Ballmer and Affleck: Why the Twitting spittle?

Two men who have seen ups and downs become the target of abuse in the same week. One is unworthy of being a superhero. The other is Ben Affleck.

He's moody enough, no?
SourceFedNerd/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Steve Ballmer made "Gigli."

So what?

He thought it was a good idea at the time and the public decided it wasn't. And anyway, he was in love with the, um, concept.

Ben Affleck was the man responsible for Vista. He hurried it through, the people recoiled. His reputation suffered.

Oh, and then he won another Oscar.

Yes, I know I've inverted the names. But for the last few days Ballmer and Affleck, two men who have enjoyed perfectly successful careers, have been treated like related Enemies of the Twitter State.

One was vilified because he quit a job without making his company the best at everything. The other was the object of Twitting spittle because he'd accepted a job that had been offered to him.

Affleck was adorned with the hashtag #BetterBatmanThan BenAffleck. Ballmer merely had the bald #Ballmer.

There, criticisms rained down. Some were for a man who hasn't even taken on a role, others were for someone who had, perhaps, been in his role too long.

It got so bad that corporations joined in.

Some extremely bright spark plug at Lexus managed to tweet, above a fine picture of some unusually exciting car: "You can question the superhero. You can't question the supercar. #Batfleck #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck."

The tweet was subsequently removed. Perhaps this was because someone pointed out that Affleck drives, no, never, a Lexus.

Along the way, both men realized that they were good at some things and not so good at others.

Ballmer understood the business of business, but wasn't so clear on how to make normal human beings feel something about his company's products.

Affleck realized that he might make a decent director. Perhaps he learned something about acting along the way.

By the measure of most humans, these two men have had very successful careers. For every "Gigli" there was an Xbox. For every Kin, there was an "Argo."

Ballmer's Microsoft remains one of the 50 most valuable public companies in the world. Ben Affleck has won Oscars for directing and writing.

Yet critics want Ballmer to have been Steve Jobs and Affleck to be a better actor -- or just not Ben Affleck.

The new CEO of Microsoft should be younger, more imaginative. Batman, on the other hand, should be older, with a touch of self-righteousness.

Affleck for Microsoft, Ballmer for Batman, anyone?