cory doctorow visits a radio shack

(SCENE: a strip mall Radio Shack with a single Radio Shack EMPLOYEE standing behind the sales counter. CORY DOCTOROW enters.)SFX: electronic doorbell goes “Dooo-weee!”

CORY DOCTOROW: Hmmph. I certainly hope that doorbell isn’t keeping private records of who enters and exits the store.

EMPLOYEE: Um, I’m fairly sure it doesn’t. What can I help you with today? RCA cables, perhaps?

CORY DOCTOROW: No, thank you, I’m actually here to purchase a cell phone as you see I am the keynote speaker at a vitally important Web 2.0 conference this week and apparently my current cell phone does not get service in this backwater area… most probably due to the total asshats at the MPAA and RIAA.

EMPLOYEE: Yes, well, we have many excellent phones and plans

CORY DOCTOROW: Listen. Before we even get into this, let me ask you something. Will I be able to transfer all my existing cell phone ringtones to my new phone? Because on my cell phone, I have a hilarious mutant hybrid remix of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and the side-splitting “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” internet meme.

EMPLOYEE: That can depend on the hardware of your existing —

CORY DOCTOROW: I also have a community flash mob created hip-hopera version of the Dr. Who theme and M.I.A.’s “Galang” released under the Creative Commons license.

EMPlOYEE: I can’t say for sure but I doubt —

CORY DOCTOROW: And I have a background wallpaper skin of the Ontario subway system with all the stop names cleverly rearranged to spell out the names of the characters from “Harry Potter”.


CORY DOCTOROW: Let me ask you this: does this phone play quadraphonic Ogg Vorbis music format? Or FLAC encoded video? What about the Bittorrent client on this phone, is it GPL’d?

EMPLOYEE: I’m not entirely certain that the phone actually has a Bittorrent client. This brochure —

CORY DOCTOROW: You’re not certain? I guess you’ve forced me to ask: is the source code available for this phone? Not that I plan to do anything personally right now with the source, but I’d like to see it. Now, if possible, my good man. Chop chop!

EMPLOYEE: Oh look! I have an informational PDF brochure I could print out for you.

CORY DOCTOROW: Ahh, PDFs are DRM-encumbered as per secret instructions contained in the Patriot Act!

EMPLOYEE: But I could still print it out for you. Listen, let me know if you have any more questions; now I have to get back to my other customers.

CORY DOCTOROW: There’s no one else here.

EMPLOYEE: Oh, I thought maybe there was.


CORY DOCTOROW: Google maps 37Signals with Flickr iPod.


CORY DOCTOROW: I didn’t say anything. Now, about this cell phone

EMPLOYEE: Are you sure you wouldn’t be happier with perhaps a remote controlled buggy? This one goes forward and backs up while turning right. I’ll throw in the “D” cells.

CORY DOCTOROW: No, no — intriguing — but I do need a cell phone. Internet sensation and total hottie Xeni Jardin might be calling me right now!

EMPLOYEE: Well, now I understand the urgency. How about a Sprint flip-phone? $99 with three year contract.

CORY DOCTOROW: Does it have a always-on, 802.11g wifi connection to the podcasted RSS reddit digg instapundit blogosphere?

EMPLOYEE: Uhm, sure. It really does.

CORY DOCTOROW: That will do nicely.



EMPLOYEE: Could I please have your phone number, area code first?



(thanks to w for the epilogue)

132 thoughts on “cory doctorow visits a radio shack”

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  10. lol

    Dude, you have to admit that Cory is the man though. We do need people like that! If there was no Cory, who would be rising public’s awareness about important issues, finding really cool and/or bizarre shit on the web, and writing trippy books?

  11. This is the finest work of literature ever–the pinnacle of human achievement!

    And to Luke: I refuse to admit that Cory is “the man”.

  12. The suggestion of printing lacked a rejoinder about the CIA tracking all printouts via secret hidden water marks.


  13. My favorite part is how the same joke is repeated over and over and over again… zing!

  14. I just passed out laughing. When I come to, I plan to laugh some more. You win the world OK!

  15. From all those Canadians tired of Cory’s bullshit articles: fuckin’ eh.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

  16. Cory should never use the word ‘should’. Makes him sound like an asshat.

    Someone should invent blah blah blah… Shut up or do it yourself, you shrill, whiny fanboy.

  17. expensivefauxdesigner crapfrommyfriendsfriendsforsale kleptones linkfromwaxy linkfrommake xeniontv disney freedorkyscifi artforsale mashup

  18. Seriously, I’ve gotten so fucking sick of boing boing that I had to unsubscribe. I realized I was just torturing myself via RSS. BoingBoing free OPML is the best kind of OPML. For me, the final straw was Mark’s blanket insults lodged against professional sports.

  19. Creative Commons! Absolutely! If you don’t hamper your creative work with complicated, paternalistic licensing that takes control out of the hands of authors, you’re just a tool of the MAN!

  20. “Dude, you have to admit that Cory is the man though. We do need people like that! If there was no Cory, who would be rising public’s awareness about important issues, finding really cool and/or bizarre shit on the web, and writing trippy books?”

    I guess if subway anagram maps and everyday diatribing about his DRM crusade is your thing. But then who can account for taste.

  21. Yeah, the subway maps were what eventually drove me away from BoingBoing. Don’t ask me why, but I just never saw the point, and after about the millionth one I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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  23. I don’t really know who this Cory Doctorow is… but I’m picturing this scene acted by Tim Meadows as the employee and Christoper Walken as Doctorow.

  24. “Someone Goes to Radio Shack, Someone Leaves Radio Shack.”

    I also unsubscribed the feed after the third month of its pet-rocky cool hunting that had a glaring blind spot for some Captain Obvious trends. I even got my eyes to bleeding seeing the “Thanks, Cory!” link shoutouts.

    And their blindspots for very obvious culture touchstones — sports, films, television — is painful. One recent example is the recent Nintendo RBI Baseball recreation of Game Six of the Sox/Mets World Series, which they got to about five weeks after it went viral and circled the universes eleventy-billion times over.

    It’s similar to watching Jeopardy when someone runs the table on the category “Barrelmaking Innovations in the Fifth Century” but then there’s only crickets when they call out “Jim Carrey Flicks” or “Famous Yankees Named DiMaggio.”

  25. chuck: No…it would have the phrase “and does it have MORE COWBELLS???” if Walken was involved….

  26. I think the epilogue should be more like this:

    EMPLOYEE: Could I please have your phone number, area code first?

    Cory grabs his PDA , dials into the BoingBoing system using a SSH tunnel , and messages Mark Fraunfelder “Hey, radioshack needs a phone number”. Mark then ssh’s into the o’reilly system for MakeMagazine, randomly selects a subscriber, then passes it off to Cory.

    Cory: My name is A Subscriber. I live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. My social security number is 123-456-7890. My mother’s maiden name is ___.

    Why? Because as much as boingboing screams privacy, they pimp the hell out of their darling little Make Magazine with no warnings. Make is an oreilly property, subject to their privacy policy which explicity states that they sell & rent subscriber info. My mailbox can sadly attest to that.

  27. You are so off its not funny and neither are you. Your snippit attitude shows you have no inkling of a real RadioShack so get a life.

  28. The article was hilarious, but for some reason it was Yadayada’s post that made me bust out laughing.

  29. I can see the follow-up being a story about a visit to a nutritionist and the ensuing argument over ‘overclocking your metabolism’, or perhaps something similarly dangerous and daft. Well, until it clearly stops working, that is.

  30. RE: Jonathan Says: ” Make is an oreilly property, subject to their privacy policy which explicity states that they sell & rent subscriber info. My mailbox can sadly attest to that.”

    Thats the beauty of the privacy policy, you get to read it before you agree to it. BTW, you all do know that there are other contributors to BoingBoing besides Cory right?

    I’ll admit the map thing got a little tiresome after a few runs, but the man has done quite a bit for the net.

    Just an opinion.


  31. Jack Cross says: “…but the man has done quite a bit for the net.”

    Pure comedy gold (and yes that is a tired saying, but the shoe fits… [urg]).

  32. this whole conversation is false. sprint does not off 3 year plans. even if they did, that phone better be free, instead of $99. cory is a total chode who has no life.

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  34. I’m a former radioshack employee, I would have shut him up halfway through and said “listen, you want to sign up with a closed service that forces crippled phones on you with extremely restrictive contracts that will bill you fees if you sneeze wrong? That’s what you’re going to expect with this.”

    he’d probably call me a facist and storm off. Then I’d go to help the next person in the store and give them the whole spiel.

    Seriously though, cell phone plans are junk, and legally, the service stores are supposed to unlock your phone once the initial contract expires. Most wont tell you this or wont do it, they’ll say the phone is out of service support and you’ll have to call the phone maker to unlock, to which they’ll tell you only your carrier can unlock it.

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  36. I don’t think the world would miss an idiot like -whatever his name is- making fun of a normal working guy. Not like milking the stupid admirers he will surely find… Not a nice person, I can tell.

  37. I found this link through reddit, thought it would be funny after reading some guy rave about how good this post was. This post sucks. If you’re going to write a post that is supposed to lampoon a pretentious web2.0bloggerCelebNON-drmedTofuEatingOMGLOLCATSinternethero, then at least make it a good post!

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  40. Hey, Cory here! Just wanted to point out that the screenplay “Cory Doctory Visits a Radio Shack” has been kindly translated into 19 different languages!

    I have such a deplorable personality that people all over the world want to find out about it!!

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