Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs - A Parody by Fake Steve Jobs
"Welcome to the mind, to the world of Fake Steve Jobs. Fake Steve the counterintuitive management guru: “Obviously we can’t literally put our employees’ lives at risk. But we have to make them feel that way.” Fake Steve the political hobnobber: “I can see why they keep Nancy Pelosi under wraps. Wacky as a dime watch.” Fake Steve quoting friend/musician/philosopher Bono on road etiquette: “Tink about dat next toim yer cuttin off some bloke and you don’t know who it is, right? Could be Jay-sus. Or Boutros Boutros-Ghali or sumfin.” And on, yes, himself: “Geniuses have feelings, too.” In the tradition of Thank You for Smoking and in the spirit of The Onion, Options is a novelistic sendup and takedown of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C., as viewed by a central character who exists, to his immense self-satisfaction, at the crossroads of all three worlds: “It’s like in one of those movies where a guy realizes he’s got telekinetic powers and it’s just too bad if he doesn’t want them, he’s got them. Likewise, I have this gift. It’s who I am.”
In this parody of the life of Apple founder Steve Jobs, the pseudonymous Fake Steve Jobs (identified in the New York Times this month as Forbes senior editor Daniel Lyons) offers a gleeful sendup of the real Steve Jobs set amid the recent stock options backdating scandal. Throughout, the fake Steve pontificates on everything from his superior management skills (only promote stupid people) to his role in the development of the iPhone (it involves a lot of non-thinking meditation), and is portrayed as a cold, callow narcissist. Blissfully unaware of the legal firestorm raging around him, a mathlexic Fake Steve goes about his daily business, balancing meditation with the firing of employees while the Apple board of directors scrambles to avoid prison time and find a scapegoat. As the fictitious Apple corporation implodes, Fake Steve must decide whether to jump ship or stand by the company. Tech industry watchers who know (or know of) the players will get a kick out of seeing them skewered, but readers who aren't already tuned in to the Silicon Valley technocracy may not quite get it. Fake Steve doesn't really evolve as a character, but as a grotesque caricature, he's fun to watch."