March 2, 2002
5:58 AM   Subscribe

Are these what the real rulers of the information age look like? Mindblowing guest list for's recent Annual "Billionaires' Digerati Dinner". Rupert Murdoch and Naomi Judd, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Richard Dawkins, Jeff Bezos and Steven Pinker, and god knows how many journalistic hangers on from Wired, the Atlantic, Time Out, NYT/WSJ. All invited by tentacular pop-science book agent John Brockman. What deals must have ensued? What plans discussed? It makes Davos seem like a backyard clam-bake. (And here's another brainiac elite bash). Do you wish you had been invited?
posted by theplayethic (12 comments total)
I was.
posted by Postroad at 6:13 AM on March 2, 2002

Do tell. If you went, what was the vibe? Looks like rich moguls hangin' out with smart guys, all of them sniffing for the next big zeitgeist killer app.
posted by theplayethic at 6:18 AM on March 2, 2002

Everyone looks sort of "in place" there -- no one really stands out as awkward or like they don't fit in. Except for the two girls here and here. They don't have any qualifying information about their accomplishments on the site, so it appears to me their sole purpose is an attempt to beautify the event... perhaps to provide something for the ol' billionaires to look at and show in photo albums to contrast their intellectual smugness and horribly beet-red faces?
posted by Hankins at 6:29 AM on March 2, 2002

How come Kim Polese from Marimba still gets seen as important given the complete failure of her company to make any impact whatsoever? Is it just because of her position as one of the few female bosses in the tech industry?
posted by kerplunk at 6:43 AM on March 2, 2002

They may know where we are all headed in the 21st and 22nd centuries, but they sure dont know how to get rid of red eye from their photos.
posted by Voyageman at 6:56 AM on March 2, 2002

and hey that left hand of yours...
posted by Voyageman at 6:58 AM on March 2, 2002

I'd love to hear the table conversation between Dawkins and Dennett.
posted by mrbula at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2002

We have ripped apart the hype machine on MeFi more than once in the past.

I mean, come ON. Naomi Judd?!?!?! Christ on a Chiclet. They are all hangers-on, of each other. Nothing more.
posted by aaron at 9:12 AM on March 2, 2002

Does Dean Kamen go everywhere on that thing? I think it's a great idea and that speech of his someone posted last week was inspiring, but use your legs man.
posted by Tacodog at 9:39 AM on March 2, 2002

We have ripped apart the hype machine on MeFi more than once in the past.

Actually I've noticed something quite peculiar about MeFi ... there seems to be at least a subgroup within it that approaches the National Enquirer, People Mag, or one of the Hollywood gossip sheets when it comes to a positive obsession on wealthy/talented people. There are nearly weekly - sometimes daily - posts on some gathering of the rich, or meeting of leaders, or some tiny little incident that ivolved someone in the public eye, that is then thoroughly dissected.

Odd thing is that while the rich and talented seem to hold and almost unhealthy fascination - it is not the fascination of a columnist, but rather that of a deep cynicism approaching bitterness. Theme is always roughly the same - these people are meeting (hell, sometimes just partying); they must be devising some evil to foist upon a virtuous world ("What deals must have ensued? What plans discussed? It makes Davos seem like a backyard clam-bake" in this particular instance ... but this is really quite the norm); and then a couple will pipe up with the sort of profound self-righteous populism that hasn't been heard since the days of Marx and Engels.

I wonder whether there isn't some serious envy going on here.
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2002

You seem to be arguing that we think they're the geek equivalent of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bohemian Grove all rolled up into one, and that we feel we're either missing out by not being there, or somehow feel we're less worthy human beings because we haven't personally been invited. We don't and we're not. We're arguing (well, at least I'm arguing) that what they're doing or talking about when they gather together at these meetings is not at all particularly important or special, and that nothing meaningful comes of it. They can hold them all they want, and it's fine by me; it's the self-aggrandizing part of's PR machine - a self-aggrandization that works very well, judging from how often they get threads about themselves posted over here - that's so annoying.

Besides, even the CFR holds events that are open to the public. Edge is entirely one-way: We report, you shut up and swallow. They are so much better than we are that we have no inherent right to even speak to them, yet they constantly forcefeed their pronouncements to their wide-eyed fan base, which then dutifully spams the rest of the web with their outmoded 90s-style babble. Sorry, but I'm just not into that.
posted by aaron at 12:16 PM on March 2, 2002

Jeezus, is it still the information age?
posted by davidgentle at 12:38 PM on March 2, 2002

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