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[ Tue. Aug. 31. 1999 ]

John Brockman - the onetime hippie, Warhol groupie, feminine-hygiene marketing guru, "intermedia" performance artist, author, and, now, salon leader and literary agent to some of the world's most influential scientists and technologists - is barreling down 59th Street in Manhattan. Gaudily turned out in a wide-brimmed Borsalino hat and a royal blue double-breasted blazer, he's on a mission: He wants to be dull.

"Charisma gets you shot," Brockman says as he steps awkwardly over a puddle. "Nobody bothers to shoot bores. I like to say I'm 'post-interesting.'"

"You're not interesting?"

"Not not-interesting!" he snaps. "Post-interesting! Interesting doesn't pay. Well, it pays once, but not twice. I used to be interesting. I was, like, the It Boy. Being so interesting - well, it's not so interesting!"