Today in Tabs: #Hashtag Real Talk

Marc Andreessen Fred Prouser/Reuters

I bet @pmarca doesn't like Frozen. :)

— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) June 5, 2014

Longtime readers will know that I have nothing but contempt and loathing for tech-industry venture capitalist and duplicate letter fancier Marc Andreessen. So it was hardly a surprise when he went on CNBC and called Edward Snowden a traitor. "If you look up in the encyclopedia 'traitor' there's a picture of Ed Snowden," he said, following it with a "well of course you should have known anyway." As Sam Biddle points out in Valleywag this is extra gross because "the data-rich companies Andreessen makes money off of are what make it so easy for the NSA to spy in the first place." In fact Andreessen has been on a bit of a media tour of gross opinions lately, tweeting on Wednesday about how great technology is for the poor. And where @pmarca tweetstorms appear, sycophants are never far behind, hailing his bravery. As though there were any bravery in a rich man, who sits at the center of a diseased industry and benefits enormously from perpetuating that disease, saying anything he feels like saying.

It's Friday, so who's down for some #Hashtag Real Talk? This isn't about Tabs or the internet or fun or anything so if you're here for that stuff, you should just skip right on down to the picture of Brett O'Connor as a dog. ↓↓↓↓↓

oh man an oral-b tv spot starts "not all toothbrushes" and now i can't see my toothbrush without a little fedora.

— kathryn (@kratlee) June 6, 2014

Ok, #Hashtag Real Talk: the thing is, I was really mad this morning about Marc Andreessen, and it has become clear to me that this is a personal pathology and not something rational in any way. I don't know the guy, never met him, never talked to him. He has very little ability to affect my life at all. I dislike the things he says but I dislike the things a lot of people say without being mad at them for existing in a, like, ontological kind of way. I just don't have the time or energy to hate strangers, as a general rule. And it always turns out that when someone really makes me mad, what I am reacting to is something about them that reminds me of something I dislike in myself. Sure it's narcissistic, and go ahead and add that to the list of my flaws, but I know that it's true for me and I suspect it's true for almost everyone–we hate most in other people what we secretly fight against in ourselves.

So the rest of this is pretty obvious right? Andreessen is the golden idol of the meritocracy myth. Nothing he ever says or does in public, that I've seen, does anything to contradict the impression that he thinks he's rich and influential because he is smarter and better than everyone who is not as rich and not as influential. He pronounces his views on anything and everything with no apparent concern for the value of other perspectives. Andreessen grew up as a middle-class white kid in Wisconsin, according to Wikipedia, and he's only a few years older than me. I was–and I'm sure he was–raised to believe that our success is purely earned, that any happiness we enjoy is the result of our own labors.

But that's a lie. It's a seductive lie, one that's incredibly hard not to believe, deep down. And part of me does believe it. There's a little bald prolate spheroid deep down in the most hidden part of my soul that looks out of my eyes in the mirror and says "yesss my precious, you do deserve it, you made the right choices, you worked hard when it was called for, you did the right things. You're happy because you earned it. You're successful because you're special." When I see Marc Andreessen, what I'm really seeing is this liar in my soul. It knows I always had a leg up, it knows I went to private school, I never had to conform to anyone else's schedule, I never had to work as hard as anyone else, I always skated by on a good vocabulary and a plausible excuse. It knows all this but it doesn't care, because it still believes that I'm special anyway, innately, not just that I got to live life on the easy setting and that I happened to be dropping out of college right when the internet came along to support my lazy ass.

What Marc Andreessen looks like to me is a chilled butter sculpture made of pure privilege, and what I hate about him is the acceptance of that privilege that still lurks inside of me, all the time. I mean right this second I'm writing a newsletter about myself as if anyone on earth should care.

As usual the kicker is that there is no kicker, it's just something that was on my mind, and I hope it's clear that Actually Existing Marc Andreessen is nothing but a cipher to me. I mean he seems like a jerk though.


Hey girl hey. Bow-wow.

Ok! Aren't you glad you skipped that? You sure are. Facebook's ad product director or something posted an incredibly boring blog entry about Organic Reach which honestly I am not even able to? But it sure riled up the media. I assume it was smug and dismissive, because "Smug & Dismissive" is literally chiseled in Latin on the lintel at Facebook PR headquarters. I cannot go a whole day without mentioning Patricia Lockwood so here she is on KCUR radio. Slender Man mania has reached the NYT Op-Ed page, its Time magazine cover and then a gradually declining series of daytime talk show mentions are all that remains for it. Get rid of your site comments, say legit scienticians. Other scienticians remind us that the ocean is a terrifying alien place full of giant horrible mysteries with teeth. Leah Reich on sexbots which are apparently a thing that exists now. Abe Riesman made us a supercut of every vagina reference in the new Orange is the New Black season. So that's servicey. And similar but different, Tim Carmody investigated how we spell donut today on National Doughnut Day. And finally, a last-minute entry that I haven't even read yet but it's sure to be a tab, Nick Denton's wedding in the NYT.

Today in Newsletters: Mark Kowgier's "p.p.s." is pretty damn good.

Today's Video: The Adventure Time Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell

Today's Song: Kitty, Sasha Go Hard, & Tink "Spotless" (prod. Ryan Hemsworth and little cloud)

~#realtalk saves the tab~


Newsweek, email, @rustyk5, @TodayInTabs