Last week I popped by the KPLU FM studios in Seattle for a round of “Job Title Bingo” with radio host Gabriel Spitzer. In the game you pick a word out of each of four “buckets of words” and, when read in order, they give you a brand new, likely-outrageous, tech job title, like Supreme Commander of Cloud Innovation.
The game is fun. My time with Gabriel felt silly. Then, when the piece came out about our interview I got called a “satirist.”
A satirist? Really? I’m a Libra. I’m an air sign. I love to connect people. I despise conflict. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the vibe of the word. Let’s check the Googles.
“Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.”
Ouch. Shaming abuses? Holding follies up to ridicule? I sound like such a “meany-butt,” as my friend would say.
But, it sure reads true.
I looked up some other definitions and they were about the same. My favorite for satirist was “one who indulges in satire.” Indulges, likes it’s a chocolate cupcake or fine wine. It’s so delicious to hurt the people’s feelings, muhuhuhahaha…
Since my first interview about my show “Techlandia,” I’ve been squirming under the descriptions of the show and me – “a tech satire,” “roast” and “pokes fun.” I don’t like people who poke fun at others because they’re mean. And now, that’s me.
Fortunately, one author called it “teasing tribute.” I liked that much better. I don’t hate tech. It’s the career mama who raised me and gave me everything I have today. I owe a great debt of gratitude. I feel that in my heart, my cold, cold heart.
All my whining concluded, here’s how I’ve come to peace with my new reality as a publicly-outed satirist.
When you enter the public sphere and start getting attention from reporters, you’ve lost control of your story, unless you give it to them first. I was given that advice when I talked to a friend about how blazing fast my interview at KUOW felt and that I wished I were more prepared.
I learned that the sex-appeal in my “Techlandia” show for the media is that I’m ripping on a group of annoying, spoiled, rich, cocky, self-important, tech dorks who lack social skills and everyone loves to roll their eyes at them behind their back. Really? I didn’t really get that until now. I used to be one of them, you know.
I’ve also learned that I am, in fact, a satirist. It’s just true. Much like what I have done for my career as a writer for tech companies over the years, I research and listen to what people are saying about a topic, then I boil it all down to the “sizzle,” as I like to call it.
What’s most interesting, grabby, appealing, and worth telling to the people? I usually have a decent sense for that and that’s why I can write cheerful copy about cloud software or poke fun at recruiters nearly fist-fighting over engineering talent.
So, I’m in on “satirist.” Before I get too far into my dark role, though, I want to quote what Gabriel Spitzer also said about the show. “Quigg…skewers the startup culture – with love.” Okay, skewers, with love. I like that. The love is there for sure. Thanks, Gabriel.
Correction: In the interview I misspoke about the game my friend created for her app-building assignment. In her game, two business-speak words pop up, like “leverage” and “innovate.” Then, you have to use those two words together in a single sentence. It’s a very fun game. And, it had elements of “Job Title Bingo” but wasn’t about creating job titles.
Thank you for listening. I feel better now.