Goffman, Ken 1952–
Goffman, Ken 1952–
(R. U. Sirius)
PERSONAL: Born 1952.
ADDRESSES: Home—Mill Valley, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Villard Books, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Writer and lecturer. Musician in band MV. Founder of magazines Mondo 2000 and Thresher. Revolution Party, chairman and candidate for presidential campaign, 2000.
UNDER PSEUDONYM R. U. SIRIUS
(Editor, with Rudy Rucker and Queen Mu) Mondo 2000: A User's Guide to the New Edge, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 1992.
Cyberpunk Handbook: The Real Cyberpunk Fakebook, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.
How to Mutate and Take over the World, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Timothy Leary) Design for Dying, HarperEdge (New York, NY), 1997.
Twenty-first Century Revolutionary: R. U. Sirius 1984–1998, Fringecore, 1999.
The Revolution: Quotations from Revolution Party Chairman R. U. Sirius, Feral House, 2000.
(With Dan Joy) Counterculture through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House, Villard (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Esquire, LA Weekly, Wired, Disinformation, and Salon. Columnist for Wired News, 21C, and San Francisco Examiner.
SIDELIGHTS: Ken Goffman is better known as R. U. Sirius, a cultural commentator whose magazine Mondo 2000 was on the cutting edge of digital culture in the early 1990s. Goffman's association with countercultural movements goes back to the 1960s and his association with Timothy Leary, the legendary proponent of hallucinogenic drug use. As time passed, Goffman's interests turned to new technology and its implications for the counterculture, as well as alternative politics. In 2000, he ran for president as a candidate of the Revolution Party. His books published under his R. U. Sirius pseudonym include How to Mutate and Take over the World, Cyberpunk Handbook: The Real Cyberpunk Fakebook, and Counterculture through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House.
In Counterculture through the Ages Goffman and collaborator Dan Joy provide a history of creative rebellion through the centuries. Reaching back to ancient history, the book identifies Abraham and Prometheus as some of the original societal dropouts. Ensuing chapters look at countercultural currents as expressed in jazz, the Beat writers, the punk movement, and cyberculture. Goffman discusses the philosophies of men such as Thomas Jefferson and John Locke, whose ideas were at the foundation of American society. He shows how they "helped create a framework that underwrote an ongoing social and scientific revolution that gives people more freedom to choose how to pursue happiness on something like their own terms," according to Washington Post contributor Nick Gillespie, who identified Counterculture through the Ages as "an unabashed defense of Enlightenment ideas about individualism, science and material progress," as well as "a madcap trip across time and myth, a sort of Ken and Dan's excellent adventure that stresses the Promethean impulse to steal fire and give it to the common man."
Reviewing Counterculture through the Ages for Booklist, Brendan Driscoll noted approvingly that Goffman "steers clear of overtheorizing" in a book that is "always engaging, often inspiring." Janet Ingraham, a contributor to Library Journal, also pointed out that Goffman achieves "scholarly focus" without losing his "enthusiasm and arch wit."
Asked how he felt about being considered a spokesperson for the countercultural world, Goffman told an interviewer for La Spirale: "I mostly try to speak for myself, and not worry too much about that. If invited to punditize from an anti-authoritarian or counterculture perspective, most hip people will know that I really only represent myself, and maybe I'm able to get a few worthy ideas into the discourse." He added that when writing Counterculture through the Ages he felt he was "corresponding with an intelligent, open-minded, mainstream American person."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2004, Brendan Driscoll, review of Counterculture through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House, p. 286.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of Counterculture through the Ages, p. 786.
Library Journal, September 15, 2004, Janet Ingraham, review of Counterculture through the Ages, p. 71.
Washington Post, December 9, 2004, Nick Gillespie, review of Counterculture through the Ages, p. C10.
Fringecore.comhttp://www.fringecore.com/ (February 8, 2005), Dee, interview with Goffman.
La Spirale Online, http://laspirale.org/ (February 8, 2005), interview with Goffman.
Metroactive.com, http://www.metroactive.com/ (February 8, 2005), Gary Singh, review of Counterculture through the Ages.
Mindjack.com, http://www.mindjack.com/ (February 20, 2005), Donald Melanson, interview with Goffman.
New World Disorder Web site, http:/www.newworlddisorder.ca/ (June, 2002), interview with Goffman
Orlando Weekly Online, http://www.orlandoweekly.com/ (January 6, 2005), Ian Monroe, interview with Goffman.
Shift.com, http://www.shift.com/ (February 8, 2005), interview with Goffman.