Friday, July 13, 2012

Voice(s) of America...(and elsewhere)

As a kind of postscript to yesterday's news is this related tidbit.  If you remember, Mac's - and consequently our - story became the basis for Rob Walker's NY Times article "Cyberspace When You're Dead" last year. As it so happens, this issue has been addressed again via a short Voice of America radio broadcast created by reporter and journalist extraordinaire, Adam Phillips.

Adam chatted with some of us recently regarding our endeavors to extend Mac's cyberspace life and the broadcast features  comments from Mac's mom, Dana Tonnies, Mark Plattner and yours truly, discussing issues which should be familiar to y'all by now.

That being said, Voice of America broadcasts are not  aired in the USA, though there is a live stream on their website and a podcast available eventually (I think). However, here's a link to the transcript: "In Death, Who Owns Your Online Afterlife?".


Image by Brian Froud

Meanwhile, Adam has a number of interesting podcasts found within his online files, one of which I listened to the other night and throughly enjoyed.

Remember this excerpt from Mac's last book (published posthumously)?

"Finally, I wondered the unthinkable: what if the antics of the" absurd humanoids" documented by Vallee weren't the work of some overarching intelligence? What if they happened just as reported, without the need to invoke externally imposed psychosocial thermostats?

This notion struck me as deliciously ironic. It suggested that the encounters with nonhumans that haunt our folklore were real, not necessarily projections preying on our gullibility. Could "fairies" and" elves" -and all their mythical successors-be distorted representations of an actual species?

While curiously appealing, the idea seemed totally orthogonal to science. Psychologists maintain that legendary "little people" are beings of the mind, the brain's instinctive attempt to populate the darkness. They're also quick to point out that modern accounts of spindly gray aliens are almost certainly due to fantasy-prone personalities, poorly trained therapists, and hallucinations experienced during episodes of sleep paralysis.

This analysis is attractive on several levels. It neatly does away with the specter of the Other we repeatedly encounter in myths. It also assuages our fears that our world might be fair game for dispassionate ET scientists, with their glittering probes and omnipotent saucers.

Alas, it fails."

Mac, Jacques Vallee, and others, had a specific interest in faerie lore and it's relation to other paranormal "mythology" - specifically that of  extraterrestrial entities.

Well, Adam Phillips takes us to Ireland, where we can hear first-hand accounts of encounters with Ireland's "Good Neighbors"... those indigenous - and anomalous - entities that comprise the most ancient of all Celtic races - often purported to reside in a parallel Otherworld - the daoine sídhe. If interested, that podcast can be found here.


  1. The image of 'araqinta' on Post Human blues intrigued me- as did the name- and I did a search and found this site! Never been here... I didn't know Mac Tonnies. Only discovered him a short time before his death...

    He had a unique voice and a perspective that seemed... very hospitable... to extraordinary possibilities... and the impossible as well. Like Beauty the Impossible is in the eye of the beholder isn't it..?

    I haven't had the time yet to explore your site... but I will. Thanks!

    1. And, thank you, James, for your input! Hopefully you'll find something here of some use.

      Yes, Mac's was the one-of-a-kind class act that broke the mold and many of us still mourn his loss. This blog was an attempt to fill that void, although I don't post here very much any longer.

      Oh, I think just about everything is in the mind's eye of the beholder! ;-)

      Happy hunting, and the very best to you,

    2. PS By"void" I'm not referring to Mac's internet presence... I don't think anyone could replace him. I'm talking about that inner void created by personal loss.