Angry and Astute

As Sojourners' culture czar, I like to keep myself, and I hope others, in touch with some of the happenings in the worlds of popular and print culture. We will regularly attempt to define some of the terms bandied about here: from "virtual reality" to "postmodernism," from "grunge" to "ska," from "smart drinks" to "guerrilla theatre."

Today's assignment: the cyberpunk movement.

Angry and Astute

The cyberpunk movement is a growing, media-popular subculture in America. "Cyber" of course refers to computers; "punk" relates to the youth rebellion of the early '80s. Cyberpunk is the space created by the collision of technology, fantasy, reality, and pop culture. Think of it as science faction.

Cyberpunks draw their lineage from punk rebels and hacker-geeks, making a hybrid hip hacker. These are folks with a fairly powerful analysis about what's wrong with society, and they have an equally powerful tool for righting the perceived wrongs: technological innovation, especially in the form of computer invasion.

To the business world they are nothing but scoundrels and thiefs; to the marginalized they are something of a merry band, offering vengeance on the silver-spooned of society and redistribution of wealth.

Recently Julie Caniglia of the Twin Cities' City Pages met with a couple of Minneapolis cyberpunks (Kid Thalidomide and St. Vitus) who live off their street and hacker skills. These two ride computer waves, looking to access information and gain revenge against their enemies.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 1993
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