Apple is a company that brings out the worst in some people. Whether they be fanboy-bashers or CEOs of bloated software juggernauts, there’s something about Steve’s condescending little smirk that drives people absolutely batshit. I get it. I really do. For most of these individuals, the knowledge that I work with a superior OS is satisfaction enough. But for a select few, the magnitude of their assholery cannot be dismissed by that melodic C Major chord. These are the members of Douchebag’s Row. This series is designed to honor those who, through word and/or deed, have distinguished themselves as something more than mere assholes.
Once upon a time, a writer started a blog satirizing the life and business decisions of Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs. In the early days of the blog, you could actually picture the opinionated and sometimes-vulgar head of Apple saying some of the things that the blog – Fake Steve Jobs – attributed to him. As Apple’s stock ascended, the mystery writer who penned the site’s entries gained quite a following.
But the laughs could not go on forever. The first blow came when a New York Times writer discovered that Fake Steve was actually some tech editor at Forbes named Dan Lyons. Then, after announcing that he was leaving the personna of FSJ behind because he was so distraught over Steve Jobs’s poor health, many of his snarky followers lamented their loss – for the 5 minutes it took Lyons to realize that he couldn’t produce anything that anyone gave a shit about but Fake Steve. Of course, Lyons spun Jobs’s return to Apple as the reason for his return to FSJ.
With this return, no doubt fueled by the certitude that aping someone else’s success was the only gig that was going to put food on his table, the darkness descended. Dan’s resentment of the role he chose for himself as Fake Steve began to boil. FSJ began manifesting his hatred of Jobs and Apple in less and less satirical ways. Lyons penned an unflattering recounting of the “backdating scandal” called iCon. Trying desperately to make something more of his career than jetwash recycler for Apple’s CEO, Lyons took a job at Newsweek as a writer on their tech beat, where he got several additional opportunities to snipe at Apple while continuing to bare his teeth as FSJ. The infectious disease known as hitwhoria, which had plagued Lyons his entire career, became chronic. His entries for both Newsweek and FSJ, now devoid of facts, logic and humor, are now strictly a repository for the self-loathing he feels having dedicated his best years siphoning real accomplishments from someone else – like some tech laureate lamprey. Most recently, examples of Lyons’s shark jumping include “screw the iPhone, I’m with Android!” and “the Macintosh is dead”.
If you look at Fake Steve Jobs now, you’ll see some of the most bitter, contrived and vacant writing of his career, designed only to pull in eyeballs. Some of TMA’s favorites:
Mocking Jobs’s comment at D8 defending the work environment at Foxconn, which include restaurants and a movie theater, playing a role in a series of suicides there: “Obviously we feel terrible about this but it’s important to keep things like this in perspective. Foxconn has restaurants and swimming pools. It’s a pretty nice place.” Stay classy.
Trying to make fun of Jobs’s habit of responding to emails he receives directly by “responding” to a writer’s question about why Macs cost more than PCs (wasn’t that the theme of a couple of commercials a while back?): “The times they are a changing, and very soon the all-purpose computer, where you can buy and run any software you want, will be obsolete, replaced by the iPad, which costs more and does less and only runs software made by Apple or approved by Apple and sold through Apple’s store. This is the future and it will be way better than what we’ve had so far…” This hits the Lyons trifecta of “bash Apple’s closed ecosystem”, “bash Apple’s price premium” and “bash Apple’s limited functionality”. A drinking game based on spotting these themes from the last month on FSJ is guaranteed to send you to the emergency room.
I could continue citing Lyons for pages but frankly every other sentence is laced with this kind of venom, as unfunny as it is accuracy-free.
So at long last, TMA has added another bust to the 2 man menagerie that is Douchebag’s Row. Daniel Lyons. Once an occasional provider of crafted snark, he has joined the other red-faced tantrum throwers who envy success – especially because his meager spoils came exclusively from being the jizzmopper of an icon.