In August of 2007, after over a year of writing a hilarious satire called “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs,” a New York Times reporter finally figured out the real life identity of the man behind Fake Steve Jobs. Dan Lyons, then an editor at Forbes magazine, was the Clark Kent behind the Superman, able to leap tall, gaunt CEOs with a single click. He still writes as FSJ, only now his other job is with Newsweek.
First, heroic writing aside, Dan’s efforts at satire under an assumed name are as old as your great grandpappy’s moonshine. Cnet’s Caroline McCarthy had this to say about the use of ”vintage media” on a Web 2.0 platform:
“Yeah, he’s funny. But take away the push-button publishing, the RSS feeds, and the post tagging, and look at the bigger picture: Fake Steve, as a concept, is downright old-school.”
So Lyons comes from a long line of greats who fought the establishment in disguise. Think Voltaire, Swift, Twain. When mixed with the net’s particular gift for enabling pseudonyms on steroids (fake bio links, practically unlimited frequency and space for writing, viral opportunities), the ability to craft satire is certainly enhanced. In other words, it was Dan’s skill with storytelling, inspired choice of subject inhabitation in Jobs and blogging platform that lead to critical and popular success. In short, by lampooning the CEO of a major corporation,
Dan Lyons as Fake Steve Jobs exposes the artificial in society via artifice itself.
But what happens when a huge part of that artifice is stripped away, as it was when Fake Steve Jobs was exposed? I’ve joined the Frigtards, the Fake Steve Jobs Appreciation Society on Facebook, the Twitter feed and so much more to be revealed, sort of, in my next post. The only way I could get closer would be a trip to Cupertino or Boston (where Fake Steve lives).