Before leaving this question behind, I want to say that I’m personally very unenlightened and not a dropped-out Taoist blockhead master by a long shot. In fact, I despise being perceived by people with money, power, and influence as “marginal.” I think it harms me – it assumes that I can’t have as much agency in this world as they have. I think there’s some kind of dynamic at work there where those with a certain lingering market-consensus mentality assert their dominance by taming people and ideas that might otherwise be challenging. They do this by “loving” outsiders qua outsiders, and defining them within the marketspace as having there own little place of acceptance – a place on the far end of the “long tail.”
So, what made Mondo 2000 so special? It was, in my opinion, the best alternative culture magazine that America ever had. They wrote about smart drugs, brain implants, virtual reality, cyberpunk, Cthulhupunk and cryogenics. They covered Laibach and Lydia Lunch in the same issue. The pantheon of writers was a force to be reckoned with: Bruce Sterling, Robert Anton Wilson, and William Gibson all lent their talents, and there was even a Burroughs vs. Leary interview face-off. Then there was the famous U2-Negativland interview, in which Negativland, disguised as reporters, interviewed U2 into a corner to reveal the band’s hypocrisy over their lawsuit against Negativland over sampling. All in all, the magazine took risks. ‘The good dream for me and Mondo,’ said editor R.U. Sirius in an interview with Purple Prose, ‘is overcoming the limits of biology without necessarily leaving sensuality or sexuality behind.’ Issue after issue, Mondo 2000 threw a sexy dystopian bash and invited the decade’s best thinkers.
See also: My 2002 interview with R.U. Sirius.