Boing Boing Interview with Mark Frauenfelder


On the back of a motorbike, cliffside minus a helmet, you can’t help but imagine how your head would split like a watermelon were you to bounce off. Presumably, Mark Frauenfelder’s ukulelia fetish has never found him wearing a helmet either. Still, this hasn’t stopped him plucking away in Los Angeles, at one of the most popular blogs, co-editing The Happy Mutant Handbook and being the founding editor-in-chief of Wired Online. You can discover more about ukelelias, Mark’s illustrations and daily updates of tech-pop weirdness at Here’s the boy himself:

If the Boing Boing zine and blog were TV characters, who’d they be, and how’d they get on?
The zine would be Jethro Bodine of “The Beverly Hillbillies” — curious, neophilic, xenophilic, gleeful, and eager to adopt any new theory or conspiracy as the absolute truth. The Blog would be Sherman from “Peabody’s Improbable History” — a traveler of time and space in search of beauty, truth, and the outre. I think Jethro bOING bOING and Sherman Boing Boing would be great pals. Jethro would invite Sherman’s dog, Mr. Peabody, to go raccoon hunting with him, and Sherman would send Jethro 40 years into the future to hang out at the Playboy Mansion.

How many hours do you average online, and in what ways?
About 8. I write and draw on my computer and take a lot of breaks looking at things on the Web.

How has the web surprised you lately?
I’m surprised that most people don’t think it is a marvellous as I do.

As one of the most popular bloggers, your thoughts on online micropayments?
I’m more in favor of macropayments, made directly to my bank account. Really, I wish someone would figure out a good way to make them work.

What were they putting in the water at Wired magazine in the early 90s, and what happened to it?

The water was unadulterated, but pot brownies were usually available on Friday afternoons. The accountants handed out acid and ecstasy like candy. I stayed away from it, because reality was weird enough for me. When Louis and Jane owned Wired it was a magical place and a magical time. A rare era. Then, Wired was sold to Conde Nast. It became a business. I don’t think acid head accountants would last long around there today.

What’s with the ukulelia fetish? 😉

The ukulelia is the PDA of guitars. It’s portable and sweet sounding. It’s easy to learn to play songs right as soon as you pick it up, but it takes a lifetime to master.

And now that a few years have passed – what’d you really think of Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk album? (noticed you did the CD artwork )
I like it!

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