Home again, from RSS to Jocko Homo

It’s not uncommon for blogs nowadays to have no RSS feed.

You can still subscribe, but via email.

Email is a superior technology in some ways:

  • It is simple. RSS has a lot of specialized features like fields for atom:category, managingEditor or skipHours.
  • Every user already has an email client. RSS readers are a niche category.
  • Email is an effective marketing platform, so effective that email marketing is a career track. RSS readership is a black box to the blogger.

The vastness of the Internet is a simplification engine. Anything unnecessary is stripped away. Not to get all poetic, but beach glass is like this in that frippery is worn away and only crucial features remain.

Picture via sponge-headedscienceman

Back in the days when blogs were new and RSS was the new hotness, there was euphoria around blogging. It was going to sweep the world. It was going to be Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Weibo, LinkedIn, and more. RSS is overequipped to handle all this.

The Internet is pitiless towards excess.

Jocko Homo

We are not men, we are DEVO

Email came before RSS by a large margin, twenty years or so. RSS evolved out of email. A return to email is de-evolution. To quote DEVO:

They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails

I say it’s all
Just wind in sails

Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?

The Wikipedia entry on Jocko Homo the song says it came from an anti-Darwinist Bertram Henry Shadduck.

Le titre « Jocko Homo » vient d’un pamphlet religieux contre le concept d’évolution écrit par Bertram Henry Shadduck1. La chanson présente le concept de « dé-évolution » qui donne son nom au groupe, et en est devenue l’hymne officieux2


As a Methodist pastor, Shadduck served churches largely in West Virginia and Ohio. His influence would perhaps have been confined to this territory had not two particular incidents sparked a prolonged response from him. The first was the unveiling of The Chrysalis, a sculpture of a man emerging from an ape ‘cocoon’, in West Side Unitarian, a liberal New York City church, in 1924.  Dr. Shadduck was so revulsed at the thought of evolution supplanting Biblical creation even within church walls that he responded with the publication of Jocko-Homo Heavenbound which featured a disparaging pen-and-ink rendition of The Chrysalis on its cover with an added, angelic apparition emerging from the man-ape

Shadduck was the Nostradamus of Creationism and feed formats. Bloggers who only support email subscriptions, and not RSS, are in league with the anti-evolution league.

A return to email suggests that RSS was vanity. It was over-engineered. Email was always the answer. We were home all along.

You’ve always had the power, my dear.


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