Hurt techies complain that 'techie' is an insult

San Francisco's techies are worried that the term has become so derogatory that it's causing them pain. They would prefer "hacker" or, well, "maker."

Maker or techie? ABC News screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

When words get twisted, feelings get trampled, ululations soar, and hearts descend to pitiful infernos -- the flames only dampened by tears.

It's happening all around San Francisco, Calif., and it's very concerning. It seems that those who work in the tech community are raging. They feel they are being insulted and they want to disrupt the insults.

What is hurting them so? It's the very word "techie."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a word that once might have signified sophistication now carries more than a nuance of spectacularly entitled, money-grabbing, socially unaware, nauseatingly arrogant, barely shaven, check-shirted wastes of space.

I paraphrase, but speak with some experience of this slightly less-than-Carmelite community.

One plaintive tech entrepreneur, Dan Gailey, told the Chronicle: "A lot of negative terms like that -- yuppie, hipster -- are outsider terms. We don't call each other techies -- at all, ever."

And, of course, what matters is what techies call themselves. They are defining, redefining, and refining the world. They want the rest of the world to listen, not talk.

It seems that the words they want to hear are "hacker," "coder," or, please imagine, "maker."

Some might feel their hearts dance to see a word sometimes used to refer to God being twisted to describe a techie.

Techies, meanwhile, are wafting on the axis between perturbed and disturbed.

Explained Dan Lyttle, an illustrator for a gaming company: "People talk about 'techies' with such disdain, like 'Oh, it's this thing that's swamping the city,' so of course the word's gotten negative."

There is a touch of evidence that techies have contributed to the darkening of the word "techie."

Who could forget transplanted techie Peter Shih and his condescending excoriation of San Francisco? A sample: "Why the f*** would I want to go anywhere if I have to choose between spending an hour on a bus where homeless people publicly defecate or an equally enraging hour of circling the same four street blocks trying to find parking on a 45-degree hill?"

There are those -- some of whom I've even talked to on the subject -- who believe that the word "techie" is insufficiently stern. They would prefer "asshat" or something even more anatomically expressive.

I prefer, though, to find hope in the madness.

I believe that the tech community should meet in its tech church hall and resolve to disrupt this disruption to its reputation.

It should find ways to interfere with all the world's keyboards to prevent the word "techie" from ever being typed. Surveillance technology is now so sophisticated that surely some device can be invented whereby anyone who utters the word "techie" could be dealt a severe, short-wave electric shock.

Failing that, the tech community could pressure San Francisco to make uttering the word an offense even greater than sitting on the sidewalk or wandering nude in Noe Valley.

Techies aren't yuppies with a technological background. They are the saviors of the current world, the makers of a new one.

Why do we always find it so hard to be grateful to the great ones?

 

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