it reminds me of the whole SubGenius culture, and I’m not cool enough or have enough energy to “get it.”

    I just want to look at pretty pictures and zone out during breaks at work. I read novels when I want to exercise my brain. 15 minutes in front of an LCD screen is not one of those times. I look forward to when this campaign ends.

  61. dculberson says:

    reikiwes, for someone so fed up and disliking this concept, you’re spending a lot of time coming back here… Maybe it’s better than you let on?

  62. reikiwes says:

    “reikiwes, for someone so fed up and disliking this concept, you’re spending a lot of time coming back here… Maybe it’s better than you let on?”

    Nope. Just making sure we will be getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. Sorta like the other 60% of the commenters here protesting this change.

  63. krebscout says:

    I thought it was fun reading before I found out that it wasn’t the work of a crazed hacker.

  64. Anonymous says:

    “We’re hearty purchasers of stuff ourselves. It’s just a fun universe to play around in.”

    Granted. I definitely dig on the whole Robocop type of satire going on with that. All I’m saying is, this is going to be at least somewhat ironic whenever you post any gadget lust after it.

  65. Hugh says:

    I figured it was just the BBG boys having a lark, and Joel’s comment seems to confirm that.

    So it’s fun to see how much *thinking* it’s stirring up. People critiquing consumerist critique!

    Thought, on a gadget blog. Wonders never cease.

    (And doing a nice job of it by the way, I’m enjoying the hell out of it. As if I’m suffering because I can’t read straight commentary about gadgets for three days. As if there aren’t other sources of straight gadget commentary on the internet.)

  66. FoetusNail says:

    I do remember one thing.
    It took hours and hours but…
    By the time I was done with it,
    I was so involved, I didn’t know what to think.
    I carried it around with me for days and days…
    Playing little games,
    Like not looking at it for a whole day
    And then… looking at it,
    To see if I still liked it.
    I did.

    I repeat myself when under stress.
    I repeat myself when under stress.
    I repeat myself when under stress.
    I repeat myself when under stress.
    I repeat…
    The more I look at it,
    the more I like it.
    I do think it’s good.
    The fact is…
    No matter how closely I study it,
    No matter how I take it apart,
    No matter how I break it down,
    It remains consistant.
    I wish you were here to see it.
    I like it!

  67. erzatsen says:

    more sliderule!

  68. redlemons says:

    So what’s changed? 🙂

  69. OM says:

    “Do you speak in earnest, or was that very subtle praise for their endeavor? “

    …It was actually damning contempt for a practical joke wasted because it was a) pulled at the wrong time of year, and b) scheduled to be carried on far longer than such a joke would allow. One day would have been sufficient. Three days is unnecessary overkill^nth.

  70. FoetusNail says:

    Actually, this would have been expected in April, and thus wasted. Coming out of the blue this morning was quite confusing and appreciated, after the fear passed. I bet everyone will be back Wednesday, whether they admit it or not this is an irresistable treat. Then, after two more trips, you can offer a more informed critique. Though I rather doubt many will dig themselves out of the holes into which they have jumped.

  71. jacob says:

    I’ll be back when this is over

  72. Michael Leung says:


  73. Clay says:

    While this is certainly innovative, I have to wonder if it might not have been better to throw together a spare Movable Type install at and simply put up a message at BBG to the effect that coverage is going to be a bit slow while the experiment is running.

    Though perhaps the merging of worlds is more integral to this than it would presently appear.

    Also: dig the technosoviet unicorn.

  74. Downpressor says:

    Well, you tried something different, gave it a theme and all that, but damn if this doesnt bore me to tears. See you in a few days.

  75. Anonymous says:

    I don’t really browse comments on blogs much anymore.. and this is exactly why. Kudos, staff; I think this is amazing.

    Oh, and I had no idea BBG readers were not only whiny babies but complete assholes. Hope you guys fall down some stairs! However, I’m letting you know now not contact me or bother expecting me anywhere you might want me or need me until you have your cast(s) off. Because I hate you. Yes. Hate you. No, not really hate, but grow the fuck up. Ok? Thanks jerks.

  76. WMC says:

    This has the same smug, self-indulgent, navel-gazing amateur theatrics feel of theater sports. I’ll be over at Gizmodo til you get this out of your systems.

  77. Anonymous says:

    Mmm…Not doing it for me. Will wait ’til yer done.

  78. Anonymous says:

    So was this some Wu-Tang alternate personality aside, but for gadget nerds?

    Wu-Tang Clan was a friend of mine. BBG, you’re no Wu-Tang.

    Shit, it didn’t even work for Wu.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I’m amazed that nobody’s noticed that that photo of the green badge looks a _lot_ like _Invader Zim_.

  80. mabwiddershins says:

    The unicorn makes me nervous.

  81. kpkpkp says:

    In order for this to “get funny” you’re going to have to continue to pump this Infomercia stuff out for about another 3 weeks.

  82. Smeata says:

    i like this, its fun and its something that sets BBG apart from the other thousands of gadget blogs. To all you people saying that this is stupid and threatening to spam; BBG has no obligation to you. Keep up the good work.

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