Candid Webcam: On Line

This is supposed to be Thursday, the 12th, but the Sole Proprietor is running a little late so it is now Friday in the early evening. BaddGrrl has posted a link to an article by Margaret Talbot in The New Republic that makes some comments on personal Webcams, the ones set up in living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and, for all the Sole Proprietor knows, in kitchens near the refrigerators all over the world pumping jpegs out into the night.

BaddGrrl is mentioned in the article ("pretty Lorraine, a software tester living in San Francisco, transmits a constant stream of pictures of herself Editorial comment. sitting in her work station or hanging out in her apartment but says that 'as you may expect, I am a very busy person.... Sending me 7-8 messages in a row is not going to elicit a response from me'"). The Sole Proprietor is not sure exactly how BaddGrrl sits in her workstation as opposed to at it, but what the hell, publicity is publicity. Sitting in your workstation could be worth another half million hits. (Atta grrl, Lorraine!)

Talbot talks about Jennifer Ringley's JenniCam as the most publicized of the personal webcams and the Sole Proprietor remembers a piece about her on the national news. The moderator warned that the address was, rather than .com, but the Sole Proprietor spaced out between hearing the news piece and surfing the site so he entered .com. Ah yes, wham, bam, triple X mam there's more than one JenniCam. I suspect that others had similar results and that national news organization got some response.

Talbot is struck by "how they seemed to mimic in minature the larger world of celebrity, with its fans and hangers-on, Success! Jenni greets her 
        audiance. Jenni buys her
        webcam. stars asserting, in language that might be poignant if it weren't so ridiculous, that they do not exist solely for our delectation, that they are owed autonomy from the gaze they have so avidly sought." and finishes with a quote from Jennifer Ringley: "'Without the camera,' she said, 'I probably would have always been a nobody'. How deluded we are to think the camera bestows being."

Well, that makes for a good story, but the Sole Proprietor had other thoughts. When he saw the piece on Jennifer Ringley, he was struck by a thought that here was an artist working in a new medium. If Jennifer was the first one to set up her camera in her living/bed room or if, more likely, she did this on her own without knowing others were doing the same, well that's a pretty good leap. Think about it. On your own, 20 or whatever years old, you set up a camera and live your life under its light. That's pretty interesting when its the first one. Number 99, well, who knows? Number 999, well, what else is new. Webcams like BaddGrrl's are a variation on this theme, an exploration, another leap of faith. Art as life, life as art.

The Sole Proprietor's site looks a bit like a bunch of magazine pages. Well, the Sole Proprietor used to work with magazines when he was a student and later in San Francisco, as an editor on a very short lived shoe string adventure that was part of the underground press.

He decided as a student that there was no future for him in newspapers or magazines. No reason to go into the particulars, he didn't think it was a life in which he could find satisfaction. Then along comes the web. You don't need to work for a newspaper as a reporter or a columnist or for a publisher as an editor. You can sit down, learn to use a few tools and wango-bango! you've got your own magazine published on any schedule you like.

This is a new form. Who in the hell knows where BaddGrrl's web mistress adventure will end? Who cares, its going to be a hell of a trip. All this Asian Cyber-Mafia Webmaster/mistress stuff is fun and the Sole Proprietor not only gets to watch, he gets to play a little part over here on the side. Good stuff. The Sole Proprietor remembers when they invented rock and roll. He loved rock and roll. Did he ever think there'd be stations playing those old 1950's songs in the 1990's? Hell no, but there are and they do. Will BaddGrrl still be managing some weird form of web site in the middle of the 21st century, all of it grown from this little beginning when nobody had a clue? Might.

The Sole Proprietor has a webcam pointed at Broadway. Can't see much at night, but it produces some nice pictures during the day. He's been having trouble figuring out what to do with it. It's a great toy, but there ought to be something more exciting out there than Broadway, Oakland, California, USA. There's some nice ones on the web, pictures inside a bar in Australia, another bar in South Africa, an Internet Cafe in London. These are nice, but they will have to evolve into something more interesting when the novelty wears off.

For the Sole Proprietor, he gets to play at magazines again and write a column, er, journal and although nobody is really reading it, he's having fun. Will he be having fun with this in another year when the novelty has worn off? Who knows? Maybe.


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