inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #76 of 150: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 7 Jul 00 13:46
    
Good stint on KQED, incidentally.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #77 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Fri 7 Jul 00 15:56
    
thanx jonl. you must be in town, interviewing at cisco? or were you
listening
on the web?
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #78 of 150: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 7 Jul 00 16:12
    
Listening on the web. Haven't been invited for another interview the cisco
kids. *8-)
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #79 of 150: Martin Minow (minow) Fri 7 Jul 00 16:37
    
Yeah, good show. I half-listened to it while working. Almost called to
take issue with the woman who felt she couldn't change careers to
"programmer." The wife of a friend of mine (and of Paulina) offers a
good counter-example. When I first met her, she was a secretary at
Digital Equipment. Dec trained her as a programmer, then as a manager.
After leaving Dec, she was CEO of a startup, then a manager in a few
local (Silicon Valley) high-tech companies.

Of course, a single counter-example, whether of secretary to CEO or
former psycholinguist, social-democrat, cypherpunk, does not a movement
make.

 
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #80 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Fri 7 Jul 00 19:16
    
yeah martin, but said wife already had a masters degree in biology,
i think, dec was the kind of corporate good citizen there isnt too
much of in hihg-tech anymore, and times have changed since then...
i am tempted to noel out on the 'bloodless...polemic' comment ---
noeling out being the verb derived from friend noel chiappa,
mentioned aboive --- who even in circles of exacting, hyperfocussed
technologists (arpanet, ietf), is famous for chasing/out down the
details...but nay, i wont...
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #81 of 150: Owen Thomas (dither) Fri 7 Jul 00 20:42
    
Well, I'm curious -- <mitchell>, care to go into more detail
on what parts of "Cyberselfish" you found "bloodless"?
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #82 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Fri 7 Jul 00 22:04
    
yeah, mr ditherati, i was musing on
'bloodless' = lacking gore, vivisection, lots of car crashes?
'bloodless' = lacking the galenic humor, i.e. not sanguine?
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #83 of 150: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 8 Jul 00 11:45
    
Heh...a polemic should definitely leave blood, else what's if for? So
'bloodless polemic' is quite an insult.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #84 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Sat 8 Jul 00 11:53
    
yeah, i found myself thinking iof the collected speeches of enver hoxha
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #85 of 150: Avi Rappoport (avirr) Sun 9 Jul 00 22:40
    
I hang (usually virtually) with a bunch of semi-liberatarian
programmers, but there are a couple of us Unreconstructed Liberals who
force them to justify their off-the-cuff statements about the evils of
government.  Because they are both smart and nice, they tend to back
down quickly.

My favorite libertarian market-based solution (not from this group)
was the proposal to fix the California public school system by treating
each school as a startup company.  How they plan to offer the
equivalent of stock options, much less deal with the huge rate of
startup failure, is not clear to me.  (I have a child in public school,
so I'm walking the walk).
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #86 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Sun 9 Jul 00 22:59
    
there are too many humorouous rejoinders one could make the
the school-as-startup idea...best of breed! headhunters spiriting
away yr best students! selective hiring of only the best students!
never mind, i'll stop...
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #87 of 150: Andrew Brown (andrewb) Mon 10 Jul 00 07:07
    
What's so funny? This is how private education works in the UK. OK, the
students are mostly locked in for five year periods.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #88 of 150: Michael W. Martin (michael-martin) Mon 10 Jul 00 07:25
    
 Same in American prep schools. And with athletes being recruited for
midwestern sports-powerhouse universities, the analogy is even closer.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #89 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Mon 10 Jul 00 10:21
    
total agreement.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #90 of 150: Owen Thomas (dither) Mon 10 Jul 00 17:16
    
So, Paulina, what's next? Any burning issues left unaddressed
in tdb? When's the next book due out?
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #91 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Mon 10 Jul 00 21:21
    
1st, the next book will largely be a function of how well tdb does.
and to be honest, i went through such perdition to get tdb out,
it's left me a bit in the state of being a hand-shy horse...


it's an interesting question. the email i've been getting over the last week
has been mixed/indicative: lots of people saying
1) 'move to china since you are such a socialist' (this is particularly
amusing, as i was a card-carrying member of the aclu when i was 14, and was
accused in my hanging around ultra-lefty groups in the early 70s of not
being pure enough of revolutionary heart. it was all true; the intolerance
and power-politics seemed like the same old, same old... and scared me then
as much as it does now...)
2) 'thank god you are saying this stuff'
3) 'this is so passe'
4) 'gee you're angry' (it tends to be a given that it's ok for males to be
snarky, but women doing that are seen as Harridans/shrill)

i mean, there's lots i can say about all kinds of things having to do with
high-tech culture; but i am not sure what folks might be interested in
hearing about.

so am not sure what else folks would want me to engage with.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #92 of 150: Owen Thomas (dither) Mon 10 Jul 00 23:37
    
Paulina, I sent you a news clip that folks here might find of
interest. It's a story from Monday's Wall Street Journal,
about a fellow by the name of Jeffrey Seiff. To sum up, he
worked at Scient for a year right before the company went
public, was a paper millionaire, then saw his Internet-stock
laden portfolio vanish largely because he wanted to avoid
paying regular taxes on his stock-option gains. He worked
for another dot-com for four months, then ditched it and
started a consultancy in San Francisco.

Seiff's story struck me as especially rich terrain for you
to explore: it has all the themes your recent work touches
on. The MBAing of San Francisco (the masters of the universe
arrive in geekland); the lottery nature of wealth in the
Valley; the innately libertarian aversion to paying taxes
(in Seiff's case, a real monkey's paw of a portfolio, where
he passed up hundreds of thousands in real gains to avoid
paying 39.6% income tax as opposed to 20% capital gains tax).

Where to start?
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #93 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Tue 11 Jul 00 10:04
    
i am about to hop on a plane to seattle, but will respond
with something either late this afternoon or this evening.
good forward, mr dither...
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #94 of 150: David Gans (tnf) Tue 11 Jul 00 10:51
    

A web reader writes:

From: "Stewart Lone" <stewartb@snip.net>
To: <inkwell-hosts@well.com>
Subject: Borsook
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 13:31:12 -0400

Succinctly:- Borsook sucks wet wrinkly donkey dick.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #95 of 150: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 11 Jul 00 10:59
    
literary criticism in the 21st century.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #96 of 150: David Gans (tnf) Tue 11 Jul 00 11:04
    

I asked him if he'd care to amplify or back up his remark:


>Illuminating would be if there were multiple Klieg lights on her in the act
>while it was being webcast.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #97 of 150: gazorninblat (dwaite) Tue 11 Jul 00 11:09
    
methinks that a little too much light was shed in his little corner of
selfishdom..
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #98 of 150: Ron Hogan (grifter) Tue 11 Jul 00 11:29
    

Klieg lights would undoubtedly wash out the image to the point where
it would no longer be of webcast quality. Whatever he IS an expert on,
it doesn't appear to be net-related.
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #99 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Tue 11 Jul 00 18:09
    
as opposed to firm dry some other kind of dick?
  
inkwell.vue.79 : Paulina Borsook - Cyberselfish
permalink #100 of 150: Paulina Borsook (loris) Tue 11 Jul 00 18:28
    
anyway, am sitting in my hotel in seattle and had these thots re: owen's
forward of the wsj story...


owen, thanx for forwarding that wsj story. quite perfect. and i have friends
in somewhat similar situations --- in a matter of months going from
paperworth of $10 mill to a tax liability of $850k.

a coupla things come to mind --- first, to be fair, most people try to lower
their taxes by whatever means they can. the main difference it seems being
that the wealthier you are, the more creative the options/possibilities to
do this that can present themselves.

but embedded in the wsj story were several threads that i think run through
a lot of the money culture in 'high-tech' today. one is what former
sociologist/classicist phillip slater (he wrote the classic 'the pursuit of
loneliness') described in his book 'wealth addiction'. it's a book i read as
part of my work on that notorious paul allen profile of yore; there's a lot
in the book, but one of the ideas slater puts forth is how much the very
wealthy (or those who would ape them) are kind of insulated from normal
health stress of coping with every day life/positive resistance, and the
toxic effects this can have on character. i think there was a book written
in the last few years that talks about how -everyone- thinks they should
live with the amenities of at least the upper-middle class (as lifestyle
shown on tv and in movies): second house, home theater, whatever. and in a
sense, you could say the whole webvan/kozmo phenom has been about -everyone-
thinking they should live in a world of room service at the plaza.

so our wsj protagonist was living the room-service lifestyle...and had
certainly bought into the long boom/new new economy/it's only pessimists who
 dont believe religion. and had also bought into the 'this is the only life
worth living/only money can be worth pursuing', a phenom slater also
documented. funny, i just read some fiction by thornton wilder about the
newport, rhode island rich of the 20s ---  he dryly documents how the very
rich of that era never wanted to pay their bills to say, tutors, [why should
we pay teachers? better to have distance learning with adjuncts], assumed
everyone was trying to steal their money [if i give money to philanthropy,
how do i know it wont be wasted/ripped off], and couldnt imagine how anyone
other than the very wealthy lived any kind of life at all [anyone not in
dotcomlandia is often regarded as an interesting, higher form of insect
life. if you dont participate, you're obviously not smart enough. or if you
are smart enough, you're either mentally ill or retrograde] ...slater would
have had a field day with them...

also, the screwiness of our hero's compensation, based on the
dotcom/wallstreet ponzi scheme, definitely shows the disconnect between work
and compensation that dotcom silliness has caused. the -lottery- nature of
high-tech these days (a less rigged lottery than most, but still a lottery)
was well-displayed in the piece --- and i think this is important, because
'high-tech' bruits about that its world is one of a meritocracy. i think it
was once more than it is now...

but there's a meta lesson here, not just about high-tech; most of us suffer
from lack of empathic imagination. our wsj protagonist had never experienced
a recession, had never been other than in demand. how could he really
-believe- that life could be other than the one of irrational exuberance he
had experienced? i sometimes have wondered if a -small- part of the
libertarianism of high-tech has do to with the fact that the vast majority
of folks working in it have moved out to the bay area post-prop 13 (1978).
so all they've seen is decaying infrastructure and hapless bureacracy etc.
however, i grew up in california at a time when the public sector was well-
funded and seemed to work --- and so can remember a time when things werent
Run Down and Shot to Hell and there was a commons well-maintained...
  

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