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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

I like my sex (and scifi) with mystery! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named soap.gifI think it's true of all literature, media and sex -- that it's not what you say that creates the attraction, it's what you don't say. Or don't show. Or don't know.

The imagination may be the most pleasurable or pleasure-seeking organ in the human body.

A naked woman isn't necessarily as sexy as one wearing clothes, something many visitors to a nude beach are surprised to discover. It's not a turn-on to see the naked bodies, full disclosure isn't sexy. It's the path, how you got there that creates the excitement.

It's something we discovered in the early days of podcasting, something that was known to our parents' generation, that listening to radio programs activates the imagination in ways that television and movies never can. It's almost physiological. The human brain can't help itself, it must fill in unknown detail. So if you tell a story with words and no pictures, the imagination takes over and tells the rest of the story.

Have you ever been shocked to find out what a favorite radio talk show host looks like, how different it was from who you imagined him or her to be? That's the effect.

In this way, the remake of Battlestar Galactica has been one of the most smashing successes of television scifi. Every time they fill in a blank, they reveal five unknowns to take its place, and your mind takes off wondering who or what is behind the next set of doors.

But now the series is in its final run of episodes, and last night was the first installment of that run, and now we know a lot of what we didn't know before. The characters are all depressed, as we are -- because the fun is over? What could possibly be next.

Heather Havrilesky, writing in Salon, says it's always like this. We remember the first Star Wars in 1977 (I sure do, I saw it at a packed theater on Capitol Square in Madison in the middle of a raging snow storm with a half-dozen room mates). "There's an evil guy and a princess (a princess!) and robots and planets with three suns. Suddenly, the whole world feels like it belongs to you!" Three years later I'm in Sunnyvale, watching the next installment with a business associate, but it's just not the same. The magic isn't there.

Maybe the same with Battlestar Galactica. But only maybe. We don't know how this is going to turn out.

But now maybe I'm seeing the wisdom of the finale of The Sopranos. Maybe I don't want resolution of everything, maybe the series should end on the Mother Of All Cliff Hangers, the greatest imaginable, and one that never gets resolved.

We've already got a tease of what that might be, but there's still nine episodes to go, and I plan to watch each with the hope to not know everything, and to be delighted by the mystery.


Last update: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 4:51 PM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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