Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » April 2005 » Bokonoism & Granfalloons

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04/14/2005: Bokonoism & Granfalloons

Michael Froomkin over at Discourse.net has posted this one: As Granfalloons Go, It's a Good One.

"Hereís todayís quiz question. Itís a doozy.
What do the following people and organizations have in common?

Jack M. Balkin

The Center for Individual Freedom
Julian Dibbell

Feedster, Inc.

The First Amendment Project

A. Michael Froomkin

Gawker Media, Inc.

Gothamist, LLC,


Happy Mutants, LLC

Ben Hammersley

Joichi Ito

Joel Johnson

Kimberly A. Kralowec


Rebecca MacKinnon

Joshua Micah Marshall

The Media Bloggers Association

Markos Moulitsas

Reporters Without Borders

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Peter Rojas

Jay Rosen

Scott Rosenberg

Doc Searls

Silicon Valley Watcher

Kevin Sites

Eugene Volokh

Hint: The above is the full list of persons and entities that have this particular thing in common."

Answer below the fold.

"All of us are the parties in an amicus brief (.pdf) written by Lauren Gelman and the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society in the Apple v. Does case. The issue is whether bloggers should be entitled to the same legal protections as professional print journalists under California law and the First Amendment.

Iíve signed a number of amicus briefs as a lawyer, but this is my first time as a client.

Feels weird.

Granfalloon defined for the Vonnegut-impaired.:

If you wish to study a granfalloon, just remove the skin of a toy balloon. --Bokonon
A granfalloon, in the religion of Bokononism invented by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel Cat's Cradle, is defined as a "false karass". That is, it is a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless in terms of fulfilling God's design. The most common granfalloons are associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise. As examples, Vonnegut cites: "the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company, the International Order of Odd Fellows -- and any nation, anytime, anywhere." A more general and often-cited quote defines a granfalloon as "a proud and meaningless association of human beings." Granfalloon was illustrated in the book as referring to Hoosiers, who are apparently Indianans, especially those who play basketball. In the same book, he introduced such terms as foma ("lies") and wampeter, all terms of Bokononism."

Karen on 04.14.05 @ 06:01 AM CST

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