Lehmann’s piece on the magazine Wired is another example of a subject that I had never really considered before. I have read a few issues of it, but never really placed it in the category of a rich person’s thing. Yet, as the author’s very deliberate examples show, the magazine seems very much a Rich People Thing. I will investigate a bit further, but his consensus that Wired is to Silicon Valley what The Wall Street Journal is to Wall Street makes a lot of sense.
“Reality Television” is another intriguing chapter. The section about the show Undercover Boss is priceless. For those who have never seen the program, the setup is simple. The CEO of a huge corporation goes “undercover” as a grunt, being filmed as he is supposedly a new hire for various positions. The workers are asked whether they think he is up to the menial tasks at hand.
While in “the trenches” he inevitably meets good, hard working folks who are just trying to get by, but are stymied by real life events. These include single moms, young men working to support their ailing parents, and older people who have no place else to turn. The big reveal at the end finds him (it is almost always a man), “seeing the light.”
With the people who particularly impressed him, the boss gives money to them to go to college, or to take a vacation, or to pay off college debts, etc. It is a feel good show, without a doubt. Yet as Lehmann points out, in many cases, the very same corporations we are supposed to feel good about at the end of each episode are in the midst of huge class action suits. They have been indicted for crimes ranging from discrimination, sexual harassment, bribery, intimidation, and all sorts of other corporate miseeds.
“Social Media” is another topic I have been waiting for someone to tackle. As a freelance writer, I am constantly asked by friends and family why I am not out there on Facebook and Twitter promoting my little reviews. The reason is very simple. I do not believe in Mark Zuckerberg’s bizarre vision that every aspect of every person’s life should be public knowledge.
And that is just on the surface. The collecting of data about those who “willingly” participate has already been shown to go far beyond what people “agreed” to, and it is only going to get worse. The crucial mistake George Orwell made in 1984 was that there was an identifiable enemy in Big Brother. But what if your enemy is your friend. And all you would have to do is “Like” the friend on Facebook?