Manny’s junking his Wired archive. He highlights a 1996 article by Neal Stephenson. Interestingly, this story was the moment that Wired shortcircuited, for me. Of course, my disenchantment with the mag first crystallized with the terrible, faux-fad cover story on the Zippies. My suspicions deepened at the obvious shill job on Walter Wriston (We’ve seen the future – and middle-aged bankers will lead us there, french cuffs shining whitely in the bitstream!).

But Stephenson’s long, sloppy French kiss to the ideals of Ayn Rand really did me in. It’s one long love-blind poem to global capitalism, romantically propagandizing for an adolescent fantasy of tax-free offshore data havens, and I threw it across the room, cursing, several times as I read it. I believe the most commonly used word was “Bullshit!” I have a recollection of telling someone that I expected to see headshots of fiftysomething white men in suits, jauntily puffing cigars, adorn the covers shortly (trawling the cover archives, the Wriston cover appears to be the closest fit, although this comes close; so, um, I guess I got that wrong).

In hindsight, Stephenson successfully described Enron’s business model. Boy howdy, we should be glad that no-one has implemented the apparently-frictionless hyper-exchange he visualizes. Imagine a world run by countless Enrons! I’d rather die!

Instead of possiblities, I saw lies; instead of a grand vision I saw the death of community; instead of liberation I saw failed nation-states and global war.

Of course, I can’t make it through one single article in The Economist without the same enraged, stuttering profanity. I am not unaware that I’m an edge case; of course that by no means changes the fact that I’m right. 😉