Photo by Tim Rogers.


New Earburner: Barrett Brown Talks His Totally Legal Pursuance Project

Barrett is big time now.

The last time Barrett Brown found himself at Table No. 1 at the Old Monk holding a microphone to his face, he was something like a month out of prison. This was January of last year, so he was writing weekly reports about the Dallas City Council for us, still unable to (legally) use a computer, still living at a halfway house in Hutchins. 

He’d work for us another half a year or so, until the feds re-arrested him that May on a specious claim that he violated some sort of Bureau of Prisons policy requiring halfway housers to get federal approval prior to doing any interviews with the press. Wick Allison, D’s owner and founder, got the lawyers involved, who threatened to take the matter before a judge and—poof!—Barrett was free. He gave us a few more columns and then left our employ.

So here we are today, just over a year past all that, and Barrett has a book deal (My Glorious Defeats is out in February) and is hoping to change how we all research and collaborate. The Pursuance Project is an open-source platform—or apparatus, as Barrett calls it—that will allow anyone in the world to help research and brainstorm a problem or a data set or probably other things that I’m not currently thinking of. It basically provides structure to the sort of Anonymous research and activism projects that were popular online five or so years ago. The sort of stuff that Barrett made his name on before he was sent to prison for essentially posting a link. (It is worth noting that Barrett, self-proclaimed man with “no gall,” says that Pursuance is “a totally legal thing that everybody should join and consider contributing to.” And, indeed, you can donate here. It’s just over halfway to its goal.) 

Anyway. Barrett can explain all this stuff much better than I can. So I’ll let him take over from here. Interview by Zac Crain and Tim “I Call Jail ‘The Joint'” Rogers. Show notes after the jump.


1. It should be noted that Barrett Brown is a National Magazine Award winner. I’m not going to fact check this, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s the only felon to win an Ellie.

2. The Rattlesnake Bar, where the divorceés go to drink.

3. What is the funniest slang term for poop? It is, unequivocally, “untreated household domestic waste,” 1 million gallons of which is now in White Rock Creek. Thanks, Plano!

4. Here is Councilman Philip Kingston riding an electric scooter, something Barrett says you will never see him doing:


5. Everything you need to know about our fine city’s new policy on ‘Granny flats,’ or Accessory Dwelling Units. Really. Says so right in the headline if you’d click it.

6. Pre-order My Glorious Defeats right here.

7. Here is Barrett with his Tango Blast buddies.

8. And, again, you can donate to the Pursuance Project right here.