To Whom It May Concern,
I saw your mag peeking out of the magazine shelves at the local newsstand, and the name sounded familiar so I picked it up and noticed the interview with Chris Goggans advertised on the cover. As I started to flip through it, I realized that this was a pretty cool mag.
I bought it, brought it home, read it cover to cover, and am impressed. I am so impressed, I would like to get all of the available back issues. Enclosed is a check to cover expenses for issues 1-5. Thanx in advance and keep up the good work!
After sampling two issues of Gray Areas, the last two, with the financial assistance of my father, here is U.S. fundage for the next four issues of your wonderful magazine. Into the wee hours of the morning did I find myself reading Gray Areas , and consequently do not think I did as well on my Physics test as I would have liked had I been reading 2600 <grin>. Now I will have no reason to leave the house since Gray Areas is delivered to the door <grin>.
Thanks for everything.
Issue #5 was super! Your interviews with the two "crackers" read like detective stories. I read both in one sitting and even though I am computer illiterate and didn't understand about a dozen terms, I couldn't put the thing down.
I also enjoyed the phone phreak article, smart drugs, and of course all the reviews! I even read some stuff I don't usually read like the S/M dominatrix interview. So you're going to keep all of this coming? Great.
Time to resubscribe. The features on hackers and the WELL break-ins were fascinating - I guess more for the reader than for the participants.
As for future directions for the magazine, I guess I'm really quite happy with things more or less as they are now. To a greater or lesser degree it's all quite interesting. Personally I enjoy the computer and communications related stuff most but other items are at least of passing interest and most likely not to be found elsewhere so I'd be reluctant to suggest that they be curtailed. Items on live video and audio tapes are also really useful and all the review sections are read with gusto. Stuff about smart drugs and the items on the various aspects of the sex industry are of peripheral interest but at least worth a read.
Thanks for your amazing article on the WELL. It certainly takes the glamour out of E-mail and online services to realize that one's private correspondence can easily become so much public property. That's disturbing enough, but the longer-term hostility incurred by your quest for the truth is even worse to contemplate. I'd call it a social disease.
Well, anyway, thanks for what you do. It's truly inspiring.
Dear Netta and Alan:
First, let me compliment you on the consistently high quality of your publication. The caliber of your work more than justifies the slight risk I took in subscribing to an unproven periodical.
To date, Gray Areas has been illuminating, both in its coverage of my areas of interest and in exposing me to other viewpoints and other areas of concern. In many ways, Gray Areas seems tailored for my background and interests. Your coverage of the computer underground, in particular the privacy issues raised by your coverage of the break-in at the WELL, was sobering and cautionary and of great value. I can expect no more from a publication.
In many ways, I feel that Gray Areas is more closely tailored to my interests than any other periodical currently on the market. For many years I wrote advertising copy; my work included both creating trademarks and all but infringing on them for a large department stores private label soft goods -- I'm fascinated by the way trademarks and brand names are used to create "meaning" and associations. Subsequently, I received a master's in social work and am still interested in both orthodox and unorthodox views of the mind. Currently, I'm an attorney representing large financial institutions and concerned with the legal implications of conduct. I once collected records and still play Grateful Dead tapes while I drive in my car. I'm even writing this on a home computer that my kids use for games in the daytime.
I'm looking forward to the next several years of Gray Areas .
Dear Gray Areas, Netta, et al,
Kudos on another excellent issue. I found the interview with Chris Goggans to be highly interesting, and I have absolutely no interest in computers apart from the most basic word processing stuff. I cannot wait to read your interview with Mike Gordon. I have had the opportunity to speak with him on many an occasion, and have always found him to be interesting and incredibly sincere, even when talking to tourheads like me.
My ass hurts from how hard your Fall issue kicked it.
HACKERS SPEAK OUT
Below are comments sent to Netta as messages on IRC (Internet Relay Chat):
* R U Netta? Kewl. I like your zine... inspiring <grin>. You're a kewl writer, interesting that is.
* Just picked up the new issue of your mag. Fascinating as usual.
* You've changed my mind about curse words. I used to think it was free speech, but now I think it's just ignorant.
* Are you the magazine people or just a normal person? (Netta replied "both") I got a couple of copies while I was in Vegas at Defcon. Loved 'em.
* You aren't connected with the mag are ya? I read it a few times. What do you do for it? Holy (censored). Should I bow down now <grin>? I like it a lot! You've done a GREAT job so far and I hope it continues... we NEED more magazines like yours.
* I liked the latest issue, especially the porn star. Jes kidding - it was good.
* I read the article on Erik B. That was really interesting. You'd done your homework before you talked with him.
* Werd to your magazine.
* Regarding the interview with Erik B., it's amazing YOU got so many words in. Good job.
* Caught your new issue.... c'est chouette!
* Great f---en mag.
* Are you going to HoHoCon? The only reason I'd come is to see you.
* Your mag sucks. It caters to lamers. You praise hackers and then complain when one of your writers gets hacked.
FEEDBACK ON ARTICLES
TRUE, BLUE, GRAY
Had to write to applaud the article "True Cop, Blue Cop, Gray Cop" by Jack Duggan in Vol. 3 No. 2. Pure common sense from the first word to last. Excellent!
Dear Ms. Gilboa,
I was going to order your zine from Xines, Inc., whose catalogue I had received after reading Factsheet 5. Then I saw it in a book store and snapped it up. It was even better than I expected it to be, with intriguing articles, essays, and reviews. I subscribe to at least ten magazines, and buy dozens more on an occasional basis. I'd put Gray Areas on a par with Ben Is Dead, Women & Guns and The Idler. But I must comment on the "True Cop, Blue Cop, Gray Cop" piece by Jack Duggan in the Fall 1994 issue.
I have known many police officers over the past several years, and so I agree with much of the article regarding different phases of attitude during time spent "on the job." I also agree with most of his realities of crime and the justice system, regarding gun control and the drug war. But we disagree on the subject of rape. Sexual gratification plays a part in this crime, but to say that this is the sole purpose of rape, and that "Violence can be inflicted on the citizenry with a teeming profusion of available weapons in our society, but a penis makes a poor truncheon" shows unbelievable ignorance. Numerous books and articles have been written on this subject, so I'll be brief: a penis actually makes a very effective weapon, and the act of sexual torture, which is simply another term for rape, is one of the worst assaults you can commit upon another human being.
To use one of Duggan's phrases: "Think about it." To propose that rape is not used to punish women (or men, in prison) is to live in a different world than the one I live in. Also consider: why do people use the word "rape" in business deals, such as "We got raped on that one" or in discussions of environmental catastrophe, such as "We are raping the Earth?" Are these people sexually gratifying their partners in bad business deals or sexually gratifying themselves with the Earth? Of course not. They are punishing and violating them. Mr. Duggan may never have known anyone who had to suffer through this wrenching crime of violence, but I have known several. I resent the trivialization of rape, which is what I see in this article, as well as those phrases I listed above.
Also, in the end of the part about child abuse, he wonders why pedophiles are not extended "the same grand benevolence" as society now grants gays. Speaking as a bisexual queer, I'll note that while we don't seem to be rounded up for our "crimes" anymore, we are certainly still considered to be criminals in the many states where homosexuality is still on the books as a crime, ranging from misdemeanor to felony. We are still considered to be criminals by the highest court in the land. Remember "Bowers vs. Hardwick"?
But I haven't gotten to Duggan's question about this benevolence: "And if not, why not?" I'll tell you why not - what we do is consensual. Even in cases where pedophiles claim that the relationships are consensual, the burden of responsibility is always on the adult. The risk of exploitation is too great. I can't believe that in 1994 I have to tell people the difference between gays and pedophiles! I could go on, but this letter is long enough.
Despite the fact that I am a commissioned law enforcement officer (patrolman), I have always felt that the rights of the individual have been compromised by the system. In reading your article, "True Cop, Blue Cop, Gray Cop," I sense a bitterly honest man raising an outcry against the immoral and unethical actions of those who are placed in power to protect us. And if he is bitter, so what? We all should be, at the injustices suffered by honest people in our society! Not enough people are aware, and even fewer are brave enough, to stand up to a system that condemns, then attempts to destroy, those who exercise their right to free speech. I applaud Jack Duggan, and those like him, who are willing to stand up for what is right, and speak of what they have a mouth full! Your readers should know that he is telling it like it is, and that he is, or must have been, involved in law enforcement to know what he is sharing with us.
Netta, your magazine is exactly what society needs. I am glad that I stumbled onto it in the newsstands! I had heard about it before, but until now was not lucky enough to know where to mail my subscription fees to.
Let me share a little about myself. I have been employed as a patrolman for some fourteen years now, and throughout that time, I have attempted to do right by those I serve. It has been an uphill battle. There has been many a time that I have had to try to correct a wrong, done by the system, to people that have not appeared guilty of any wrongdoing. Regrettably, I have not always been successful. I have, however, always had total success at making myself an irritant to those who would just as soon take the easy route, as to do the right thing. Cops are, after all, somewhat lazy at times, and the administrators that guide us can be far worse.
Corrections are in order regarding Erik Twight's Hawkwind tape review on page 124 of the Fall issue.
First, there seems to be more dispute as to the date of this tape than any other live Hawkwind tape. While 8/10/74 is the date according to most lists, the correct date is 9/22/73, which can be verified by the song selection ("It's So Easy" and "Time We Left" weren't on the setlist at that point in 1974) and the very audible presence of Michael Moorcock, who does most of the reciting here, including the still evolving "Warrior On The Edge Of Time" sections which Hawkwind would adapt and use on-stage for the next two years.
This tape is unique compared to other live tapes from what we'll call Hawkwind's "Lemmy Era" (late '71 to mid '75) because there's a long improvisation on it, lasting around 20 minutes.
It's a lot easier to determine the players on a given Hawkwind performance than Erik Twight suggests, especially through the 1970s. Twight is correct in saying this is one of the better Hawkwind tapes from the "Lemmy Era," and that many others sound awful, but there are several worth hearing, and I just might submit reviews of them in the near future.
ERIK BLOODAXE INTERVIEW
In response to your E-mail comment that "ErikB is not selling those files, Legion of Doom is and he handles the transactions."
To me it is the same thing... Ok. I just pulled an old Phrack (44) out of my (work) computer and saw the "Project" outline. I was wrong. They aren't jerks. They are pathetic jerks. First I was worried about the money--now I am worried about their motives, period. Not that us "hacker elites" aren't assholes sometimes, but we DO have an INTENSE privacy thing going. He wants to let out all our "secrets." Hell if people want the message bases so bad, tell him to upload them to an internet site. At least then I wouldn't (and most likely other people) wouldn't feel so 1984 about all of this. These are OUR thoughts. This is OUR allnighters on BBSes back when a 2400 baud modem was something special and wonderful and unique and OH...some of us prefer(red) the BBSing to sex, to food, to drugs, to sleep, to EVERYTHING.
And we thought we had privacy.
And we thought we had the right to say whatever we wanted to say.
And we thought we had the right to post whatever we wanted to post.
Does he realize that some of those posts have activities attached to them which put some of us in danger of being arrested, or under suspicion, or worse? Some things are sacred. Some things have NO statute of limitations, and even if they did, do you think that the "law professions" wouldn't think twice to find some other way to snag people NOW, 5,6,7 years down the road? I'm 21. I've been in trouble with the law over these things already. It isn't pleasant or fun, in fact jail is piss boring.
I don't mean to rant like this, but I didn't realize how strongly I felt about this subject until I reread the Phrack from last year. Now I am absolutely boiling. And that is hard to do, get me angry.
Well, if you wanted to provoke, as journalism is sworn to be meant for, then bravo... But even if I am pissed off at ErikB., I guess I can see where he is coming from. I wonder if he can say the same thing to me???
Please don't let him take this personally. He is a REALLY cool guy otherwise. I just think he/they should have been (a) marketing major(s).
(Oh, and publish away, if your heart desires, this post--you may be selling it (and I certainly feel your magazine is worth the $5.50 I pay at Borders for it (the mail around here is notoriously bad), but I am doing it with PRECOGNITION, which is the fundamental difference between the aforementioned and the current project ...)
KURT COBAIN'S SUICIDE
It was just an hour ago that I first picked up a copy of Gray Areas in Barnes and Noble. I've never heard of this magazine but was intrigued by the title. The first piece I read was a small article about Kurt Cobain's suicide. Although the issue has become somewhat trite, what I read in this magazine was anything but that. It was all I needed to read before I brought the copy over to the cashier. My thought sof Kurt have not begun to subside, but I have grown so tired of what seems to be ridiculous publications of many ignorant opinions. This is the first reference I've ever read to suicide which invites uninhibited expression to the issue, especially in relevance to Kurt Cobain.
Regardless of whether Kurt was dissatisfied with his current life, nostalgic for a past one, or eager for the next, he was, as anyone is, entitled to decipher for himself whether or not he can continue living. It is inevitable that we will miss him, but either way, now or twenty years from now, people will miss him. Perhaps not the same people, but he will be missed. Why did his early decision offend so many, if eventually it will happen anyway? The bitterness expressed by fans, and even those who had no idea of him, is no less irrational than what they describe his suicide to be. Suicide is simply a form of death. Why deny someone the will, or aggression for that matter, to attain it? If Kurt had not ascended to the plain he hoped to reach, then I feel sympathetic and quite empathetic toward him. However, considering that he's on his way there, he's still fortunate to be that much closer to it than we are.
If my theory has offended any value of life, then I assure you you have misconstrued my message, or I have conveyed it to you improperly. Kurt was an individual who shouldn't be judged, rather relinquished... as any person who has committed suicide.
The article discussing this issue closes out with the invitation for comments on the gray areas of suicide. The color gray is defined as an intermediate area between mortality and immortality. Therefore, I see it that suicide on its entirety is gray. I appreciate your generosity, as you did anything but dondemn Kurt Cobain in your article. A piece like this is rare and very welcomed. I'm impressed and look forward to further editions.
Dear Gray Areas,
First, please renew my subscription, 12 issues first class. I wish I had the bread for a lifetime subscription, as I will always find your magazine worth reading cover to cover.
Second, an observation (and some backstage tips) about access to large scale rock 'n roll events. Many of your readers seem concerned about access to the people who entertain them. The inaccessibility of "star" performers is part of the energy that sustains the star/fan relationship. If everyone could have lunch with a star, what value would your chance meeting of a favorite persona carry?
That said, some tips on how I was able to get close to one of my favorites, Jerry Garcia. What many people forget about larger events like Dead shows, is that they take a lot of hard work, and somebody has to do that work. In exchange for my backstage pass to a Dead show (and some serious cash), I handled hundreds of sheets of plywood, raked up thousands of cigarette butts and set up 18,000 folding chairs in the rain. And I was not alone. Hundreds of people are required to put on a show like The Dead. You could be one of those people!
In this day and age, most people expect to obtain privilege without any contribution on their part. However, rewards do exist for people willing to work hard. I have seen "Tour Rats" exchange three days of hard labor for a pair of backstage laminates, forfeiting the cash wages they had rightfully earned. I have also seen other Dead Heads blow a chance to get backstage because they didn't have the class or the stamina to earn the respect of those with the power
to pass out the rewards. If you want to get inside, find the back door and ask for a job. (Also a good way to earn the gas money home...). Be willing to work hard and be resourceful (kiss up), otherwise the only reward you get will be the Camel Cash you find while bagging litter from the seats.
What are these rewards, you ask? I have watched Sting and Jerry Garcia perform a set together during sound check, photographed Jerry Garcia backstage, and watched a Dead show from ten feet behind the soundboard.
Remember, rules and restrictions are for Jerks, don't act like a Jerk and the rules may not apply quite as strictly to you...
Also, remember that your part of the fan/performer exchange is respect and admiration.
And From A Second Letter...
Dear Gray Areas,
Some notes to go with my first letter. I thought I would share some abuses of authority with you that I have witnessed at concerts. Some rock 'n roll roadies get off on the status and power that a laminated backstage pass gives them. Everyone knows that groupies will do anything to get backstage. (Thanks to Pink Floyd and The Wall <grin>.) But do you know the things that some roadies do to get their kicks? I have seen roadies and parking lot attendants use their badges to obtain free T-shirts, tickets and drugs. The scam works like this: the roadie hides his laminate and goes out into the crowd incognito looking for contraband. When he finds something he likes, he makes a buy and then flashes his backstage pass as if he was an actual undercover cop. The poor kid who has just sold him contraband stars to freak, thinking he is going to be busted. At this point the roadie will act merciful and agree to let the "suspect" go in exchange for all the contraband on his person. So remember, most people with laminated passes are only authorized to do things like push road boxes full of gear around... If you are actually being busted, the laminate will plainly say in large letters, SECURITY, and that an actual policeman is the only one who can arrest you. Security guards can only detain you or evict you from the premises. Also remember that, like anything else, laminates can be forged.
I do not want to give a bad rap to stage hands, (I am one). Most of us are very cool, especially those who have been in the business for a long time. Some of us even used to buy contraband for personal use.
Another con game to look out for is the "Oops, you have a counterfeit ticket, will you give it to me?" scam. I have seen this one at sold-out Dead shows in small venues. The con artist convinces someone who bought their legitimate tickets second hand, that they unfortunately bought counterfeit tickets and then offers to buy them for next to nothing as a "Favor."
As it takes less skill to run these cons, than to run "three card monte," show some respect for yourself and not to take advantage of other fans.
I wandered into a Tower Records while attending the Dead shows in Boston (Sept/Oct 1994) and came across Volume 3 Number 2 (Fall 1994) when I realized I had allowed my subscription to lapse and subsequently lost my renewal notice. Oh the horror. I was a 'charter' subscriber and have lost that distinction - the shame!! So as not to miss any issues I'm submitting the "Regular Subscription" criteria found in the 'Editor' page of the latest issue. I have enclosed a check in the amount of $50.00 so as not to run across this problem I experienced - for some time.
While I have your attention, let me commend you on a fine publication that really speaks to my lifestyle. I find many of my interests and concerns lie in these "Gray Areas" of our existence that you superbly address with each issue. I've read complaints about your Grateful Dead coverage (too much) and in my opinion, you balance The Dead with other music in a fair and consistent manner. If anything, I'd enjoy more coverage, including interviews with Cutler, McNally, and how about the wonderful job the mail order ticket office does in distributing 50% of all Dead tickets (special accolades to Bam-Bam at GDTS).
Also as an intrigued student of Terrence McKenna, some coverage of his views and 'doings' would be greatly appreciated. I also enjoy your computer coverage - from piracy to hacking, and even though I consider myself a computer novice, I find your articles intriguing. I look forward to finally entering The Internet world and look forward to using many of the contacts I've been able to obtain in your publication.
Thanks again for your fine publication and look forward to my next issue.
UNDERGROUND CDs LEGIT?
Hi Netta/Gray Areas:
I received this CD info in the mail. It was mailed from New York. I think the name was "Mystic Productions." Are they legit? I think they are a bit overpriced.
Your last issue was good stuff - as usual! Don't listen to those computer guys who want you to choose a specific direction for Gray Areas. (Between you and me, they are a bit bent). I mean most of them mentioned having enemies. Excuse me? Enemies? I don't know anyone who has an enemy. To get one or think you have one, you must be pretty paranoid or must have done something pretty s---ty to someone else. Anyway, stop me, I'm ramblin'. Keep Gray Areas as full of variety as you can. I like the concert and tape reviews. The film and video reviews are good too. I don't own a computer yet, but when I get one I'll be going back through old issues for sure. The S/M and porn star articles are interesting too. Keep up the good work!
The catalog you sent us contains illegal bootleg CDs, not legitimate recordings. Think about it. Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead and Madonna are not on the same record label. You are probably not familiar with any of the titles listed as discs sold at major record chains. Why would Madonna or Pink Floyd or the Grateful Dead have so many records you have never seen before all only available in the one catalog you were sent?
As to enemies, most people I know who work in large companies have enemies in their workplace. Those of us who say what we think make enemies. I don't know a single celebrity or even magazine publisher who does not have disgruntled people badmouthing them. This magazine definitely has enemies not the least of which are zine publishers who are simply jealous of our use of glossy paper and give us bad reviews because of it, or people who didn't like the nasty response we gave to the idiotic idea they called to propose to us at 2 a.m. (please write us instead of calling if you want something).
In the hacking community, some people prey on their peers. It seems uglier than other communities to me, but it is entirely possible to do nothing to anyone and create enemies there simply for hanging around. This is also true of cyberspace in general, not only those places where hackers congregate.
SHORT & TO THE POINT
Dear Gray Areas,
My only criticism of your mag is all the coverage of pornography. I don't dig porno, but I'm into freedom of speech. Keep up the good work. Send me four more issues.
Peace & Love
Dear Gray Areas,
Fascinating magazine you have, folks!
I 'm a student and am currently researching legal issues surrounding live audio/video recording for personal use (with some discussion of "for profit"aspects). It is truly a gray area in that there are very few specific statutes and precedents which address the issue directly.
This is what I've found so far:
17 USC s 101, Wire Tapping Laws
894 F2d 240, 7th Circuit Case, In Matter of John Doe Trader #1(1990)
19 CFR s 133.42, Infringing copies or phono records
23 ALR3d 34, Fair Use
40 ALR3d 553
104 S.Ct. 774, Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (1982)
Home Audio Recording Act of 1992
82 Cal Rptr 798, Capitol Records, Inc. v Erickson
CA Penal 653h, Misappropriation of recorded music for commercial advantage
DC Code s 22-3814, Commercial Piracy
Thanks very much for your help and best of luck with GA.
It's a thin tightrope on which we choose to walk, but where's the fun without the danger?