Techies offended by Silicon Valley reality show

Might it expose, say, vacuousness, venality, or even, perish the concept, truth? It appears the Valley is shuddering.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Silicon Valley has pushed the world's citizens to consistently reveal more of themselves.

Yet one of the slight ironies is that Silicon Valley's own potentates have proved to be remarkably keen on privacy.

Now, along comes Bravo TV, its arm tucked, in sisterly fashion, under that of executive producer Randi Zuckerberg, with a reality show about making it in the world of virtual money. Um, I mean tech.

And, as the New York Times tells me , the Valley is turning up its nose.

Personally, I was as excited as the first time I inhaled a supermodel's perfume when the show was announced back in April .

I may have been alone.

"Oh boy, a new 'silicon valley reality show' yuck, please stay in LA: http://twitpic.com/6vp80w/full," tweeted the serious tech entrepreneur Kevin Rose.

Worse, the show (which is currently in production) seemed to have caused a difference of opinion between Facebook PR person Brandee Barker and La Zuckerberg.

"@randizuckerberg I'm terrified that 'TV Gold' will turn Silicon Valley into a laughing stock of an industry. Please use your influence!" tweeted Barker.

Zuckerberg, though, seems to be a sanguine sort. Perhaps she learned sanguinity in the family bosom.

Her response to Barker was: "@brandee trust me, enough people in this industry make laughing stocks of themselves. We're just capturing reality!"

Barker's apparent disgust reminds me of English politicians who claim to abhor tabloid newspapers but read them before dull fare like the London Times.

As one who has consumed more Bravo reality shows over baked salmon and Cabernet Sauvignon than is advisable, they tend to fall into two categories.

Some make their stars seem greater ogres than, oh, many CEOs. Others elevate their subject matter.

On balance, I am not sure reality television has done much for basketball wives.

However, "Top Chef" has unquestionably brought much good to the culinary world, without sacrificing so many hallowed principles. Just think how many more people know what sous vide is.

The Times article is full of self-important tech types desperate to register their disgust and offense.

But if real people knew what some tech "entrepreneurs" truly get up to in their quest for self-fulfillment, perhaps they might be disgusted and offended too.

Of course the producers will use their intelligence to tease out storylines, conflicts, and idiocies.

But how many would be appalled at one participant of this show, Kim Taylor, who offered in the show's trailer: "Silicon Valley is high school, but it's only the smart kids and everyone has a lot of money"?

She then corrected herself via Twitter: "Apologies that I said Silicon Valley was like high school. I meant middle school. http://bit.ly/IlL0Ca ?#SiliconValley." Which surely shows a remarkably objective core.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It may well be that the people on this show will turn out (after injudicious, cynical editing) to be vacuous, venal vassals of contemporary self-centeredness.

But at least they'll bare some of their deeper instincts toward shallowness.

This might be a happy contrast with some of those they dream of becoming: those who claim to eschew evil while perhaps being fined $22.5 million for actively bypassing privacy settings, or those who would use your photo and words to make money for themselves in little ads.

And to think those might be the very people who will be appalled by the mere frippery of a reality TV show.

 

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