New Orleans is lately awash in undersunned messianic dweebs who seem to genuinely believe their post-flood fortune-hunting is somehow doing New Orleans a favor. There's a long history of people coming from elsewhere to make a buck in New Orleans; what bothers me about the App schmucks is not their fortune-hunting as such, but their inexplicable self-congratulatory attitude.
They somehow think by rolling into town, taking advantage of tax breaks and venture-capital rent subsidies, and starting software-related businesses that exclusively hire other white people from elsewhere, they're doing New Orleans a favor. It's crazy. Compounding their cluelessness, they inhabit an echo chamber: there's a new-minted media stratum, including a dedicated reporter at NOLA.com, that exists entirely to run unedited (and unread!) these newcomers' masturbatory press releases and their announcements of the latest in an infinite overlapping series of conferences, panels and hackathons to do with #Innovation and #Startups and #Disruption and #Entrepreneurship.
You think I'm joking about their arrogance, or about the delusional bubble they inhabit? "What the Dalai Lama and New Orleans Entrepreneurs Have in Common."
These kids are smug, rich, boorishly unselfaware... and, down to the last man-child, thin-skinned. All those elements combined in the southern heat make for a raw batch of San Francisco tech-sector sourdough I just can't resist punching the lumps out of.
What pushed me over the edge was a particular loudly-touted June "hackathon." "Hackathons" are where these geniuses gather for a 24-hour period during which they code up solutions to various problems other, lesser humans have wrestled unsuccessfully with. They're all fucking ridiculous, but the Hackathon that raised my hackles above what I could endure was "Hack the New Orleans Murder Rate." They were going to gather and develop iPhone Apps that would somehow remedy our impoverished, historically oppressed and significantly illiterate city's horrifically high incidence of homicide. Wish I was joking!
Anyone who's read this far in will likely be unsurprised to learn that there are at any given time a number of things ambiently aggrieving me-- a cloud of annoyances, hovering like horseflies around my greasy head. Mostly I go about my days without squandering much time swatting at them, but every so often the cloud coalesces sufficiently to become a target, and however fleetingly, my wroth overtops my sloth.
Thus it was one morning I woke up, registered the URL nationaldayofhacking.info, and built a website there. It was a day's work, and a means of expressing-- in the medical sense of forcing out-- some of my accumulated disgust towards these creepy god-complex freaks. I'd figured the site would be an inside joke at best, but my critique resonated with a far wider audience. It "went viral," as even people like myself say of such things. In its first ten-or-so hours of existence, nationaldayofhacking.info drew thousands of visitors from all over the world, thanks in large part to the URL being tweeted by some prominent techno-critics, as well as, it must be said, some techno-evangelists with senses of humor. Then, late in the afternoon, Wikileaks itself promoted NationalDayofHacking.info (which it described as "delightfully viscsious" [sic]) to its more than 2,000,000 twitter followers. At that point, the visitor numbers went fucking bonkers.
I hate technology, science, all that shit. Basically, everything since penicillin I think we'd be better off without, and I'm open to arguments going back way further. Having said that, it's pretty remarkable that some words I wrote upon waking up in a bad mood can be in front of the eyes of hundreds of thousands of strangers within a single orbit of the sun around the earth, or whatever.
So that's my post about nationaldayofhacking.info. It was initially unsigned, but eventually people locally started to ask me if I was behind it (although I think most knew from the get-go, since the trail of tweets mentioning it began with me), so I copped to it. And hey: if you don't think I take a savage, ugly & unwholesome satisfaction in seeing some shit I wrote critiquing the social-media-obsessed NOLA technology economy garner more attention and more readership, via social-media technology, than anything ever produced by the social-media-obsessed NOLA technology economy, then you must have mistaken me for a far, far less venal person than I am.