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Monday, December 16, 2013

"Conspicuous Affluenza" Is the New Status Symbol Among Silicon Valley's Elite

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Neither love nor happiness can cure affluenza - FLICKR/TYCHAY
  • Flickr/tychay
  • Neither love nor happiness can cure affluenza

San Francisco -- News that a 16-year-old Texas boy has received no prison time for killing four people with his car because he was too rich to know right from wrong has become the next big thing among Silicon Valley's elite.

"Affluenza," said Business Insider, "is the new 'Middle Earth-themed wedding' among tech industry insiders.

Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg has already run over 14 people with a Ferrari -- all of whom, according to the social network, were his friends. Eager to keep up, Google founder Sergey Brin has dispatched a small fleet of driverless cars to run over the homeless. According to testimony from his Brin's lawyer, he is rich enough to run over at least 1,029 people without possibly understanding why it's wrong.

"Mr. Brin's vast wealth isolates him from the consequences of his actions, obviously," said his attorney Vincent Barone. "After all, when you run someone over with your car, their Google profile doesn't disappear -- if anything, their search engine footprint grows bigger from all the media attention. So from his perspective they're as real as they ever were."

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has urged her senior management to give their female employees flex time to run people over with their cars, saying that whether crushing bicyclists on the streets of San Francisco or beating caddies to death on the golf course, women have to "Lean In" if they want to stay competitive.

"The idea that high-earning women know right from wrong just because they're women ignores just how wealthy we are," Mayer said in a press release. "If homicide starts at home, then surely the role of women is all that much more important."

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom has Instragrammed himself backing over five nuns, and according to a press release sent out by the company "he is far too rich to see any problem with that."

Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also ran over a young girl suffering from leukemia, but she lived and is expected to make a full recovery.

Most Silicon Valley techies, of course, aren't rich enough to do more than kick a homeless person, or evict an old woman from her apartment -- and then kick her. But the trend is clearly catching on, with startups going out of their way to demonstrate early on that they lack any sense of morality or human decency.

"Here at Xexus," said the social-data app's CEO, "we emerged from a hackathon with venture capital funding and now are utilizing social media across all platforms to monetize our native advertizing stream ahead of a subscription-base revenue model that should lead to an IPO in 2015, and a key part of that business plan is to harass old people on the subway."

"God," he added after a deep breath. "Just saying those words makes me feel like I could stab a barista -- it's so empowering."

But many tech entrepreneurs say their model isn't Larry Page or Biz Stone, but Lloyd Blankfein, whose affluenza is so pronounced that he actually runs Goldman Sachs.

"Honestly, I can't think of any way to do more damage to more people on a constant basis," said tech magnate Elon Musk. "And I built a death ray."

Benjamin Wachs is a literary chameleon

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