"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 11 October 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous



The fashion arc may swing from

the hood to the mall and back

again, but if news trends lack a

discernible point of origin,

they do have a definable end.

And any media junkie (count us

as mainliners) knows the point

at which a trend story has been

beaten to death enough to be

considered passé: when it

makes the cover of Time

magazine. At Suck, there's a

different standard for the dead

trend horses we choose to flay.

When they start to rot enough

that even Rolling Stone can

track the stench, we know it's

time to drag the carcass out to

the alley, dump some gasoline on

it, and set a match to the pyre.

And no nag in our stable is more

rank right now than the one Jeff

Goodell calls the "Silicon




It's hard to pinpoint exactly

when Goodell's story changed

from a saccharine tale of

shattered dreams to an

unintentional if still

devastating Swiftian satire of a

privileged class. Our guess:

when Goodell and his editors

fell for the apocryphal

anecdotes of certain great

pretenders claiming to work,

eat, and even sleep at the

office. In doing so, Goodell

managed to miss the fat

salaries, the stock options, and

the quarter-million-dollar real

estate investments of at least a

few of these pretenders. Silicon

Flameout? Try Silicon Cash-Out:

it's time we admitted that while

our pile of Suck condoms is

starting to dwindle, none of us

are really getting screwed.



Indeed, the large-style living

exemplified by certain

well-heeled friends belies the

sordid little truth underneath

so-called "geeksploitation" -

none of us are ever going to

have it this good again. If any

dreams have gone sour, it's

those of the investors dumb

enough to yoke themselves to

websites that never earn back

the equity. Meanwhile, overpaid,

inattentive louts like us are

giving new meaning to the words

"cash drain" on their

operations. And all we can do is

hope it lasts.



Where else, after all, could

anyone have it any better? As

Ann Hess told Goodell,

"Twenty-four-year-olds with some

experience in a simple

programming language like HTML

can pull in $50,000 a year if

they're willing to work their

butts off." Or even if they're

not, really. Then there are the

social side benefits: we may

have been geeks in college, but

now it's dorm life (complete

with stereo wars) without

homework, packed with enough

drugs, sex, and parties to

incite insane jealousy from

former college classmates now

droning away at dull, if equally

well-paid, Wall Street jobs.


[Dream Jobs]

There are drawbacks to this

existence of course, whether the

job pays $25, $50, or $80k a

year. And we're not talking

about the arrogant bubblehead

managers who cancel unsuccessful

projects, or the random

reversals of fortune

administered by would-be

button-downs in Beastie Boy

drag. What's worse is when we

can't be quite as indifferent as

when we were really suffering at

something roughly (very roughly)

approximating slave labor.

Remember tearing covers off

paperback returns at the

bookstore? Or drawing steaming

double lattes for customers at

the espresso bar down the block?

There, at least, apathy and

disgust made a certain kind of

sense, and, in the right hands,

"Like a scone with that?" wasn't

surly but artful - put-upon

performance art that even

customers could appreciate.



Out here where people are losing

their shirts everyday, we're

still getting away with dipping

into the till (for now). But

those who pick up their headset

attachments to answer the calls

of hacks who follow in Goodell's

well-worn path would do well to

modulate their smirkathon

monologue. Too much carping on

The Man's sweatshop

management-style and your

diffident approach to your job

starts to scan like unearned

sanctimony - particularly when

your walk to work takes you by

real sweatshops everyday.


[Burn Out]

Now that Rolling Stone has made

our collective private joke into

a pomo version of "A Modest

Proposal," it's time for a new

ploy, one that will allow all of

us to continue displaying open

apathy. If we can't pretend

anymore that our

libertarian-tax-bracket real job

sucks, perhaps some creative

resume reworking is in order -

this time spinning down to the

15-percent end of the scale.

What with the web backlash on

the front, we predict a

refetishization of the very jobs

we left off our CV last time.

Bookstore clerk, waiter,

espresso jockey - choose your

favorite from your past. Hide

your business cards and no one

will question your scowl.

Pretend you have to pay for net

access and no one will doubt

that you're oppressed. Preserve

your ability to ask "Would you

like a scone with that?" Just

don't take a cut in pay.

courtesy of Perl E. Gates