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June 5, 2006 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Cory Doctorow visits a Radio Shack. via keswick and MeCha
posted by loquacious (148 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Icky.

One of the most unattractive features of the Internet is the apparent urge to engage in self-reinforcing, navel-gazing insularity.

I don't know really anything about Cory Doctorow, but I do recognize the typical in-joke brandings. The value of this article requires people to be in on the joke, and even then, I'm not sure the pay-off is worth the alienating effects of the insularity.
posted by dios at 9:12 AM on June 5, 2006


You know, I suspect many folks will scream bloody murder over this post, but this:

CORY DOCTOROW: And I have a background wallpaper skin of the Ontario subway system with all the stop names cleverly rearranged to spell out the names of the characters from “Harry Potter”.

Had me snortin' liquid through my nose. Well played, sir.
posted by basicchannel at 9:13 AM on June 5, 2006


Who is this 'Doctorow' chap, and why should I be interested?
posted by metaxa at 9:13 AM on June 5, 2006


Trust me, Cory doesn't speak like that.
posted by cstross at 9:14 AM on June 5, 2006


I give this 10 minutes before it's on boingboing
posted by exogenous at 9:15 AM on June 5, 2006


If it was meant in good-natured humor, this was hilarious.

If it was meant to have the ugly tinge of disrespect that a lot of anti-cory and anti-xeni humor often has, fuhgeddaboutit.

And guys, please don't respond to Dios.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:17 AM on June 5, 2006


Except that there's no such thing as an "Ontario subway system", I thought it was amusing.
posted by dobbs at 9:18 AM on June 5, 2006



Separated at birth?
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:19 AM on June 5, 2006


Wow, that was lame. That is all.
posted by delfuego at 9:19 AM on June 5, 2006


I was actually expecting the Epilogue part to be the Main part. Radio Shack's full-on information gathering policy (I'm here to buy a fucking piece of wire, you don't need my SSN and Date Of Birth) means I won't go into one anymore.

But no, they just decided to bitch about Cory doing a lot of stuff. Whatever.
posted by chicobangs at 9:22 AM on June 5, 2006


Lame.
posted by vacapinta at 9:22 AM on June 5, 2006


Well, funnier would be to nail the utter stupidity and annoyance factor that your average radio shack employee possesses.
posted by petri at 9:23 AM on June 5, 2006


Was it supposed to remind me of the Cheese Sketch?
posted by kalessin at 9:24 AM on June 5, 2006


If it was meant to have [an] ugly tinge of disrespect, it's the best thing I've seen on the internet in weeks.

I think these people receive enough slobbering adulation that a little fun at their expense, nasty or otherwise, is not only warranted but welcomed.

And two things, dios: First, "the apparent urge to engage in self-reinforcing, navel-gazing insularity" is hardly confined to the internet. Insecure egomaniacs indulge in that kind of crap offline, too. Second, I think that was kind of part of the joke, anyway.
posted by Zozo at 9:24 AM on June 5, 2006


I can't go to Radio Shack without remembering a friend's description of having worked there: "Selling shit to idiots."
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:24 AM on June 5, 2006


Is this something you'd need a cell phone to appreciate?
posted by JanetLand at 9:25 AM on June 5, 2006


And guys, please don't respond to Dios.

Ever? I see no derail here.

The essay was pretty weak.

Also: this employee is far more helpful than any Radio Shack employee I've ever met.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:26 AM on June 5, 2006


I'm assuming it's in good fun. Frankly, it's not much different then some of the many dozens of conversations I've had in Radio Shacks ever since I was a wee little kid mooching extra free batteries.
posted by loquacious at 9:27 AM on June 5, 2006


Eh, boingboing is annoying, but Radio Shack is even *more* annoying.
posted by everichon at 9:27 AM on June 5, 2006


If it was meant to have the ugly tinge of disrespect that a lot of anti-cory and anti-xeni humor often has, fuhgeddaboutit.

Given then pic they used of Doctorow (several years old, before he got himself healthy) I'd say that there was more than an ugly tinge of disrespect intended.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:29 AM on June 5, 2006


Metafilter: Self-reinforcing, navel-gazing insularity
posted by thanotopsis at 9:30 AM on June 5, 2006


I'm not sure the pay-off is worth the alienating effects of the insularity.

The point of in-jokes is hardly to entice newcomers into the inner circle. You may be the first person to contemplate the pros and cons of attempting to "get" an in-joke.
posted by GuyZero at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2006


I can't go to Radio Shack without remembering a friend's description of having worked there: "Selling shit to idiots."

How about:

You've got questions, we've got shrugs.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2006


Kind of lame but also found myself smiling several times through the short text.

Oh, and this...
CORY DOCTOROW: Google maps 37Signals with Flickr iPod.

EMPLOYEE: What?

CORY DOCTOROW: I didn’t say anything. Now, about this cell phone…
... was outright funny.
posted by sveskemus at 9:35 AM on June 5, 2006


I miss Radio Shack. You know the one I'm talking about, right? The one with actual radio parts, robot construction kits, model airplane remote control design schematics, home chemistry labs, phone phreak employees...

Now if I'm in a hurry and I happen to go in one and ask for the nine foot RJ-45 cable directly behind an employee I get a dumb stare, then asked if I have a cellular phone.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:38 AM on June 5, 2006


"Selling shit to idiots."

While I agree with the privacy sentiments expressed above and in the FPP, I have to at least give the Shack credit for being a reliable place for me to pick up speaker wire, cable converters, and other little doohickeys I find I need in trying to wire my home. Some of what they sell is shit. Some of it I have found necessary.

Or maybe I'm just an idiot?
posted by NationalKato at 9:39 AM on June 5, 2006


This is one joke you don't want to be in on.

He is using humour to humiliate someone weaker than him. Well done, you made a minimum wage slave look stupid: that's like arm wrestling a thalidomide. Now pat yourself on the back and have a Starbucks double latte. Why not see if you can make your coffee server feel foolish too!

Worse, even if he was was embarassing the CEO of RS, it would still be awful. What a sad of sack of shit.
posted by rhymer at 9:43 AM on June 5, 2006


Fat blowhard acts like a dumbass in real life and posts it to the Web ceaslessley.

"I may be a disgusting talentless ogre, but hahahaha lol Internet."

Boingboing: haha lol Internet
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 9:46 AM on June 5, 2006


I too miss the old Radio Shack, but I'm a big fat nerd. They still have (some) parts and can still order parts, and God knows how much old Archer/Tandy stock they have.

But Radio Shack has totally gone mainstream, and years ago at that. And, yeah, their audio/cable/power adapters, converters and cables are mostly shit, but it's been like that since I was, like, 2 years old.

I still remember when they institute the zipcode thing, and then the full address and zipcode thing. I remember being creeped out when I was a kid, too. Dude, I'm buying a fucking pair of your cheapass red AA cells for my walkman. I'm already on your mailing list. You don't need my info.
posted by loquacious at 9:46 AM on June 5, 2006


Kinda mediocre overall. I expected something about how Cory actually went to a Radio Shack, I guess.
(AWKWARD SILENCE)
CORY DOCTOROW: Google maps 37Signals with Flickr iPod.
I got a chuckle here. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Also, you can't spell "RadioShack" without "dios".
posted by boo_radley at 9:47 AM on June 5, 2006


thanotopsis,

Very clever.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 9:47 AM on June 5, 2006


I still remember when they institute the zipcode thing, and then the full address and zipcode thing.

1060 West Addison, Chicago IL 60613 is your friend.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:51 AM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I hit the Shack last night for some new wire strippers and they didn't ask me for any personal information? Maybe the guy pre-sensed my all powerful privacy rant! Or maybe.. er...
posted by cavalier at 9:56 AM on June 5, 2006


I went to that site and was really excited, then I fell back asleep.
posted by yerfatma at 9:58 AM on June 5, 2006


rhymer: I can only conclude that you have no idea why this was supposed to be funny. Cory is the butt of the jokes, not the employee.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:59 AM on June 5, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe: Why would I use the address for Wrigley Field? For some reason I was expecting that to be Radio Shack's corporate HQ or something.
posted by loquacious at 10:01 AM on June 5, 2006


No, no, it should be: Idiots selling shit to idiots. "Hi I need a tape adapter so my friend can listen to her iPod in the car." Guy walks me over to the hi-8 to VHS tape adapters.

Moral: Only an idiot shops at Radioshack.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:02 AM on June 5, 2006


"Cory is the butt of the jokes, not the employee."

Yeah, read it again, but imagine cory's lines spoken in the comic book guy's voice from the simpsons.

And as for the personal info thing-
What better situation to practice your "you dont need to see our identification" handwave?
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 10:07 AM on June 5, 2006


Loquacious: Why would I use the address for Wrigley Field? For some reason I was expecting that to be Radio Shack's corporate HQ or something.

Its a joke from Blues Brothers.
posted by wabashbdw at 10:10 AM on June 5, 2006


Yeah, the boingboing crew can kinda be full of themselves (although I think Cory is probably the least so) but really this piece of writing is bland and formulaic and marginally coherent even if you get all the inside jokes.

It may as well be a madlib where the radioshack guys text is static and the customers text is filled with such as [technology noun] [verbed] [popular hipster group].

There are a couple high points, but mostly it falls flat. I appreciate the ethos and strength of character it would take to see this writing through to completion though.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:10 AM on June 5, 2006


If making a couple harmless jabs at one of our biggest inter-net celebrities is wrong, then I don't want to be right. Of course it's not a masterpiece, but it had me chuckling out loud at a few points.
posted by kaytwo at 10:14 AM on June 5, 2006


The only time I go into a Radio Shack is when I need to update the memory on my S.C.M.O.D.S. device. Only THEN do I progress on to 1060 W. Addison.
posted by Sk4n at 10:16 AM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


1060 West Addison, Chicago IL 60613 is your friend.

For a long time, 6747 Minnow Pond Dr., W. Bloomfield, MI 48322 was many people's friend. Maybe it still is.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2006


I think it's important to have a sense of humor about yourself so I hope Cory sees it and laughs heartily as I did. I like Cory and his work, but there is much to parody and that was indeed an amusing little play.
posted by mathowie at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2006


sonofsamiam: I'm afraid he is making the guy look stupid.

I'm also aware that he is attempting to send himself up. Unfortunately I'm not sure what you call when you try and get a laugh by making yourself the butt of the joke and succeed in making yourself look a twat, but only in an awful (rather than funny) way.

At it's best this is a kind of Alan Partridge humour: you cringe but it is hilarious. This however, just makes me cringe. That he has roped an innocent and probably not very bright dupe in just makes it worse.
posted by rhymer at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2006


you can't spell "idiots" without "dios", emirite?
posted by Leather McWhip at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Radio Shack is meatspace AOL.
posted by bardic at 10:22 AM on June 5, 2006


rhymer, are you under the impression that this piece was written by Doctorow?
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:28 AM on June 5, 2006


rhymer: dude, Cory did not write this piece. Someone else did, to make fun of Cory.

You have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:28 AM on June 5, 2006


I'm really curious,
WHy would anyone Read this article not knowing Drew (i mean Cory) as assume they will get any of the references? I read Cory alot, I have a few of his books, while this wasn't literature, it made me laugh more than a few time. so it was worth it, but I have to wonder why would you read it if you didn't know who drew was?

(thanks for posting it though)
posted by Elim at 10:35 AM on June 5, 2006


I think it's important to have a sense of humor about yourself so I hope Cory sees it and laughs heartily as I did. I like Cory and his work, but there is much to parody and that was indeed an amusing little play.

Way to break the fourth wall!

I'm pretty sure he does have a sense of humor. I've thoroughly enjoyed some of his books as well. Anyone who could write Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom has to have a funny bone. Sure, it's a kind of funny funny bone, but it's there and it's well formed.

The thing about making fun of Cory is that he's far from being some defenseless rube. He has a sharp wit, a strong voice, and a number of methods available to respond. And it is not unlikely that he's already reading this thread, or that he was already aware of the link in question.

He could respond here or there or just about anywhere. If he was truly irked by something, I'd imagine he'd just respond with a moblogging flashmob involving some kind of DIY group activity involving Bluetooth-enabled electrified linux pickles and then see who had the last laugh.
posted by loquacious at 10:35 AM on June 5, 2006


rhymer works at Radio Shack.
posted by loquacious at 10:36 AM on June 5, 2006


We don't seem to have Radio Shacks here in Vancouver anymore. They've all morphed into "THE SOURCE by CIRCUIT CITY". But they still sell the same shitty bottom of the barrel electronics and those weird borg novelty static electricity lamps. I always feel a little pang of sympathy for the guys who work there (Has anyone EVER seen a female Radio Shack employee, btw?) They're kind of at the bottom of the geek totem pole, and they know it.
posted by slatternus at 10:38 AM on June 5, 2006


Cory Doctorow vs. Radio Shack. The extreme opposites in "tech culture". Put them together and the comedy is automatic. Better than an average SNL sketch, if you understand the references, but still kind of lazy. The best thing about it was the contrast between the first gag (Cory's surveillance-phobic reaction to the electronic doorbell) and the "Epilogue" (the RS ritual request for personal information). Comedy rule #47: hit 'em with your best line, then leave.

Which I suck at.

Totally.

Never done it well.

I tend to ramble on.

And digress! Yes, I do digress.

Of course, some people have a special skill to drag out a joke long beyond its natural end, on and on, almost interminably, until it goes full-circle and becomes funny again, but I regret I'm not one of those people.

Not that I haven't tried.

I'll be here all week.
posted by wendell at 10:41 AM on June 5, 2006


Sk4n: Our lady of blessed acceleration, don't fail us now!
posted by Freen at 10:41 AM on June 5, 2006


1060 West Addison, Chicago IL 60613 is your friend.

Let's play two!

By the way, the shack is shack closing a bunch of non-mall stores.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:42 AM on June 5, 2006


Honesty moment: I don't know what the hell I'm talking about here and have got the wrong end of the stick. That will teach me to post before thinking.

Although in my defence, I think I am still allowed that it is a very esoteric and not terribly funny joke.
posted by rhymer at 10:45 AM on June 5, 2006


Ah, it wasn't long ago when I went into a local Radio Shack looking for solder. The doofus waiting on me had no idea what solder was, I had to explain it to him. Better to buy online when you don't need it now.
posted by tommasz at 10:52 AM on June 5, 2006


but imagine cory's lines spoken in the comic book guy's voice from the simpsons

I envisioned the RS kid as the generic teenage minimum-wage clerk from the Simpsons. Does he have a name?
posted by Joeforking at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2006


The epilogue about asking for his address is actually where I laughed the hardest, because a few months one of my readers told me that because of a post I wrote, he got into a multi-page argument with Doctorow over the privacy implications of Best Buy asking to see your receipt.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2006


M.I.A.’s “Galang” released under the Creative Commons license.

Ghasp, I've had an arupalagasm!
posted by delmoi at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2006


Incredibly amateurish and unfunny. Especially because, we wendell noted, the setup ought to be a comedy gold mine.
posted by mkultra at 10:55 AM on June 5, 2006


Ah, it wasn't long ago when I went into a local Radio Shack looking for solder. The doofus waiting on me had no idea what solder was, I had to explain it to him. Better to buy online when you don't need it now.

Gah. That... that is the most horribly depressing thing I've ever heard about any Radio Shack anywhere, bar none. That's terrible.
posted by loquacious at 10:59 AM on June 5, 2006


I laughed. Thanks.
posted by fungible at 11:16 AM on June 5, 2006


loquacious, my wife was at a local CVS (chain drugstore), and had to explain to the (native-born, English-speaking) clerk what crutches were.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:17 AM on June 5, 2006


I didn't know who he was before this, but I hit up the old wikipedia and reread the post. Pretty funny stuff if not limited in it's appeal.
posted by barbershopdan at 11:18 AM on June 5, 2006


And don't expect them to know much about mushrooms either. . .
posted by bardic at 11:20 AM on June 5, 2006


Every time I go into my local Radioshack, I am worried that one of the employees will kill himself while I'm there and I'll have to stick around to make a statement to the police.

There was a woman working there, too. And was pretty and seemed normal except for the obligatory crushed soul.

(That's all I can contribute to the thread without venturing into too-cool "I don't really know/care who the dude is" stuff. But I promise that I have a TV and watch it.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:24 AM on June 5, 2006


Mayor Curley writes "Every time I go into my local Radioshack, I am worried that one of the employees will kill himself while I'm there and I'll have to stick around to make a statement to the police."

This made me laugh (it's funny 'cause it's true!) more than the Doctorow send-up, which also made me laugh.
posted by OmieWise at 11:32 AM on June 5, 2006


rhymer: I was a wage slave (waiter) for several years.

What made me and the people I worked with so special that we are protected from scorn and derision simply because of the kind of job we have?
posted by Captaintripps at 11:33 AM on June 5, 2006


How about:

You've got questions, we've got shrugs.


Or:

You've got questions, we've got batteries.
posted by tristeza at 11:41 AM on June 5, 2006


Incredibly amateurish and unfunny.

Really? "Incredibly"? I'd reserve an adjective like that for, I dunno, missing half the English parts of speech, losing track of the space bar, and saying "banana" in place of a punch line. Why do people so often need to throw in overstated adjectives? If the goal is to get people to take you seriously, it's having the opposite effect.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:43 AM on June 5, 2006


When in a pinch and in need of solder or some random audio connector or power adapter Le Shack hasn't let me down. It's nice to have something nearby that specializes in such stuff. I don't think I'm an idiot, and the solder was of equal quality to that I get anywhere else.

Um, so there.
posted by glenwood at 11:45 AM on June 5, 2006


Banana!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:45 AM on June 5, 2006


George I find your statement extremely and unbelievably true.
posted by glenwood at 11:47 AM on June 5, 2006


I'd never buy any actual electronic device at Radio Shack, but whenever I need an RCA cable, coax cable, extension cord, 3-prong adaptor or similar doodad, they're always there for me. And they haven't asked me any personal questions in ages, possibly because I always told them I was was Clark Kent from Metropolis.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:51 AM on June 5, 2006


Last time I was in a Radio Shack, the guy working the counter was friendly and helped me find exactly what I wanted.

Hey, remember the Radio Shack Armatron? That thing was bad-ass.
posted by skryche at 12:04 PM on June 5, 2006


They have discontinued the policy of asking for the customer's personal information. At least in New York.
posted by bingo at 12:06 PM on June 5, 2006


I had an Armatron, with that exact box with the two nerdy kids on it! I remember trying to use it to play chess--its movement wasn't very precise, and I usually ended up knocking the pieces all over the board.
posted by Prospero at 12:07 PM on June 5, 2006


Radio Shack: You've got questions, do you have a cellphone?
posted by mephron at 12:23 PM on June 5, 2006


Heh, I had an Armatron. I took it completely apart once. I think I wanted to upgrade the motors to something more powerful.

Don't do that. It took me a week to put it back together. It has one motor and about 150 gears, driveshafts and assorted widgets driven by that one underpowered motor through a truly Rube Goldbergian arrangement of molded nylon parts.

Impressive engineering for a toy, even now, but I still can't see how that was cheaper to produce than a robot arm with more dedicated motors.
posted by loquacious at 12:23 PM on June 5, 2006


Some of you should have read the article first.

And some of you shouldn't bitch about the Radio Shack employees.

There's a reason that Radio Shack doesn't hire actual electronics nerds, the kind of thick lensed amateurs who build particle accelerators in their garages and are way into ham radio: those guys can make more than the pittance RS employees are paid just about anywhere else. Don't be surprised when the girl working at Fashion Bug can't design a clothing line or when the dude in the Home Depot apron can't tell you how to fix your foundation: they are underpaid retail employees, and they have little to no training, and no incentive to study late so one day they can maybe find the exact resistors you need, special flower.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:23 PM on June 5, 2006 [2 favorites]


You've got questions, we've got batteries.

Brilliant!

That said, RS is a handy place to pick up random audio jack adapters and cables, not to mention the RF modulator I needed to get my aging TV to work with my DVD player and audio receiver.
posted by emelenjr at 12:27 PM on June 5, 2006


The epilogue about asking for his address is actually where I laughed the hardest, because a few months one of my readers told me that because of a post I wrote, he got into a multi-page argument with Doctorow over the privacy implications of Best Buy asking to see your receipt.

Howdy.

Yeah, so when you compbine the epilogue with the use of Cory's condescending tone towards a retail worker in the humor peice, it sounds pretty cose to the mark.

Now all the writer has to do is have a follw-up whereupon Cory compares the Radio Shack expereince to cameras in dressing rooms spying on his every move, and thay've nailed it!
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:28 PM on June 5, 2006


These:

Banana!
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:45 PM CST on June 5 [+fave] [!]

George I find your statement extremely and unbelievably true.
posted by glenwood at 1:47 PM CST on June 5 [+fave] [!]


made this whole thread worth reading.

Carry on.
posted by jennaratrix at 12:30 PM on June 5, 2006


All I can say for sure is, if you don't know who this Cory fellow is, and you read this, you will not laugh. I have proven this scientifically.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:35 PM on June 5, 2006


You guys need to get out and enjoy the goddamn sunshine! It was funny, it was light, no big deal. Between Doctorow's overcooked philosophizing and slippery-slope all-my-friends-are-digital, damn-the-man eutopianism/paranoia, and the adolescent-nostalgia bullshit that passes for 'aesthetics' on Boing Boing (though Cory's not the worst of the lot), he's ripe for a bit of parody. Hey has anyone read his latest novel? The consensus seems to be that it's a great deal stronger than his previous work, glimpses at which have led me to think he's not a great fiction writer. Am I wrong?

('No Walter, you're not wrong, you're just an asshole.' Why don't people use that line on me more often?)

Sorry for the number of hyphens and uneasy sentence structure. The workday has deadened my mind.
posted by waxbanks at 12:36 PM on June 5, 2006


Go Optimus Chyme, BTW.
posted by waxbanks at 12:37 PM on June 5, 2006


There's a reason that Radio Shack doesn't hire actual electronics nerds, the kind of thick lensed amateurs who build particle accelerators in their garages and are way into ham radio: those guys can make more than the pittance RS employees are paid just about anywhere else.

Oh, sure. Now they can. When I was growing up it seemed like the best job a HAM nut or personal computing hobbyist could ever get was, say, manager of a Radio Shack.

All three of the Radio Shacks I grew up near had one of those two types of people either managing the store or working there.

Hell, even I wanted to work there when I was young and confused.

Now the clueless eletronics retail wage slaves are all at Fry's Electronics. Man that place is confusing - so incredibly full of shiny happy things, yet so unbelievably dull and depressing.
posted by loquacious at 12:39 PM on June 5, 2006


Man, the avatars they've got on COTI (from comment above) are wicked!
posted by cavalier at 12:40 PM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Nice goggles, Cory. You're so cutting edge:


posted by sharksandwich at 12:53 PM on June 5, 2006


Those are no goggles!

Oh, just thought of a brand-new criticism! Get ready!

Why did the author of this piece not stick "whuffie" in there somewhere? The joke's not done yet! It was played-out for a while, but it's due for a comeback!

/waits for laffs

*Disconnected
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:04 PM on June 5, 2006


Guy walks me over to the hi-8 to VHS tape adapters.

Moral: Only an idiot shops at Radioshack.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:02 PM CST on June 5


There is no such thing as a Hi-8 to VHS adapter, only VHS-C to VHS.

Likewise, there is no MiniDV to VHS adapter.

Idiot.

(Help, I'm caught in an ironic vortex, I can't find the exit.)
posted by Ynoxas at 1:10 PM on June 5, 2006


Ze goggles, they do nothing...

Seriously, WTF?
posted by Optamystic at 1:11 PM on June 5, 2006


CORY DOCTOROW: Google maps 37Signals with Flickr iPod.

EMPLOYEE: What?

CORY DOCTOROW: I didn’t say anything. Now, about this cell phone…
Haha, I liked that part.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:15 PM on June 5, 2006


I don't know why people are so down on Cory Doctorow. I loved his "0wnz0red" short story.

Well, I guess I might've loved it a little more when it was called "Blood Music" and he was writing under the pseudonym "Greg Bear."

Zing!
posted by felix at 1:17 PM on June 5, 2006


- those goggles are beautiful in a pure distilled dork way. want. I would never wear them in public. still want.

- this thread is a great example of the Rule of Metafilter Bitching. Present a link that bitches about something Metafilter members have bitched copiously about in the past, and it is you and your link that will be bitched at, not the original target of the bitching. This applies invariably to all nonpolitical subjects. None dare lead Metafilter bitches on a bitchfest! There are only targets.

- word about Fry's being strangely depressing... sort of a technological cornucopia turned into a retail death pit... like a stereotypical cyberpunk street warez bazaar that's been taken over by the Soviet Red Army circa 1969 or something.
posted by furiousthought at 1:20 PM on June 5, 2006


I don't anything about Cory other than he apparently is associated with BoingBoing (which I don't peruse) and he puts out some work free for download (which I haven't read.)

Still found it mildly amusing.
posted by juiceCake at 1:20 PM on June 5, 2006


Bardic: And don't expect them to know much about mushrooms either. . .

I'm still smiling. Nice one.
posted by Sk4n at 1:27 PM on June 5, 2006


I don't know why people are so down on Cory Doctorow. I loved his "0wnz0red" short story.

Well, I guess I might've loved it a little more when it was called "Blood Music" and he was writing under the pseudonym "Greg Bear."

Zing!


Ahahahahahahahahaha... damn. Best zinger of the whole thread, but, eh, like I've mentioned before I'm a big fat nerd, and I've not only read both stories but I've written Greg Bear for permission to use an extensive quote from Blood Music in a review I did of the book in a writeup that lives over on E2. (Warning: Some spoilers.)

'Tis a small world, really. And Greg Bear seemed awfully nice. (Cory is, too. That wasn't a comparative statement.)
posted by loquacious at 1:32 PM on June 5, 2006


This Doctorow, it deserves mockery?
posted by boombot at 1:35 PM on June 5, 2006


We don't seem to have Radio Shacks here in Vancouver anymore. They've all morphed into "THE SOURCE by CIRCUIT CITY".

Same thing in Ontario for a while now, which does make the story somewhat anachronistic. But "Cory Doctorow visits The Source" wouldn't sound right. Maybe having him visit a new Apple Store would have been more timely...Employee: You're not getting AppleCare?! My God, James come here, he's not buying AppleCare.
posted by bobo123 at 1:41 PM on June 5, 2006


This Doctorow, it deserves mockeryparody?

Parody, yes. As Mel Brooks puts it in Spaceballs: The Documentary!: You can only spoof what you love.

Paging Mr. Doctorow! Paging Mr. Doctorow!

Mr. Doctorow, would you please grace us with your presence and say a few words about how you feel about parody? Thanks.
posted by loquacious at 1:41 PM on June 5, 2006


Uh, I liked it because the employee wins that battle by not being Cory Doctorow.
posted by ninjew at 1:42 PM on June 5, 2006


Ahhh, the old parody bit... it's odd but nice for getting even.

/hangs self
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:45 PM on June 5, 2006


It was reasonably funny and I hope Cory can take the joke (the best bit was, well, the same bit everyone else mentioned).

I saw him speak at last year's dconstruct in Brighton and thought he was pretty good. We need people like him to hassle and shout about companies like Sony when they start introducing things like root kits into the world.
posted by TheDonF at 2:07 PM on June 5, 2006


Oh gods!

I had the mobile armatron. And haven't thought about it for probably 15 years. Wow.
posted by thecjm at 2:16 PM on June 5, 2006


I was amazed to find out last year that Radio Shack still sells electronic components. Of course, I had to find them (well-hidden in the store) by myself, and then escape before they tried to sell me a cell phone, batteries, or a satellite TV system.

I do have to give the local RS credit - the manager there actually drove to another store and picked up the Parallax BASIC Stamp kit that I ordered so I could pick it up there instead of driving all the way across Houston to get the only one available in the metro area...
posted by mrbill at 2:19 PM on June 5, 2006


Well, for the record:

1. I like parody

2. This was funny in parts

3. I wish he'd used a more recent photo
posted by doctorow at 2:21 PM on June 5, 2006


If you live in Berkeley, check out Al Lasher's Electronics. You'll never again set foot in a Radio Shack.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:27 PM on June 5, 2006


Cory, if you hated this, it would make better copy. Just saying.
posted by chicobangs at 2:30 PM on June 5, 2006


> (Has anyone EVER seen a female Radio Shack employee, btw?)

The Shack is like the dwarves in LOTR. They have females but no one knows what they look like.
posted by jfuller at 2:31 PM on June 5, 2006


That photo was pretty bad. I've got some hiding somewhere like it. Thanks for the reply.

See? You suckers. Not all parody and poking fun is bad.
posted by loquacious at 2:31 PM on June 5, 2006


Also, I just won The Game.
posted by loquacious at 2:32 PM on June 5, 2006


the radio shack near my house actually has an alarmingly attractive team of young ladies who know where stuff is. seriously.

you guys are starting to make me feel like a radio shack shill.
posted by glenwood at 2:48 PM on June 5, 2006


Me too, me too, I had an armatron too!

And I think it's a pity that soulless chain retail stores which hire fools have driven out small local specialist stores with knowledgeable employees.

But mostly I just wanted to announce that I had an armatron.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 3:22 PM on June 5, 2006


Other than the 'asking for data bit' (no longer true here anyway) pretty much all the Radio Shack characterizations in this thread can be applied as true at my local - even the contradictory ones. Trash and treasures, soul-crushed and happenin', female employees, albeit a rarity in a dense cloud of males, clueless and clued. And they always try to sell me a cell phone. Always. If I'm holding my own phone in my hand when I enter, they try to convince me I must be unhappy with it.
posted by cairnish at 3:22 PM on June 5, 2006


(Has anyone EVER seen a female Radio Shack employee, btw?)

Once. I had nightmares about it for months afterwards.
posted by antifreez_ at 3:23 PM on June 5, 2006


Why do people so often need to throw in overstated adjectives? If the goal is to get people to take you seriously, it's having the opposite effect.

It's not, and you might want to have that pole lodged up your incredibly tight ass checked out.
posted by mkultra at 4:10 PM on June 5, 2006


Hey, I'm just happy I got my Doctorow Number down to single digits.
posted by boombot at 4:20 PM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Really? "Incredibly"? I'd reserve an adjective like that for, I dunno, missing half the English parts of speech, losing track of the space bar, and saying "banana" in place of a punch line. Why do people so often need to throw in overstated adjectives? If the goal is to get people to take you seriously, it's having the opposite effect.

* cough *

What's the story on those goggles, anyway?
posted by craniac at 4:41 PM on June 5, 2006


But in all seriousness, I think the Doctorow Hate comes largely from the fact that he's what the 2600ers call a scene whore. He takes -- call it sampling if you must -- from the hacker zeitgeist, wraps it up in mediocre writing, and goes and gets money and accolades for it. He's the Eric Raymond, if you will, of speculative fiction.

I think people would cut him some slack if he were an informed scene whore -- like Charlie Stross -- or had writing skill -- like Charlie Stross -- or were not bleakly derivative. Where he gets into trouble is that he often throws in risible technojargon just because he thinks it sounds cool (irritating to techies); has a writing ear of solid tin; and is apparently desperately mining 80s SF for his stories. In the case of Blood Music -- Greg Bear must indeed be an _awfully_ nice person...because Cory still has enough money left around unsued to be able to continue wearing stupid goggles like he was 20, rather than 35.
posted by felix at 5:02 PM on June 5, 2006 [3 favorites]


"I was amazed to find out last year that Radio Shack still sells electronic components"

Yeah, they are hidden in the drawers in the back of the store, they reduced the number of items they carry, and there's only 2 or 3 of each item in stock. I've actually gone "shack hopping" to get all the parts i needed for a certain project, but i only go to rat shack when i'm desperate.

However, a lot of stores are going out of business right now, the electronic components are 60% off!
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 5:15 PM on June 5, 2006


Cory, if you hated this, it would make better copy. Just saying.

Or you could send out a DMCA takedown notice. Think of the irony!
posted by arto at 5:35 PM on June 5, 2006


The Radio Shack near my house features an incredibly hot 20-something brunette who is also nerd-friendly and geekpatible. It's almost beyond belief, but I ain't complaining!

I also ain't saying where it is... suckas!
posted by Aquaman at 5:42 PM on June 5, 2006


Cory's a m3nch with a sense of humor, and it was kind of funny.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:42 PM on June 5, 2006


Incredibly brilliant, craniac.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:45 PM on June 5, 2006


Incredibly amateurish and unfunny. Especially because, we wendell noted, the setup ought to be a comedy gold mine.
posted by mkultra at 10:55 AM PST on June 5 [+fave] [!]

Really? "Incredibly"? I'd reserve an adjective like that for, I dunno, missing half the English parts of speech, losing track of the space bar, and saying "banana" in place of a punch line. Why do people so often need to throw in overstated adjectives? If the goal is to get people to take you seriously, it's having the opposite effect.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:43 AM PST on June 5 [+fave] [!]


I read mkultra's comment and just figured he was this guy incognito.

I thought the post was funny, even though I couldn't quite place Cory Doctorow till I saw the first BoingBoing reference in the comments here. I just replaced the actual Cory with a generic ubergeek security freak (look! I made a poem!), and it worked just fine for me.

And I went into a Radio Shack about three weeks ago and immediately found the weird little battery I needed to replace in my doorbell button. I was pleasantly astounded.
posted by diddlegnome at 6:05 PM on June 5, 2006


The Radio Shack near my house features an incredibly hot 20-something brunette who is also nerd-friendly and geekpatible. It's almost beyond belief, but I ain't complaining!

I also ain't saying where it is... suckas!


Damn your scurvy hide. WHICH ONE!?
posted by loquacious at 6:15 PM on June 5, 2006


I'll never understand this fascination that non-geeky people have with pretending to be geeky, and gushing nonstop about geeky topics without ever really understanding them in a deeper way than your average schmoe with a subscription to Discover magazine.
BoingBoing is the flag-bearer of this movement.
posted by nightchrome at 6:27 PM on June 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I love coming back to a thread after 4 or 5 hours and seeing it completely mutated.
posted by slatternus at 6:45 PM on June 5, 2006


Many years ago I wandered stoned into my local Radio Shack looking for an AC adapter for my new-to-me TR-606 and accidentally called the place "Rat Shack" to the employee's face. I quickly apologized but he said "It is a rat shack."
posted by exogenous at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2006


OK, I have a confession to make.

Every time someone has mentioned Cory Doctorow, or I have read about Cory Doctorow, I mistook him for the author E.L. Doctorow. Imagine my confusion thinking the author of Billy Bathgate was somehow connected to BlingBling, or whatever. Now I know better. Thank you Metafilter, and everyone who has posted to this thread.

And I hate hate hate hate hate Radio Shack. It seems to me someone should write a parody that lampoons them both somehow. Or me, for that matter. Me and my ignorance.
posted by drinkcoffee at 7:29 PM on June 5, 2006


drinkcoffee: They are related, you know.

Not that that makes them the same person.
posted by bingo at 7:39 PM on June 5, 2006


"BoingBoing is the flag-bearer of this movement."

Only because it took the "cargo cult nerd fetishism" flag away from Mondo 2000.
posted by majick at 8:06 PM on June 5, 2006


"cargo cult nerd fetishism"
majick: Fantastic. Consider that stolen.
posted by nightchrome at 8:11 PM on June 5, 2006


Hey a big "F - you" to Cory who ever you are and who ever wrote that and all the other snot nosed anti R-shack comments. You get demerits for too-easy-of-a-target sniping. . If Radio Shack didnt exist you'd wish it did. I'm happy there's a couple in my city to got to to get doo-dads and cables to hook shit together.
Sometimes mediocrity is all you need.
I think the Beatles said that ...
posted by celerystick at 8:43 PM on June 5, 2006


Late to the game, but Captaintripps - I blame the decline of Radio Shack at just about the time I was getting interested in electronics, late in elementary school, the reason why I'm a poor biologist playing around with squicky things like cells and DNA.
posted by porpoise at 8:53 PM on June 5, 2006


Every time someone has mentioned Cory Doctorow, or I have read about Cory Doctorow, I mistook him for the author E.L. Doctorow

Heh. Me too.

I kept waiting for the point where the racist sheriff comes into Radio Shack and confiscates his car, because he doesn't believe that a black man like Cory can afford to own a car like that.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:57 PM on June 5, 2006


Hey, I'm just happy I got my Doctorow Number down to single digits.

I'm just happy my user number is so much more oldschool than his.

Also, if I were an unreasonable person, I'd make something of the fact that the sole content of Cory's userpage is his own comment in this thread. However, I'm a reasonable person and I like pressing shiny buttons, so I'm assuming he was just trying that shit out.
posted by cortex at 9:12 PM on June 5, 2006


(That is, the sole content of his user-specific favorites page. But you're all reasonable people, so I'm sure I'll escape with my hide.)
posted by cortex at 9:14 PM on June 5, 2006


f you live in Berkeley, check out Al Lasher's Electronics. You'll never again set foot in a Radio Shack.

and if you live in Houston, check out Electronic Parts Outlet (aka "EPO") on Fondren. It's like a Radio Shack, a ham shack, and a surplus electronics store exploded and they just stuffed everything back into a single building. It reminds me seriously of the "good old days" of Radio Shack.
posted by mrbill at 9:47 PM on June 5, 2006


Looks like celerystick has the wrong end of the stick, too.

Hey, celerystick? Measure twice, cut once, mon.

Only because it took the "cargo cult nerd fetishism" flag away from Mondo 2000.

Holy fuck, don't remind me. I miss that magazine so much. Such a shiny, weird, squicky future we were supposed to have.

HEY R.U. SIRIUS?! WHERE THE FUCKS MY GODDAMN VR TELEDILDONIC SYSTEMS? I'M SUPPOSED TO BE HAVING SEX WITH MY FUCKING PHONE BY NOW!!!

*sobs quietly in the corner.
posted by loquacious at 9:53 PM on June 5, 2006


Oh, while I'm at it:

*lynches cortex*
posted by loquacious at 9:54 PM on June 5, 2006


bingo - They [Cory & E.L.] are related, you know.

As of this May 2004 WaPo chat, E.L. could neither confirm nor deny that. Apparently it's based solely on the word of Cory's parents.

Q: Are you aware of the work of Cory Doctorow, whom I've read is a distant relative of yours?

A: When I was giving a reading in Toronto or Montreal, his parents came by to suggest our connection. For all I know we may be related distantly but I have no way of checking that out.
posted by pruner at 12:06 AM on June 6, 2006


Hey a big "F - you" to Cory who ever you are and who ever wrote that and all the other snot nosed anti R-shack comments. You get demerits for too-easy-of-a-target sniping. . If Radio Shack didnt exist you'd wish it did. I'm happy there's a couple in my city to got to to get doo-dads and cables to hook shit together.
Sometimes mediocrity is all you need.
I think the Beatles said that ...
posted by celerystick at 8:43 PM PST on June 5


There is no way you can be serious.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:57 AM on June 6, 2006


If you live in Boston, check out "You-do-it" Electronics Center.

And if you know of any other such stores in the greater Boston area (particularly Cambridge), I'd appreciate knowing about them. (The ones I knew about have all closed.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:34 AM on June 6, 2006


I got several un-DRM'd, advert auto-skipping, internetworked ReplayTVs at RS a few years back. RS was selling ReplayTV when every other store was selling the inferior Tivo. For this alone, RS wins. Also, I like being able to walk in and get cheap switchable transformers and plugs for obscure mp3 players and other orphaned electronics from eBay. Of course, the Rs *staff* never has a clue about anything except cellphones, but so what? I don't go there for an education.
posted by meehawl at 12:07 PM on June 28, 2006


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