Some Truths About The One True b!X.

Dave Winer and b!X have been going at it, it seems. I haven’t been following the details; all I know is what I read on b!X’s site, so, granted, I’m only getting one side. One of the issues is Dave W. assaulting b!X’s credibility and authenticity because he doesn’t use the name he was given at birth.
Now, that’s one issue I know lots about, so Dave, let me just tell you about the evolution and authenticity of b!X’s identity. Let’s begin now and work backwards.
When I call anywhere for him, I don’t ask for him by the name I gave him when he was born. I ask for b!X. The toddler for whom he “caregives,” calls him Uncle b!X. His week-old nephew-by-birth is going to call him Uncle b!X. Everyone who knows him on the Internet, knows him as b!X. Everyone who knows him where he lives in Portland, Oregon, knows him as b!X. Over the years, he has grown into the identity we all know and love as b!X. b!X is who he has chosen to be. He is as much b!X as you are Dave Winer.
Now, that name and identity actually have an interesting history. Somewhere back in the 80s, he started writing wacky little vignettes about “Baby-X” and his (mis)adventues in an absurd and uncompromising world. It was obvious that he was writing metaphorically about himself. When he first began getting on the Web, he used the name slowdog, but that soon changed to baby-X because he knew that, without a doubt, he is a child of the infamous Generation-X. As he became more involved in the Web community, he began using b-x to identify himself in real-time chats etc. Somewhere along the line, the – became a !. If my memory of his evolution has any inaccuracies, he’s welcome to correct me. After all, I was watching all this from a distance.
If you’ve been reading b!X’s blog over the many years he’s been posting (and he began a blog-type site long before there were official weblogs), you know that he doesn’t reveal many specific details about his life or Self. His credibility lies in his reputation for clear writing, (sometimes) brutal honesty, passionate opinion, and intense commitment. Because of these qualities, in October, 1995, Rolling Stone magazine featured him in an article on Ten Things You Can Do to Make a Difference. (a jpeg of which I don’t know how to upload into this trackback, so I’ll post it after)
Anyone who really wants to find out the name he was born into can find him on WHOIS. But that’s not who is is today. And what he does to earn a living isn’t who he is either. Who he is, is on his weblog. I should know.

4 thoughts on “Some Truths About The One True b!X.

  1. The name baby-X actually had nothing to do with Generation-X, but was something I appropriated from the title of a photograph someone I knew in college had taken of someone else I knew in college. The shortening to b-x (or, alternatively, bx) became the pronunciation “bix”, which then became the typed bix, which then became “hackerized” by the MindVox crew into b!X — all of which happened without my doing, other than initial switching from slowdog to baby-X.

  2. The process might have been different than I understood it as I watched if from afar, but the result is the same.

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