Crimes Against the Internets: Valleywag

When you’re a procrastinator, like I am, and you work from home on a computer, like I do, you end up seeing a lot of stupid on the internets. Stupidity on such a level that it’s not enough to just sit back and say, “man, is that stupid;” you’ve got to go evangelical and spread the word.

When you’re as lazy and attention-deprived as I am, that sense of indignation fades quickly, and you move on. I always assumed that I’d be bitching about (slashdot for sub-literates) or Television Without Pity (a TV website that’s populated entirely by the abrasive, plain girls everybody avoided in high school, and still somehow manages to be even gayer than But it’s hard to work up enough enthusiasm to rag on them.

For some reason this post on Valleywag pushed me over the edge. I’m a fan of Sjöberg’s, but not enough to jump to defend him or anything — for all I know, the guy’s a dick in real life. Still, he’s funny, he’s occasionally insightful, and he puts genuine content out there on the internets for free. Valleywag can only claim three one out of those four.

The pointlessness of it is what bugs me. What’s the point of ragging on a column and its author for not being tech-oriented when the author’s said he’s approaching it not as a tech column? “Can’t be bothered to do his job?” Where did that come from?

Now, I get the impression that because I write a post for SFist every once in a while (when I’m not out of town), I’m supposed to have some kind of weird relationship with the Valleywag. I haven’t quite figured it out — based on the comments I’ve read, either I’m supposed to lay off them as an unprofessional courtesy, or I’m supposed to have some kind of friendly rivalry going on. I don’t get that, because I don’t see what there is in common:

  • I don’t have any illusions about being a tech journalist or insider. I look at what real insiders and journalists write, repeat it, and then add my half-baked opinions and references to movies and TV shows. I guess you could say that I do for real tech news what “The Family Guy” and “Robot Chicken” do for real comedy.
  • I’m not a moron.

I used to assume that even though I think a gossip site about silicon valley was a completely stupid concept, that there are people out there who are into that kind of thing. Now I think that even if there are people into that kind of thing, they are also stupid.

Apple’s known for the yabbos who are obsessed with Steve Jobs. They deserve to get made fun of, but Valleywag’s missing the point. They don’t deserve to be ragged on because they’re obsequious, they deserve to be ragged on because they’re obsessed with Steve Jobs. Pointing out completely irrelevant gossip about Steve Jobs isn’t any “cooler.” And at least he’s someone notable — who the hell cares to see candid photos of the Google founders wearing a dress? Or read some moron bitterly ragging on something as stupid as an internet website?