I'm going to start categorizing posts more often. "Gyre" is going to be the category of things that came to my attention that led to other things or related in a serendipitous way to other things.

Bear with me.

I subscribe to a blog called Irrational Exuberance. I don't recall why I subscribed to it in the first place, and there's been less and less that I've found interesting so I was just about to unsubscribe to it today. (I will have by the time you read this.)

But as I glanced at the posts I hadn't read, something from yesterday's (he doesn't post every day) caught my eye:

Ben Horowitz’s quote from The Hard Thing About Hard Things, “Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six.”

"Sometimes you gotta roll a hard six." There are some readers who will recall where that phrase entered our consciousness. It was an episode of Battlestar Galactica, where Adama was telling Apollo not to lose his favorite lighter. (FWIW, Bear McCreary's "A Good Lighter" is one of my favorite songs.)

Battlestar Galactica, you will recall, was a reimagining of the 70s series of the same name by Ron Moore. Ron Moore, who's also responsible for For All Mankind.

Ben Horowitz is the Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz. Andreesen is the author of a recent manifesto, which rationalizes the conduct of tech billionaires.

But the part that made me throw up a little bit in my mouth was the construction, "wartime CEO."

And of course he posted that on Veterans Day. Because "wartime CEO," right?

So I did a duckduckgo search on "wartime CEO," and got even more nauseated.

I get the idea of using war metaphors for business. I guess business is "violence by other means." But it still makes me sick. Especially since I'm willing to bet you a sawbuck that none of these motherfuckers throwing around the term "wartime CEO" has ever served in uniform, let alone in combat. (I might lose that bet. There may be one or two.)

There's a phenomenon where certain individuals will pretend to be veterans, usually highly decorated, combat veterans. It happens often enough that it has a name, at least within the veteran community, "stolen valor."

I think a subset of the same thing is happening here. It's self-aggrandizing. It's not enough to be the chief executive officer of a business, your business must also be a kind of warfare. To be clear, they're not making the direct comparison. They're describing different business cycles or environments where one may be more challenging than the other as the same as the difference between peace and war.

Well, gosh. Of course it is. I mean, who doesn't recall that famous quote by Sherman, "Business is hell."

Ron Moore did a couple of semesters in NROTC in college, had a summer midshipman cruise; and as a talented writer, he picked up the vernacular and a little of the culture. It was one of the things I really enjoyed about Battlestar Galactica.

But to complete the circle, and for more about the connection between tech billionaires and science fiction, during yesterday's Tinderbox meetup, Mark Bernstein mentioned that Charlie Stross had posted something of a rebuttal to Andreesen.

I follow Charlie on Mastodon, but I'm not a completist, and I wasn't aware he had a blog (Shame on me, I'm subscribed now.), so I missed this. Had Mark not mentioned it, I don't know when or if I'd have stumbled on it. That's the beauty of the gyre. You can read it here.

It may be one of the reasons the first episode of season 4 landed flat for me.

Oh, and let's bring back the draft. See how much everyone loves militaristic metaphors after that.

Now excuse me. I gotta go brush my teeth.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 09:14 Sunday, 12 November 2023