You remember the good ol’ days, don’t you? Sure you do, when money flowed from every fountain, when hope budded on every fertile branch, when every voice around you was a bird song sweeping you higher and higher.
You were invincible. You just accepted the top job at a prestigious company and your CV would glow with the gold star of accomplishment ever after. After all, you worked towards such an opportunity for your entire life. The late nights, the time away from loved ones, the skipped vacations, and the complete eschewing of anything resembling “balance.” You made the sacrifices you needed to, beat the odds, overcame discrimination and rose to the top ranks on your own merit. All for this. Then the call actually came. Yes, the call. The call where they asked you to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Now look at you, those idle tearsi streaming down your face, streaking paths of undeniable guilt down the make-up the camera crew caked on just before your Breakfast Television interview. But really, despite the tears, despite the whimpering acknowledgement, it really wasn’t your fault, right? How could it have been? You’re just one little person in a great big organisation and you just so happened to take over the wrong reigns at the wrong place at the wrong time. You’re not von Flondor, you’re just the stunt double, you plead, and you’d very much like to go back to your trailer now if that’s quite alright.
Maybe you’re AMD’s Lisa Su and you just took the top spot in October 2014. Maybe they told you that the company’s excessive focus on mobile turds was going to stem the haemorrhaging and turn things around any day now, and that investors just needed the leadership and guidance of a 44-year-old to make it happen. Maybe you believed them.
Maybe you’re IBM’s Virginia Rometty, CEO since January 2012. Maybe they told you that American companies don’t need to manufacture real things anymore, not in the new “service economy”ii that’s just around the corner. Maybe they said it’d be better if the Chinese did the building and IBM developed Watson into a jack-of-all-trades robosleuth that could cure diabetes and find Sean Connery at the same time? Maybe you believed them.
Maybe you’re Apple’s Tim Cook, the openly gay CEO of the world’s largest luxury electronics marketing company.iii Maybe they told you that Steve Jobs had the next 10 generations of everything planned out and all you’d have to do was smile and press the “next” button between presentation slides at Apple’s various media events. Maybe you believed them.
Maybe you’re the USG’s Barack Obama, the first black President.iv Maybe they told you that you could mobilise the vote and start a revolution. Maybe they told you that you could end wars and bring hope for peace to the peoples of the world. Maybe you believed them.
Maybe you’re General Motors’ Mary Barra, CEO since January 2014. Maybe they promoted you all the way up from engineering via HR up to the top spot because “this isn’t your father’s GM anymore.” Maybe they told you that the broke and withering company, shedding market share and unable to afford to update their R&D-starved product line, could return to profitability by rebranding, marketing and generally raping anyone dumb enough to lease their shoddy wares,v just like GM has since the 1970’s. Maybe you believed them.
So about that trailer… The simple answer is… there’s no fucking chance. You’re not walking away quietly into the night. Your tears don’t absolve you of shit.
Yes, you’re the fallguy. Yes, they told you that you were the belle of the ball. And no, you’re not the belle after all. You’re the sucker.
And because you believed that they promoted you because of equality, fairness, merit and shit, you’re just as guilty as the rest of them. Your complete inability to see the true motives of the people who really drove the company/government/whatever into the ground makes you as guilty as them. There’s no avoiding the decisions you made and, despite the repeated warnings, you chose to associate with scum.
Even though they handed you the steering wheel to the Titanic after she’d already hit the iceberg and was flooding on two decks, you still took the bait. You, the fallguy, the lady in pink, the mulatto in a suit, the twink in a turtleneck, you suck. You failed.
Maybe in a different way than you expected but you failed nonetheless. And you won’t be spared the fate you so justly deserve. You got in the way of the wrong train. To quote MP:
Have you given orders to prevent revolutionary activity ? Have you supported measures of exploitation of the poor, and of enforcement of the old economic order and its mechanisms ? Tread lightly, my dear friends, because the shield you think is shielding you is mere dust, is mere smoke, is blowing away. Tread lightly, for better men could not step through the vazduh once what they imagined, what they thought, what they firmly believed to be solid ground ran off into the mists from under their very feet. Better men couldn’t, and neither can you.
Tread lightly, because nothing is easier than
s/communist/Bitcoin/ flondor.txt | gpg –clearsign
Nothing in the world.
Your idle tears don’t wash away a thing.
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Next morning addendum:
It’s easy to suggest that there’s a cause and effect relationship between having some minority in the seat of power and things going down the tubes. I don’t disagree that there’s a cause and effect, merely that it’s possible to conflate them. I’d like to suggest that these minorities, these fallguys, can be the effect rather than the cause. They’re the canaries in the coal mines and every bit as bright, both intellectually and in terms of their signalling. An organisation that willfully puts such minorities in the position of Chief Executive Officer could be nearing the end of its useful life for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with some self-immolating obsession with fairness, equality, and rights; this may merely be the edge of the Board’s options sheet after, say, the former CEO, in all his egomaniacal brilliance, simply died or moved on to another challenge, leaving a headless monster that couldn’t possibly be recapitated no matter how many dollars are thrown at the problem. So the Board has no option but to flail about impudently in a vain attempt at relevance and propriety. So they play the PR game and throw in Mrs. Minority in the hope that the news stories about affirmative action and glass ceilings will detract from their sputtering operations and distinctive lack of vision.
In summa: as fucking if. Just die already.
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- Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
(Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1847) [↩]
- Hey guise, I have an idea, let’s all sell haircuts and lattes and vintage books and waterfront condos to each other and start our own futuristic super-economy! We’ll all be rich and have a minimum wage of $19! [↩]
- Not “computers,” certainly. Apple doesn’t sell CSIRACs and if they ever sold anything resembling a “personal computer,” those days died with Steve. [↩]
- Hillary Clinton might as well have won for all the difference it would’ve made. The People needed to prove that they really were as fucked as the rest of the world strongly suspected they were, and the visibility of both candidates as the “face of change” was more than sufficient to demonstrate the moral decline and general ineptitude of the once proud nation. [↩]
- The depreciation on a new Cadillac is just… special. Mostly on account of the $8,000 dealer rebates needed to move near-rusting metal on dealer lots after HQ stuffed the poor suckers up to their gills to show “sales” on paper, as vehicles are technically sold to independent dealers, not to customers. Car companies around the world leverage this little scam to fool retail stockholders into thinking that paying customers are voluntarily opening their wallet, rather than small business owners taking them with a gun to their heads. Look up “channel stuffing cars” sometime. [↩]