Hey, remember Suck
? This article is ten years old
and is about a defunct web site ten years older than that
, but Suck was one of the best things to climb out of the slime of the primordial web, and this retro-retrospective made me all nostalgic.
Somewhere around a year in to Suck's lifetime I was on "vacation" and I read the whole site from the beginning in one sitting, and then sent them a rambling stream-of-consciousness fan letter that didn't have much in the way of sentence- or paragraph breaks. Carl said, "You read all of Suck? Even we don't have the courage to do that," and then he sent me a t-shirt.
The other day this guy was interviewing me and we talked about Suck and how it had managed to capture a snapshot of the festering shitstain that passed for "tech culture" -- "Way better than fucking Dilbert did", I said -- and we laughed a dejected laugh.
The Big Fish
Anuff learned that HotWired was hiring, and was soon invited for an interview with Steadman and Bayers. "I don't know what Carl saw in me, other than somebody who probably believed in too many things, and I think Carl relished the opportunity to crush those beliefs." [...]
Like Polly, the Suck office in Filler was a nastier, more contentious place than its real-world counterpart, but not by much. "I'd say a lot of it was driven by actual true stuff," says Anuff. "I don't know if it was verbatim true. Heather is one colicky baby. She was fighting with everybody. She used to go at it with Ana, with Carl, with me, with Terry, with Matt. Oh my god, Matt Beer. And then Ana, of course, is a terror, too. What a bunch of fucking babies. In some sense it was the most unprofessional group of crybabies, prima donnas, and problem employees. Everybody there was a problem. I don't even think I knew any better, because I was a problem too."
"The domain suck.com is for sale. To purchase, click here for more details."
Yeah, it's that time of year again. Here's your Two Minute Hate:
The top-down, do what you want, radically express yourself and fuck everyone else worldview is precisely why Burning Man is so appealing to the Silicon Valley technocratic scions.
To these young tech workers -- mostly white, mostly men -- who flock to the festival, Burning Man reinforces and fosters the idea that they can remake the world without anyone else's input. It's a rabid libertarian fantasy. It fluffs their egos and tells them that they have the power and right to make society for all of us, to determine how things should be.
This is the dark heart of Burning Man, the reason that high-powered capitalists -- and especially capitalist libertarians -- love Burning Man so much. It heralds their ideal world: one where vague notions of participation replace real democracy, and the only form of taxation is self-imposed charity. Recall Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's op-ed, in the wake of the Obamacare announcement, in which he proposed a healthcare system reliant on "voluntary, tax-deductible donations."
This is the dream of libertarians and the 1 percent, and it reifies itself at Burning Man -- the lower caste of Burners who want to partake in the festival are dependent on the whims and fantasies of the wealthy to create Black Rock City.
Burning Man foreshadows a future social model that is particularly appealing to the wealthy: a libertarian oligarchy, where people of all classes and identities coexist, yet social welfare and the commons exist solely on a charitable basis.
Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.