As we continue to celebrate-mourn the life and death of our favorite Spaceboy and Goblin King’s departure into the galaxies beyond, we are still unceasingly in awe of his impact. As we proceed to skim through the hoards of tributes, there are two that truly encompass his pioneering the ‘troll’ – a legacy that precedes the current Instagram and MySpace generations – in the dot-com era. Talk about a serious throwback.
The foregoing notation of his online afterlife foresight, consisting of 90’s created BowieNet, includes his lurking on his very own message boards; proof that he “showed prescience about the interactive, back-and-forth nature of fandom in the Internet era,”Billboard noted in 2016.”
The first salute that really speaks to us about Bowie comes in the form of a tweet that commemorated his interaction with one of us earthlings on his own official message boards. Occasionally posting under the alias “Sailor” on the fan forum, he would debunk false reports, drop recommendations, chide fan’s tastes, and discuss his own music, like in this instance:
Bowie often lurked on his own fan messageboard, under the alias Sailor & directly reply to users. This is a real, hilarious exchange. Enjoy. pic.twitter.com/7M8FlaaDm7
— Ali Catterall (@AliCatterall) January 8, 2017
The second homage that stood out to us comes from a 1999 interview that was unearthed by Gizmodo, in which he passionately and intuitively (as if there’s another way for Bowie to discuss anything) comments upon the future of the inter-webs. During a back and forth with the obviously oblivious interviewer, Jeremy Paxman, Bowie tries to explain that if he were a kid of the 1990s he wouldn’t have become a pop star because of an internet obsession, an idea fully lost on Paxman. The interviewer, who believes the internet sensation and it’s future are “hugely exaggerated,” gets a wallop of sarcasm back from Bowie who notes the people who doubted that things like the telephone would change the world.
“I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable,” Bowie explained to the BBC. “I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.”
Here’s the eloquent exchange, as transcribed by Gizmodo:
“But what is it specifically about the internet?” Paxman asks. “Anybody can say anything, and it all adds up to what? It seems to me there’s nothing cohesive about it in the way that there was something cohesive about the Youth Revolution in music.”
“Oh, but absolutely,” Bowie says. “And I think it’s because at the time, up until at least the mid-’70s, we really felt that we were still living under the guise of a single, absolute, created society—where there were known truths and known lies and there was no kind of duplicity or pluralism about the things that we believed in.”
“That started to break down rapidly in the ’70s,” Bowie continues. “And the idea of a duality in the way that we live—there were always two, three, four, five sides to every question. That the singularity disappeared. And that I believe has produced such a medium as the internet, which absolutely establishes and shows us that we are living in total fragmentation.”
“It’s just a tool though, isn’t it?” Paxman says, clearly still believing that Bowie is making something out of nothing.
“No, no, it’s an alien life form,” Bowie says with a laugh.
“What do you think then…” Paxman says.
“Is there life on Mars?” Bowie shoots back. “Yes, it’s just landed here.”