© 2000 Jamie Zawinski <>

Until last week, I hadn't driven a car in six months. After having spent two hours a day behind the wheel for the better part of a decade, I consider this fact a sign that my life has taken a significant turn for the better of late.

It had been about a year since I had been to the South Bay (an even bigger victory!) But I needed to make a trip down there, to take a machine to my ISP's colocation facility in Mountain View, to get the club's webcasts on the air.

It had been a long time since I had made that drive, but I still could have done it with my eyes closed. But something was different this time: the billboards.

The last time I made this trip, the billboards along the freeway were hawking things. All computer-industry things, of course, but they were actual things that people made. Things like modems, or server computers, or database software.

Now, none of the billboards were selling things. They were selling greed itself.

A few of them were selling bureaucracy (management consultancies, outsourced this or that) but mostly it was just... greed. From stock trading houses to financial magazines, all of them have the same ad campaign: greed is good, screw your neighbor, grab it and run. Mile after mile of paean to the pursuit of wealth for wealth's sake. Not a word about products, or why to choose this company over that: just the same crass reinforcment. I suppose it was supposed to be wry and clever, ``wink wink, we know what you're really thinking,'' but it was just foul.

I felt like Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live, looking up through the magic sunglasses and seeing the true message of the alien masters, ``CONSUME,'' ``OBEY,'' ``THIS IS YOUR GOD.''

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