Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Winklevoss twins and "the nature of irony"

Recently, Larry Summers, the miserable failure of an asshole who resigned in disgrace after a pathetic tenure as Barack Obama's "chief financial advisor," called the Winklevoss twins "as sholes."

You can watch the video here. (Embed disabled by request!)

The Winklevoss twins (or, if you prefer, Winklevii) are the two young men who claim to have invented facebook. They sued TIME magazine person of the year Mark Zuckerberg and settled for $65 million. Actually it was apparently $20 cash and $45 million in stock, which is now worth something like $150 million. Now they've given up with the pursuit of the lawsuit, or it was dismissed by a judge in Boston, or something.

Perhaps the worst part of the whole ordeal was that it inspired one of the most overrated movies of last year.

Anyway, the Winklevii have a lot of money, even more money than they had before, which was apparently a lot of money. Beyond that, I don't know much about them. I hope they're happy.

At the time they attended Harvard, financial genius Larry Summers was the president. In January 2009 he joined the Obama administration as an economic advisor.

His tenure was marked by failures that would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that we're all suffering because of them.

Well, Mr. Summers, the Winkelvii might be as sholes (I don't know them, never met them, never will), but at least they haven't done anything to directly contribute to the destruction of the world's economy. The way you have.

I'd say that makes you the as shole. One as shole calling someone else an as shole is what you'd call ironic.

Mr. Summers made his "as shole" remarks at something called the Fortune Brainstorm tech conference, in front of a group of people who sat to listen to this man, presumably because they thought he had something worthwhile to say. Therefore, it's probably a safe assumption that the people who invited Mr. Summers to speak, and the people who willingly came to listen to him -- despite his almost uninterrupted string of failures -- are also as sholes.

A group of people sitting and respectfully listening to an as shole speak at a conference that isn't called "The Big Giant As shole Conference" is another bit of irony.

"As sholegate" was covered by something called First Post, by a semiliterate snarkist who frames the situation thus:
Larry Summers told the Fortune Brainstorm tech conference in Aspen, Colorado earlier this week about the famous incident when the cocky – and cosseted – twins asked to meet him to discuss Zuckerberg's alleged theft of their ideas.

That meeting is a particularly entertaining scene in David Fincher's Oscar-winning film. Seeing the pair of undergraduates arrive overdressed in matching suits, the fictionalised Summers sneers: "From the looks of it they want to sell me a Brooks Brothers franchise."
Ho, ho! That is clever, the way the fictional version of Mr. Summers (from an Academy Award winning film, no less!) belittled two young men who had the audacity to get dressed up for a meeting with a university president (and what scintillating dialogue!). One can completely understand why said president might want to take these little slugs down a peg or two-- seriously, getting dressed up? To see a university president? Who did they think they were?
The Winklevosses, known on the internet as Winklevii, would arguably have done well to rise above Summers's comment. Instead, they have delighted gossip fans with a 600-word defence.

They write: "[Summers'] manner was not inconsistent with his reputation and present day admissions of being tactfully challenged. [He failed] to shake hands with the three of us upon entering his office (doing so would have required him to take his feet off his desk and stand up from his chair)."

Misunderstanding the nature of irony, they add: "Ironically, our choice of attire that day was made out of respect and deference to the office of the President."
No, actually the Winklevii did not misunderstand the nature of irony. It really is ironic that they got dressed up to show respect and deference to the office of the President, when said president was in fact a complete and utter as shole.

In trying to be oh so arch and clever and inserting her own comment into the Winklevii statement, it's the author of the post who reveals that she misunderstands the nature of irony. How ironic!

Larry Summers in action.

2 comments:

A.Jaye said...

The president of a univarsity became financial advisor for the president of the United States?

What kind of system have you got over there?

Everypne knows that academics can't run businesses ie those who can't teach. So why ask one to help run the country?

In other news Ricky I hope you know that in this part of the world everybody knows that Americans don't understand irony:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/sarah-churchwell-americans-dont-understand-irony-ndash-do-they-869680.html

Ricky Sprague said...

A.Jaye, the irony is, we don't have a system over here, we have a racket.