Daniel Eran Dilger
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Daniel Lyons Cries Wolf: The Real Bill Gates Behind the Fake Steve Jobs

Daniel Eran Dilger
Forbes’ Dan Lyons, author of the Fake Steve Jobs blog, decided it would be entertaining to parody the unplugging of ThinkSecret by pretending his own blog was under threat from Apple. Except that in order to do that, he had to stop pretending to be FSJ and start pretending that the real Steve Jobs was threatening him. That’s where he left the world of parody and reentered the familiar territory of lucrative scandal.

Too Witty By Half.
It is unthinkably unlikely to suggest that Apple would sue FSJ for libel, so his straight-faced insistence that the company already has threatened to do so puts him in the odd position of the boy who cried wolf, in a location where there are no wolves. Having already parlayed his FSJ schtick into book, the stunt also calls to mind another idiom about jumping a different sort of carnivorous animal toward the end of one’s career.

FSJ’s single punchline has been tediously stretched out like a Saturday Night Live sketch to the point where its more awkwardly embarrassing than funny. Perhaps its time to take a cue from Bill Watterson and Sacha Baron Cohen and lay it to rest like Calvin and Borat before things amble on into a Larry Craig or Britney Spears situation. FSJ might plausibly recommend the same from Lyons, were they not the same person.

That disconnect between talk and walk is familiar territory for Lyons. He’s best known as a witty blogger wielding a poisoned pen who earlier ridiculed bloggers of all stripes from his business pulpit at Forbes, expressing breathlessly across the front page of the November 14, 2005 Attack of the Blogs issue: “They destroy brands and wreck lives. Is there any way to fight back?” That type of unintentional humor is hard to top.

When the New York Times fingered Lyon as the writer of FSJ, it was revealed that his wit wasn’t exactly splashed around equally. “Mr. Lyons clearly used the Fake Steve persona to further some of his own interests and positions,” the Times noted. “For example, articles in other business publications and their journalists were a frequent target of criticism from Fake Steve, while Forbes got off comparatively easy.” The subjects Lyons cast the most derision upon are targets of Bill Gates: Linux, Google, Apple, and particularly the personality of Steve Jobs. That’s no coincidence.

Daniel Lyons: Fake Steve Jobs and the SCO Shill Who Hated Linux

Daniel Lyons: Fake Steve Jobs and the SCO Shill Who Hated Linux

The Man Who Knows How To Get Paid.
Shortly before being outed, FSJ began a promotional deal with Wired Magazine, which paid him to talk about Wired and suggest to his readers why they should read it. After Forbes caught wind of the deal, Lyons had to drop Wired as a sponsor. As Lyons anonymously reported, “I’m weighing a few different new deals and wanted to be free of any ties [with Wired] while I negotiate with new partners. I do miss the money though, I must admit.”

After the Times reported Lyons’ identity as FSJ, Forbes was compelled to stand by him as his new corporate sponsor. Of course, that doesn’t mean Forbes and Wired were FSJ’s only sources of support. He also engaged in shameless promotion of another business interest, which went back further in time prior to Lyon’s FSJ gig. Again, that interest was the business of Bill Gates and Microsoft.

The most obvious example was Lyons’ unwavering message about the dangers of Linux, the crackpots behind open source, and the safety of clinging to Microsoft. While Lyons now downplays the documented fact that he spent years ‘on message’ as a Linux detractor, he was actually one of the primary proponents of SCO in its insane legal circus threatening to sue any company that used Linux.

Kevin Poulsen Attacks Ron Paul, iPhone, Mac Users In a Single Broad Brush of Wired Incompetence

Lyons’ Anti-Linux SCO Support.
I earlier documented Lyon’s interplay with another paid-to-say shill, the infamous Rob Enderle, who built his career spouting exactly what Microsoft wanted him to say every time he ever said anything. With Linux being the most pestilent thorn in the side of Microsoft in the business servers market, that frequently required Enderle to say bad things about Linux at regular intervals.

Microsoft’s hatred of Linux also provided an opportunity for Lyons to benefit himself, and Lyons played right into it, branding Linux users as isolationist kooks, their software as problematic junk, its corporate supporters as bumbling idiots, and all efforts toward rivaling commercial software as a communist fallacy soon to topple under the pressure exerted by SCO. In the pages of Forbes, Lyons regularly wrote articles such as:

  • Linux’s Hit Men,” a 2003 article looking at “the dark side of the free software movement,” where the evil hit man was played by Eben Moglen, a Columbia Law School professor who serves as pro bono counsel for the Free Software Foundation. Moglen’s dirty work? Insisting that companies who use free software abide by its license agreement. Others might describe Moglen as an articulate, intelligent hero.
  • Real panic set in in 2004, when Lyons’ “Linux Loyalists Leery” described the danger of considering Linux in a world where SCO was making threats. He wove in quotes from business users voicing warnings such as, “The marketplace has changed significantly in regard to Linux. I guess I’d describe my position as cautious enthusiasm,” and “It’s like walking around in the woods during deer season [to use Linux],” and “If these [Linux] companies are going to create a price point that is significant enough that they are approaching the same pricing model as the innovation premium, why pay a premium for imitation when I can pay a premium and get innovation?” ‘Getting innovation’ was explicitly equated with buying software from Microsoft.
  • The threat Linux posed to Windows was touched on directly in 2004’s “Kill Bill,” which vilified IBM for supporting Linux and exposed its devious intent as “a broader agenda–undermining Bill Gates’ company.” Imagine the nerve of a company working to compete against its rivals! Lyons presented it as an immoral affront to decency, as if lending support to Linux were on the level of funding Al Queda.
  • In “IBM Refuses To Indemnify Linux Users,” Lyons had earlier publicized the idea that IBM wasn’t issuing a blanket indemnification of Linux users from SCO lawsuits. He cited George Weiss of the Gartner Group as saying, “Nobody in the Linux community has stepped up to protect the user.” Of course, the best way to empower SCO would be to pressure IBM to spread around legal promises that SCO could then use to start thousands of frivolous lawsuits, consuming IBM’s legal attention rather than having to fight it directly in a clear case with the world watching.
  • However, in a followup article called “Linux Scare Tactics,” Lyons ridiculed the efforts of an independent group hoping to sell Linux insurance to indemnify users from the risk of patent lawsuits. He associated the group with the entire community, and collectively referred to the situation as “fear, uncertainty, and doubt… from Linux zealots themselves.” So it was bad for Linux to be threatened by SCO, bad IBM didn’t promise there was no threat, and bad to try to offer threat insurance. Was there any possible recourse against SCO apart from admitting guilt for crimes that were never committed?
  • Lyons’ “Is Linux for Losers?” helped cement Forbes’ reputation as the source for anti-Linux crowing; Lyons’ barbed attacks were joined and echoed by Forbes’ Lisa DiCarlo in articles such as “Why You Won’t Be Getting A Linux PC” and “The Limitations Of Linux,” with all of the various anti-Linux articles interlinked in a sidebar headed “Linux @ Work” for easy access.

It seems there wasn’t anything that anyone associated with Linux could do right, and nothing that Microsoft could ever do wrong. It almost appeared that Microsoft was orchestrating a clever campaign of talking points, but that would require collusion between think tanks like Gartner, commercial journalists, and a wide swath of independent bloggers. That couldn’t possibly happen could it?

SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 2000s

SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 2000s

Ready People for Microsoft’s People Ready.
This year, Microsoft did just that, more than once. In the Acer Ferrari Laptop Scandal, prominent bloggers were given free laptops with Vista that subtly demanded favorable coverage of Vista in exchange for a couple thousand dollars of hardware, “no strings attached.” Only after the gifts were publicly outed did some of them send the laptop back or give them away. Microsoft sent out letters of explanation that facilitated the synergy: “we believe in the power of community.”

Or perhaps the power of green, and not the renewable kind. Why can’t Microsoft just buy ads like everyone else? Does it really need a misinformation smokescreen seeded by influential bloggers in order to sell Windows Vista? And why does this remind me of the Rodney Dangerfield joke about his mom tying the pork chop around his neck to get the dog to play with him?

Microsoft Sent An Acer Ferrari Laptop With Windows Vista | Laughing Squid

The second example was a subliminal whisper campaign designed by banner ad company Federated Media. ValleyWag called out a variety of bloggers for taking money to casually repeat the “conversational marketing” jingles in Microsoft’s pay-for-say ad program, particularly for dropping the phrase “People Ready” into casual conversation to generate artificial buzz. Among the ready bloggers were:

  • Michael Arrington of Techcrunch
  • Om Malik of Gigaom
  • Paul Kedrosky and Matt Marshall of Venture Beat
  • Fred Wilson the “blogger-investor”

Using Apple’s iPhone in the Enterprise: Conflicting Stories, Conflicting Interests

Missing from those names was Dan Lyons, but FSJ was among the first bloggers casually dropping “People Ready” back in January, suggesting it as a “new slogan IBM is cooking up for the year ahead. ‘People Ready’? Nope, taken. ‘On Demand’? Er, tried that. ‘Open Your Source and Bend Over’? Nice.”

Painting IBM as bumbling fools, vilifying open source development, dropping Microsoft talking points, and mocking Steve Jobs, all at the same time? I’d say “priceless,” but I doubt that is the correct word to use. Throughout the year, FSJ regularly directed attention to whatever Microsoft wanted people talking about, from Windows Vista to the Zune to the Surface, while describing executives at Apple and Google as silly morons. Conspicuously missing was much mention of Bill Gates, particularly anything unflattering. Instead, lots of softball pitches.

These Are Not The Jobs You’re Looking For.
For example, in August Lyons wrote as FSJ about a Microsoft blogger admitting that Vista has problems, and congratulated him for his candor. “I suspect this really is the Microsoft coder writing this, and honestly, if so, it’s a good sign for Microsoft. The old Microsoft was full of guys like this, guys who said what they believed and didn’t give a shit what you thought and if it cost them their jobs, well, what the fuck. That, more than anything else, is what Microsoft was all about in the early days and it was the biggest reason that Microsoft succeeded.”

That’s not very funny at all, nor very Steve Jobsian. Sounds like some serious message passing in an emotional envelope. And exactly when was Microsoft full of can-do, getter done, bring it on honesty? One would think a professional heartstring puller, fact massager, and quotation gerrymandering expert like Lyons could deliver something less sappy and transparent than that.

Prior to returning to Apple, Jobs actually described Microsoft by saying “they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their product […] I have no problem with their success, they’ve earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products.” The real Jobs make FSJ sound like a emasculated ninny who confuses weak profanity for powerful phrasing. Is FSJ a parody of Jobs, or just a saccharine layer of frosting on top of the same old Microsoft-enamoured cake Lyons has long baked up at Forbes?

If you’re getting the impression FSJ is Bill Gates’ ventriloquist dummy, an attempt to counter the ‘frustrated businessman’ PC character played by John Hodgeman in Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ ads that Gates finds so irritating, a way to seed Microsoft-friendly ideas about the dangers of Linux in a post-SCO world, and a way to publicize Gates’ efforts to compare with Jobs at Apple, then perhaps it’s no coincidence that Gates had carefully prepared his line at All Things Digital to say “Well, first, I want to clarify: I’m not Fake Steve Jobs.”

Was he trying to sound less uptight and wooden, or just calling attention to a blog carefully on-message with his talking points in an effort to extend FSJ’s fifteen minutes of fame so that he’d get his money’s worth?

What a Racket!
As Lyons himself noted earlier in his “Attack of the Blogs” missive for Forbes, “The combination of massive reach and legal invulnerability makes corporate character assassination easy to carry out. Dry treatises on patent law and trade policy don’t drive traffic (or ad sales) for bloggers and hosts; blood sport does.”

The hypocrisy involved in vilifying the comments of non-Forbes sanctioned writers, only to become the world’s leading corporate character assassin was apparently just Lyons getting started. Now imagine a “blood sport” scenario where Lyons takes an issue from the headlines and tries to use it to gain even more attention for himself.

The issue of course, is ThinkSecret, a rumor blog FSJ ridiculed by posting the photo of the college student who wrote it and asking readers to insult the kid with captions. Apple had earlier brought ThinkSecret to court to demand that it reveal its sources for obtaining internal documents restricted under NDA.

The EFF, defending other rumor bloggers but not ThinkSecret, built its case around the defense that the sites didn’t have to reveal their sources because they were performing a valuable service of journalism in propagating information, and forcing them to reveal who broke their NDA with Apple would create a slippery slope where a future evil could demand that the courts expose the identity of those who ratted on some issue of importance.

While ThinkSecret had its own legal counsel, it also appears ThinkSecret was just copying from other sites to fill out its news. Over the last several months, ThinkSecret’s RSS feed has served as essentially a time delayed version of AppleInsider. ThinkSecret also published its own inventions that were subsequently not very accurate, and engaged in more willfully flagrant NDA violations such as its regularly obtaining developer builds of Leopard (commonly available on file sharing sites) and publishing screenshots of everything. So it appears ThinkSecret didn’t really have any actual sources to rat on.

Since ThinkSecret is also the blog of a college kid who had grown tired of maintaining it, the fact that its author chose to close down but “didn’t have to reveal its sources” was enough for the EFF to claim victory. Apple learned that it couldn’t go after rumor sites to find internal leaks, and will now be more restrictive of NDA material so that more developers who need it now won’t be able to as readily. Which means developers and therefore end users lose first, Apple got a minor setback, the rumor sites were largely exonerated, and NDA violators were the clear winners.

Lyons grasped upon the idea of Apple “closing down” ThinkSecret to suggest the comical idea that Apple was now offering an amnesty program for bloggers. “Highly ethical and unbiased journos like Goatberg, Smurfy Pogue and Daniel Eran Dilger obviously are not eligible to participate. But the rest of you scumbags? Drop a dime. Let’s talk.”

The Joke Stops Here.
As typical, Lyons wrote up a funny parody laced with lines like “Strike a blow for freedom of the press,” wringing every penny of out the idea. However, in the days since, Lyons dropped the parody, stepped through the third wall, and began striking emotional chords with his bamboozled audience, claiming that he himself was under legal threat from Apple, and that the real Steve Jobs was upset about the Fake Steve Jobs, much as how the real Bill Gates was so angry about John Hodgeman’s PC character that he stormed out of an interview when asked about it.

However, the real Steve Jobs doesn’t share much in common emotionally with the real Bill Gates. When asked about Lyons’ FSJ impersonation at All Things Digital earlier this year, Jobs said, “I have read a lot of the Fake Steve Jobs posts, and I think they’re funny. But I don’t know who it is.” In contrast, Gates’ parallel response to comments about the Get a Mac ads was bristled and irritated.

When asked about Lyons’ latest spoof series of being legally challenged by Apple, the real Steve Jobs responded directly to panicked users’ emails, “I think this is a joke, and I think you fell for it.”

Lyons’ accusations against Apple may have been shrugged off by the real Steve Jobs, but not by Windows Enthusiasts who latched onto the idea that “People Ready Lyons” was being harassed by the big bad Apple, even if it was a complete fabrication. It appears they enjoy being fooled so much that they no longer realize the difference between reality and marketing. This is the same group that thinks the Zune is “alternative counterculture” because it comes from a monopoly pulling in $50 billion in revenues rather than from Apple with half as much revenue.

Why Microsoft’s Zune is Still Failing
Winter 2007 Buyer’s Guide: Microsoft Zune 8 vs iPod Nano

Forbes vs Apple.

They also cried for Lyons, who represented himself as a David facing the Goliath legal team of Apple, a team of litigators so difficult they amicably dropped their suit against ThinkSecret, settled with the Burst patent trolls for far less than Microsoft, cooperatively settled with Creative over an iPod patent attack and made the rival company an accessories partner, settled with a patent troll to acquire a music player patent that pundits said would supposedly be used to extort money from other companies although that never happened, and defend the company from a variety of sensationalized attacks from the money grubbing Greenpeace to greedy investors who want money back from the very employees who have worked hard to make those investors rich.

Apple’s Billion Dollar Patent Bluster

However, Lyons is the real antagonist here. He courts the interest of the Apple community and feeds them prepared statements from Microsoft, attributes bad motives to everything Apple does, seeds contempt for open development, and then congratulates Microsoft for recognizing that it makes bad products. But FSJ isn’t the only message Lyons is publishing.

Under his own name, Lyons overtly celebrates Microsoft’s Windows Media DRM and its exploding rental downloads, telling users that the overpriced Media Center is a much better alternative to Apple’s iTunes video, which 91% of the market is currently choosing. Lyons is certainly entitled to his opinion, but shouldn’t he point out that he has that opinion because Microsoft sent him a free box of its wares to play with along with instructions about what to say about it? Is it wrong to talk about the money involved?

Lyons also recently portrayed Apple as the new “Big Brother” and insisted it was taunting its customers in a way that had resulted in users arming themselves with “pitchforks and torches” to take out a monster perhaps more vile than even Microsoft. Incidentally, that’s the new message to watch for: any pundit announcing that “Apple is the new Microsoft,” “Leopard is the new Vista,” “open source is the new proprietary,” “free market competition is the new monopoly,” and “up is the new down” might not be trustworthy.

Of course, as long as Bill Gates has the money, expect to keep hearing the money talk.

Forbes’ Fake Steve Jobs Is Also Fake On Apple

Forbes’ Fake Steve Jobs Is Also Fake On Apple
Forbes Prints Insanely Self Serving Attack on iTunes by MediaNet CEO Alan McGlade
Apple TV Digital Disruption at Work: iTunes Takes 91% of Video Download Market

What do you think? I really like to hear from readers. Comment in the Forum or email me with your ideas.

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  • James

    OTOH I loved his shutdown spoof, and his punchline post said more about the thinksecret deal than anything I have seen elsewhere. He is also engaging and humorous in person. Check out this video of the talk he gave at Google http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLpxX9vqr5c. I don’t agree with all his opinions, but then again the same applies to you. Apple is big enough now, and strong enough, that it is permissable to like Apple, but be occasionally critical.

    Perhaps Daniel, you should relax a little and learn to cherish the man who in the opinion of many of us, writes one of the funniest blogs on the web, and who can also on occasion provide some of the most perceptive commentary on the bizarre and extravagant world of Silicon Valley.

  • zpikzpan

    @James: I agreed with you up until the point I found out who the guy is and what his real persona stands for.
    The moment you actually see the patterns, you see a rather clever guy beating up others. It’s less obvious because he’s hiding his punches and making you laugh, but in the end a bully is a bully.
    Nobody tells you not to like FSJ. But go easy on the “lighten up, it’s only fun” argument. That insults the people who are at the receiving end of FSJ’s mirth and know what a creepy bastard the guy actually is.

  • OlivierL

    The FSJ being funny does not mean it has no agenda.
    RDM also has its own agenda but does not pretend not to have one.

  • PerGrenerfors

    In my opinion, everything that was funny about the FSJ blog vanished when the writer’s true identity was revealed. Then it was all about self-commentary (is that a word?), and less about the secret life “in the Jobs Pod.” And some of FSJ’s crtiticisms of the Linux user experience have been both spot on and funny as hell.

    Lyons may, or may have not, done some really awful things in the past as a writer (writing under his real name for Forbes) but I’ve always seen his FSJ stuff as mere entertainment rather important commentary.

    It’s great that you reveal underlying motives that may drive Lyons but some of his FSJ stuff should be seen as jokes.

  • http://web.mac.com/lowededwookie lowededwookie

    You know, that whole promote Vista with a Ferrari thing is really quite telling. As someone who is contracted to repair Acer (technically we are Acer NZ Support) I can tell you now Acer are the perfect machines to show you Vista. They are both steaming piles of CRAP. I’m not a fan of the car either so 3 for 3 in my book. What’s even more telling about Acer is their position in the world scene #2. Think about that. Acer in every way is #2.

    Personally I get sick and tired of people trying to make people laugh as an excuse to belittle other people. Zpikzpan said it true when he said “a bully is a bully”. I didn’t really think much about FSJ to be honest. I could never see what everyone fussed about. Ever see a really bad comedian who thinks he’s funny only to bomb but still go on anyway? It’s embarrassing to watch and you kind of feel sorry for the guy so you give half-hearted laughs. That’s kind of what reading FSJ was like for me.

  • Pingback: mitussis.com : Hyperreality and the Technology Media()

  • John Muir

    It takes a selective reading of FSJ to get the idea that his blog is pro-Microsoft. Chair-flinging Ballmer images are to be seen both there and here on RDM alike … and let’s not forget the original “siooma” incident either. As a regular reader of both I’ll try to bridge the gap you describe in this post.

    First: Lyons has a day job in the mainstream press which — as you point out on a much needed regular basis — has a serious MS slant. His Forbes pieces catalogue a career of Linux slanging and easy MS promotion. But isn’t it possible or even likely that his own Fake Steve blog is a release valve for all of this? That Lyons, a mischievous and it seems inherently cunning mind, likes to stick it to MS while he’s still being paid by Forbes to be nice to them? I don’t think it’s wise to draw a line directly between his professional work (with its edicts from on high as to who to root for) and the blog stuff. Sure, they are linked in that he does them both. But I really don’t think that one is out to subversively bolster the other like you do.

    Second: essentially everyone gets put on a spit roast at Fake Steve’s. That’s good satire. I think you have a point when you highlight that he’s always been a bit soft on Forbes (for obvious reasons) and Bill Gates personally, but to call the FSJ blog a pro-MS outfit is a contortion of what I’ve read there, the illogical like of which is often your enemies weakness when covering Enderle, Ou and such. Linux is an easy target so he dines at their expense time and time again. Same for IBM, Sun and often Google too … on whose servers the blog is hosted! MS are quite easy and he really does let it rip on them as well. Perhaps the occasional shot he takes at RDM directly has annoyed you in the same way as outright Apple hate propels many a misguided writer on the other side?

    Anyway, I really do appreciate both RDM and FSJ. To my reading, they’re both excellent sources for insightful analysis … albeit in notably different formats. I just hope neither of you shut down any time soon. Though we can rest assured for a fact that Apple won’t be paying either for any such thing!!

    Oh and before I forget: Merry Christmas.

  • jjkurczak

    I’d just like to say that, as much as I love reading RDM for your writing and fact-finding prowess, I love reading FSJ for Lyons’ humour and writing.

    I’ve been a reader of FSJ for a long time, and I find it hard to believe that any of the posts could be interpreted as pro-microsoft, unless you were already reading with that bias.

    As far as I’m concerned, FSJ could be written by Bill Gates, the Dark One himself, and I wouldn’t find it any less hilarious. Sometimes the ability to make fun of your own faults is a strength, it gives you an idea of how “the rest of the world” might see you.

    PS, feel free to label me as a microsoft shill, since unfortunately I only just registered even though I’ve read most of your articles. I’ll still happily continue my Cocoa development and continue reading your site!

  • Robb

    Dan, it was refreshing to read your perspective on ThinkSecret being shuttered. While many in the Apple community have expressed outrage that an Apple rumors site has been closed by Apple itself, they either forget or choose to ignore that the lawsuit was propagated by a violation of NDA.

  • meian

    Oh come on, Daniel. Ever since FSJ (humorously) said that you were been paid by Apple to run you pieces, you acted visibly bitten by Lyons.

    Let it go, mate! It was a JOKE all the time, and considering how sharp your own sense of humour is, I just can’t believe you haven’t got it.

    Lighten up, it’s Christmas time :)

    [Actually, Lyons would link to me regularly with comical articles, often slightly at my expense, but links are <3. When I wrote up the story of Lyons’ scandalous past as a SCO supporter, he immediately stopped linking and began more nasty remarks at regular intervals. Which is his choice. I respect his wit, but I like to be fair in outlining that he’s rarely what he appears to be. I imagine he’d rather be outed by someone he can dismiss as a nobody like me than the commercial press. I have no ill will against him. – Dan]

  • UrbanBard

    This is Stuff and Nonsense, Daniel.

    There is a long tradition among professional writers: some will sell themselves to the highest bidders. The real villains in this scene are the one’s paying the money, though. If Apple had money to give away to defame Microsoft then Lyons would be the first to stand in line. The Fear-Mongers and Professional Detractors are third rate writers, at best.

    How much does it matter in the long run? Does it catch the deluded and the Microsoft fellow travelers? Sure. Does it confirm their prejudices? Yes. Are innocent parties caught up in this? Absolutely. The real problem is that this poisons the well of public discourse. It dilutes the truth.

    This stratagem is an old game. It worked far better in the past than now. The old line was “A lie can get half way around the world before the truth gets up to put its pants on.”

    It’s easy to make accusations and only foolish people believe everything they read. The question to ask, even when you agree with an accusation, is, “Who profits from this?” Your answer is, “Microsoft.” But, it’s a tad more complicated than that.

    Anyone who uses propaganda to further their cause exposes their weakness. The tactic depends on foolish people to believe in it. The deluded are mostly self deluding. But, foolishness is a self-correcting problem because it is often painful. If Microsoft had any truth on their side, they would promote that. All Microsoft has IS money.

    This kind of Commercial Propaganda, along with Political Correctness, is not faring well in the age of the Internet. Responses to the lies are much quicker. A lie doesn’t get quite as far as it used to before the truth steps up to declaim it. Honest, dependable and expert people on the internet stand ready to knock the legs out from underneath a lie.

    The other part is that the Internet forgets nothing. This makes it easy to point out the mistakes of others, but it can also expose intentional deceptions and the flip-flops in opinions. It follows the money much better. Hence, the reporting cycle is quicker. This is having profound effects on politics.

    There will always be competing interests in the world. Some people have little interest in truth; They will use “disinformation” to further their cause. But, people must be willing to be deceived by it. The members of the gullible are declining.

    Much is the disinformation in the past was used to defame the Jews. Old lies such as “Blood Libel” and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are still promoted in the Arab World. Anti-American accusations are quite popular.

    Do these misrepresentations cause lasting harm? No. Does it make people take such accusations with a grain of salt? Yes. That is why the Mainstream Media is declining in circulation and viewership.

    Most people would rather judge you by your actions, rather than by the accusations made against you. But, you can be known by the quality of your opposition–by the lies which are told about you.

    The problem with Lyons is that he is too transparent. Apple once had better liars working against it. Their FUD was more believable. Is Apple covering its bases better?

    You have to wonder if the failures among Apple’s detractors resulted from degraded standards.

    Does any of this reflect poorly on Apple? LOL

  • lightstab

    While I haven’t found most of FSJ’s commentary to be Anti-Apple, this latest little stab at Apple and his attempt to paint the Think Secret deal as a freedom of speech controversy rather than a case of where non-disclosure agreements were broken and trade secrets revealed, which can have an economic impact on the company, is obviously in poor taste.

    So I’m at the point were I find his shtick annoying and ultimately self serving. I like the comparison that Daniel makes to Sacha Baron Cohen. You might remember that at one point after Borat, Cohen had to come out of character and denounce the anti-semitic ravings of his character. So I think we’re at that point with Lyons. While his linux hatred has never been hidden, I don’t find his assertions that OS X “changed his life” to be particularly trustworthy. His bias is showing more and more every day and unfortunately, the morons that read his blog, are going along for the ride, happy like kids at Disneyland.

    I for one, won’t be reading Fake Steve’s blog after this latest travesty. And I’m glad that our Daniel, is calling him out on his duplicity.

  • RDB

    Oh come on, you are being completely selective and biased in your choice of examples.

    Examples of DL ripping Microsoft a new one on the Fake Steve Jobs diary:

    -almost constant posting about Vista and it’s failures
    -referring to Gates as Kermit and MS as the ‘Borg’, definitely not a compliment
    -constant Ballmer jokes
    -several posts about MS ripping off Apple

    The list goes on and on.

    Consider the most recent post when searching his blog for ‘borg’, a pro-apple piece entitled ‘what the borg could learn from apple’, in which DL as FSJ wraps up by saying:

    “Funny how that works eh? We make better, more reliable software. We charge less. And we don’t treat you like a criminal. And we’re gaining share. Wow. Who would have guessed?”

    In fact, DL has publicly said in articles and interviews that he considers Jobs to be a genius.

    [I’m not saying Dan Lyons is a black hat evil doer with an obvious bias. He is a smart guy, and laces in ideas as he wants you to see them. His criticism of everything mixes in humor and parody, but he also gets paid to deliver messages. There are plenty of less clever wags at ZDNet who voice soft criticisms of Vista, the Zune, Ballmer, etc, but also reveal that you should play along. Read the previous article about Ed Bott calling WGA “deceptive and misleading” before backtracking to recommend users install it. The world is not black and white. There’s a lot of subtle grey. – Dan]

  • RDB

    Almost forgot:

    -Microtards (hello? you will not find any mention of Appletard on his blog)

  • Steve Nagel

    I take Daniel’s writing seriously and Lyon’s writing lightly. Not that satire is not potent and influential. Think Colbert. But satire’s power isn’t in the sort of subtleties Daniel writes about. Having said that, I agree that Lyon stepped over the line with this lastest schtick. He perhaps became frustrated with Jobs and Apple not reacting—his fondest wish no doubt.

  • Darran

    Dan Lyons has given numerous talks, even one at Microsoft in which he talks about this whole thing. Is it too much to suppose that he just heard of ‘People Ready’, for someone who insults Vista so much and proclaims his love for his Mac he is rubbish at promoting Microsoft.

    Ironically the thing anyone who believes this needs to see is his talk at Microsoft (ie only darnit), but he calls them the Borg and accuses them of being behind Fake Steve Ballmer. “Well Apple’s got a fake blog! we need a fake blog!”

  • Darran

    Also, if anyone could show what Apple’s doing to free speech here, it’s Dan Lyons. Will RDM?

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    Thanks for the comments – my intent was to remain as objective as possible, highlighting facts a lot of people don’t put together.

    Dan Lyons is a smart guy and many of his FSJ posts are clever and well done, which is hard to deliver on a regular basis. I’ve noted that before.

    However, I’ve also seen how Lyons will interview a subject, then twist their words into a completely foul article. He’s very good at taking things apart and presenting them the way he wants you to see them. He’s also argued against reality with me in defending his past behavior. When it comes to the truth, he’s very flexible.

    One could say the same thing about me: I take things apart and present them the way I wants people to see them, the difference being that I write about whatever I like and regard as best out of principle, not because I’m being paid to deliver a message.

    I also try to point out why alternative opinions presented by CNet/ZDNet and other big media outfits are not really alternative opinions, but paid messages placed by companies delivering bad products. I keep harping on the Zune, not because I like Apple’s logo more than Microsoft’s, but because Apple currently has a business model that pushes lower priced content with fewer restrictions, and Microsoft has a mechanical drive to destroy all competition and then raise prices for bad products.

    When Cnet reviews the Zune and only compares it to the remaining “classic” model of iPod that’s been around since 2005, and further downplays their findings such as that both devices are rated for 30 hours, but the Zune 80 can really only deliver 22 hours of non WiFi use, while the iPod Classic ran for 70 hours, and yet they brand the Zune a winner, that says something.

    I’m not telling people to not be amused by Lyons or not to buy his book; I’m only pointing out that he benefits from delivering messages he does not convey upfront, while inciting ignorant mobs to revile open development and Apple in general. He’s a tool.

    A “shill” isn’t someone who likes a particular product. It pertains to a carnival salesman who pretends to be interested in midway games designed to cheat you, and goads you into playing while pretending to be an unrelated bystander. Someone who wants to play isn’t a “shill,” and someone who warns you that the game is fixed isn’t a “shill” against the carnies. Dan Lyons is a shill for playing Microsoft’s games. He might be comical and witty, but he has a purpose.

  • Pingback: ReneRitchie.net » Fake Steve Real Propaganda?()

  • solipsism

    Am I the only one doesn’t think FSJ’s blog is funny?

  • Darran

    I suppose it’s fair everyone has an opinion, however I don’t believe that Dan Lyons could be a Microsoft shill, you know, I think he’s a guy trapped with mixed feelings about Apple and the whole arena around technology, and you don’t have to be a Microsoft shill to have an opinion that differs from unquestionally trusting Apple.

    Even if you are impersonating their CEO.

  • Marian

    @solipsism: no, you’re not the only one.

  • UrbanBard

    Darran, this disturbs me. It feels more than merely mixed feelings on Lyons part. Lyons, unlike his readers, knows he is telling lies.

    At some level, this is farce, but here is a guy putting words into another man’s mouth. Maybe, he is trying to be cute or clever. This is all a fiction, but not as honest.

    When you write a novel, you try to craft believable dialog. You try to be as true as possible to your character. That can run into problems. Some writers say that a character will occasionally run away with the story; that the writer is surprized at how things turn out.

    The difference here, as Daniel makes plain, is that Lyons is engaged in character assassination of almost everyone. He puts words into Steve Jobs’ mouth that Jobs would likely never say–publically. That is what makes his writings funny.

    Yes, I know that Lyons calls himself “Fake” Steve Jobs. And we are supposed to know that this is a hoax. But that is not how he acts. Many people will get confused. Lyons had to lie repeatedly that he was not “Fake” Steve Jobs.

    Now, he claims the title as if it were an honor– rather than a disgrace. As Daniel points out, this subterfuge is designed to mock and ridicule Steve jobs. Whether Lyons is paid off to do this or because he get hits for his web site does not matter. There is simply no truth in this man.

    This is not a case of him making fun of Steve jobs or of questioning Apple. This is artfully crafted libel under the guise of humor. It feels like ethnic humor; a Polish joke, perhaps.This is disrespectful behavior. There is no excuse.

    Only people who dislike Apple would think it funny. Odd? yes. Quixotic? yes. Funny? No.

  • Arnold Ziffel

    The little bit of FSJ I’ve read is just pablum. I’d say it’s sort of the Spam of the meat world.

  • scmacmac

    Daniel: I think you are brilliant, and fearless. I absolutely appreciate what you do. But I also think you vaulted right over the top on this. This is not to say you should do anything at all differently.

  • gus2000

    Daniel, did you call Lyons “a tool”? :-P

  • http://ghscommunications.com potterhead4

    @RDB #14: Uh, iTards? FSJ takes frequent digs at Apple customers.

  • materro


    Daniel Lyons is engaged in satire, not character assassination. The humor in Fake Steve Jobs is derived from two sources: first, from the characterization of people he describes. He frequently refers to Microsoft as “the Borg” and Mossberg as “Goatberg.” FSJ is not trying to ridicule Steve Jobs, or at least only Steve Jobs. He frequently beats up on everybody, as good satire does. Daniel Dilger is mistaken in this case, because it would take an extremely selective reading to find an agenda against Apple. For instance, Microsoft supporters are called “MicroTards,” and the latest post in the MicroTards category calls the question of whether IE7 is a a program or a virus “a deep question.” An older post is titled, “Dear Microsoft: This is why people friggin hate you.”

    People also laugh at FSJ because of the stark contrast between Fake Steve and Real Steve. Real Steve is reserved, calm, smart, and a formidable presence on stage. Fake Steve is loud, opinionated, and not afraid to express his inner thoughts. I just had a good laugh at a recursive element of FSJ’s latest post, in which he states that “[i]t’s hard to tell because there’s no sign or subtitles telling you that it’s fake, and the guy singing the song and holding the guitar is definitely the real Robert Earl Keen and not an actor so I’m tending to think this is actually true.” Substitute Steve Jobs for Robert Earl Keen and you have the essence of Fake Steve Jobs. Good non-narrative satire can easily confuse you at first blush. I will admit that the Onion has caught me with my guard down several times.

  • sebastianlewis


    So basically what you’re saying is that anybody can be Fake Steve Jobs if they make a blog, call it Fake Steve Jobs, and say lots of crap the real Steve would never say? In fact I think that same trick would work if you titled the blog Fake Bill Gates or… Voltaire!

    Sometimes his posts are funny, like the way a knock knock joke might be funny, it’s certainly satire, but it’s not very funny in the long run because a lot of what he’s claiming is either downright false or makes no sense no matter how you look at it, even though you know he’s fake. Claiming to be a “Fake” version of the real Steve Jobs doesn’t give him a license to build a Fountain of Bullshit.


  • Dogger

    ‘Claiming to be a “Fake” version of the real Steve Jobs doesn’t give him a license to build a Fountain of Bullshit.’

    Actually, that’s exactly what that does. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

  • materro


    Yes, that is what I am saying. There is in fact nothing wrong in doing what Lyons is doing. However, I would advise against creating another Fake Steve Jobs now, because Lyons has claim to Fake Steve Jobs simply for getting there first. I would see nothing wrong with creating a blog called Fake Daniel Lyons as long as the blog’s purpose is satire. And certainly, how funny you find satire does not determine how satiric it is. Inherent humor –absurdity, for instance — is part of what makes satire.

    Besides, FSJ doesn’t make any false claims or portray Apple in a bad light. Every FSJ post links to a news link or video (if it’s not part of a series). The format usually entails the following, in order:
    1. News source
    2. Jokes
    Yeah, sometimes FSJ will state correct facts about a company’s history (like Microsoft’s arrogance). But where does FSJ spout bullshit? I’ve yet to see any. I’ve browsed lots and lots of blog posts by him and have yet to see anything that resembles an anti-Apple agenda.

  • UrbanBard

    “Daniel Lyons is engaged in satire, not character assassination. “

    Is there nothing harmful in satire, materro?

    Satire is nasty stuff. It may be funny in a peculiar sense, but is there any fun to it? What interests does satire serve? Is it more than mere bad manners and ill breeding? Why should we let it pass without rebuke?


    What is satire, anyway? You seemed to be confused as to its meaning, materro. The New Oxford American Dictionary says it is:

    “satire |?sa?t?r|


    the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

    What is that but character assassination when it is directed against a person? What stupidity and vices does Steve jobs have to expose and criticize?

    Is his sin that he dares to confront Microsoft? Or is it that he succeeds in doing so? Is there any real difference between this denigration of Job’s Character and actions and Microsoft’s Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt propaganda campaign against Apple?

    “FSJ is not trying to ridicule Steve Jobs, or at least only Steve Jobs. He frequently beats up on everybody, as good satire does. “

    So, If Lyons is equally rude to everyone, no one is supposed to complain about his lies, deceptions and misrepresentations?

    But as Daniel points out, Lyons is not an equally opportunity bad mouth. His writings, as Lyons, shows him to be too honest; it betrays his biases against Apple. It is irrelevant that he occasionally makes half hearted slams against Microsoft if his main force is against Apple.

    “People also laugh at FSJ because of the stark contrast between Fake Steve and Real Steve. “

    That is the exaggeration and ridicule which you find in the above definition. Again, what has Steve Jobs done to deserve to be singled out? What are his sins? What has he done that makes you dislike so?


    Let me give you a different definition for satire: it is humor used as a propaganda weapon. There are many examples of this.

    The Polish joke was exaggeration and ridicule used as a political weapon by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Seventeenth Century.

    The “Nigger Joke” was designed by the Southern Aristocracy to demean and denigrate the black. It helped keep them in their place on the plantation. It tended to keep good people from helping the blacks.

    The “Bush Joke” was designed by the Antiwar activists to denigrate President Bush’s character, his intelligence and motives as a means to deny any justification for following his political agenda.

    These jokes are designed to foist a Stereotype on people which becomes an unconscious prejudice. Such jokes are funny only to the people who share the prejudices. The Joke’s purpose is to perpetuate the propaganda by dehumanizing a person.

    Is there nothing to complain about in that?

  • RDB

    character assissination? ugh, you apple fanboys kill me.

    let me tell my personal story about this blog. i started reading this blog without very little knowledge about apple or steve jobs. i actually have MORE respect for both after reading DL’s blog from day one. i think the way he portrays him makes him more endearing.

    you guys really need to search youtube for Dan Lyon’s speech at Google. he makes all of it make sense, about why he started this whole thing in the first place and his intentions.

  • materro


    FSJ singles out Steve Jobs because of his celebrity; he is iconic. He has a persona that everyone knows: the genius, the man of few words, the underdog with style. That’s what makes him easy to parody: style. FSJ’s “about me section states that he “love[s] beautiful objects. I love creating them. Negative people upset me.” That statement relies on prior knowledge of Steve Jobs and his sense of style. Take Jonathan Ive, Steve Job’s lead designer. He designed the iPod, and I’ll readily admit that I love my iPod and using it. And then Lyons takes that quintessential Jobsian persona–calm, cool, almost like an art professor–and puts it next to a soft, contemplative portrait of Jobs resting his head in his hand. It screams pretentious, and it’s funny because it’s art that imitates life and it’s serious in spite of itself all at the same time. Please don’t think I dislike Steve Jobs, because I love him and I think he’s great. But that doesn’t mean I won’t accept a parody of him. Jobs has no sins; he’s simply go a big target on him because of his stature in the tech world and his presentation of himself.

    FSJ is not character assassination, because it uses Steve Jobs as a platform rather than a target. FSJ says that he purposely calls Randall Stevenson Randall Stevens just to annoy him. Does this mean that FSJ is attacking Steve Jobs and calling him an arrogant man who takes expense in others’ pain? No, but it’s funny. It’s a lot easier to lend weight to Lyon’s words when he goes by the persona of Fake Steve Jobs than Random Joe Blogger. People who know who Steve Jobs is, and as a public figure Steve Jobs has a target on his back, just like Bill Gates, Steve Balmer, and Richard Stallman.

    Steve Jobs as a platform is apparant in the tags that Lyons attaches to his blog entries. Notice “Beastmaster Bill” (Bill Gates), “Borg” (Microsoft), “Dell,” “Flithy hacks” (critics), “Freetards” (Steven J. Vaughn Nicols, etc.), “Google,” “Google be evil,” “iTards” (Apple fans), “Linux,” “MicroTards” (Microsoft and fans), “Monkey Boy” (Steve Balmer), and “Woz.” All of these are companies, institutions, and people Lyons mentions. Notice how the “MicroTards” label is attached to over 130 entries while “iTards”–which only attacks Apple fans–has yet to reach 10. Lyons loves to beat up on Microsoft a lot more than he does on Apple. There’s not even an Apple-equivalent tag. Though FSJ calls Woz fat and lazy, he refers to a meeting with Steve Balmer in “My lunch with Fester.” Ouch. And Fortune? Lyons isn’t even nice to them. He calls them “dumbass motherfuckers” and calls their website’s interface crap. It’s very hard to show that Apple is villified by Lyons.

    Additionally, UrbanBand, you have the definition of satire half right and have interpreted it incorrectly. You have not mentioned that the purpose of satire is also to inspire change in what is lambasted. Wikipedia states that in satire “human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with an intent to bring about improvement.” A black joke as satire is wrong because that would constitute using the weaknesses as black people to cause them to improve themselves. That’s much different from what you say a black joke was in the South. Before the Civil War, Southern whites definitely didn’t care if black slaves improved themselves or not unless it made them better slaves.

    Real satire is exemplified by Jonathan Swift in “A Modest Proposal,” in which Swift suggests that the Irish landlords, “who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.” Swift uses humor to attack the landlords. Fake Steve Jobs does the same to attack the rest of the industry (as well as some of the undeserving). Notice how Steve Jobs is never the subject of Fake Steve Jobs’ entries, unlike how the landlords are the subjects of Swift’s essay.

    As I have mentioned earlier, Lyons bases all his entries off of news or another source. After that, Lyons launches into humor. Of course in humor Lyons makes up lots of stuff, but his sources themselves aren’t lies. How does Lyons deceive and misrepresent? He doesn’t. Extrapolation and inventing concetps in humor canot be counted as misrepresentation. FSJ knows what the facts are and will tell you them. After that, he goes wild. Jonathan Swift does the same thing. Swift for the first part of his essay mentions the hard facts–the birth rate, poverty rates, economic costs, etc. Then Swift launches into one of the most successful satires in history and suggests that the Irish eat the children of the poor to solve their economic problems. Is that misrepresenting the facts? No, that’s satire. And though Lyons isn’t as skilled, it’s still satire.

  • thgd

    FSJ isn’t writing satire he is trading on a prominent persons name to gain the attention he otherwise would have no hope of getting.

    A few articles could be satirical and maybe funny but making a whole career around this is blatant opportunism to line his own pocket.

    This very dishonesty lends credence to the charges that he is a clever shill for anyone with enough money to buy his allegiance.

  • Joe Sa

    Maybe someone should do a “Fake Daniel Lyons” blog.

  • solipsism

    Joe Sa wrote “Maybe someone should do a “Fake Daniel Lyons” blog.”

    The problem is that Lyons isn’t enigmatic or popular enough to a warrant a real blog, much less a fake one, which is why he had to become Fake Steve Jobs to garnish a fan base.

    One would be much better off starting a “Fake, Fake Steve Jobs” blog, instead. At least both Steve Jobs and the Fake Steve Jobs alter ego have a fan base.

  • harrywolf

    Through FSJ and other Blogs, Microsofties revel in their new-found underdog status, now that Apple has become the controller of digital music and probably smartphones too, plus having a better OS.

    Apple can be happy that finally they are taken SO seriously that MANY Microsoft shills are having to ‘do something’ about them.

    FSJ has described the new order quite nicely, where Gates sort of finds some long-desired ‘street credibility’ and Jobs has to wrestle with the problems of being the new King of the Establishment, a role I doubt he wants.

    The main issue for Dan Eran is that there are ‘evil doings afoot’ – and he is right.
    Trouble is, hardly anyone cares.
    Lies are an offence against a kind of shared reality that promotes a decent world.
    It has long been the case that Gates and his co. tell lies routinely, as a part of company policy, to enrich themselves. (like the 911 scam [sorry had to throw that in])

    This isnt good and MUST be exposed.

    Our Dan (Eran) does that, and also manages half-decent satire sometimes!

    I dont see that the other Dan (Lyons) does anything but dress up his prejudices as humor, and sends some not-so-subtle messages.
    But he has highlighted the Changing of the Guard, perhaps unwittingly….

    I dont find FSJ funny; I prefer old YouTube videos of Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, aka the great Chris Farley. Thats what I call humor. It makes fun of someone too, but the victim is not real.
    Thats the difference.

    Is FSJ satirical?
    Nah. Its not that good.

  • Steve Nagel

    “Apple can be happy that finally they are taken SO seriously that MANY Microsoft shills are having to ‘do something’ about them.”

    I agree. What Daniel does best is act as a quick responder to FUDshills. (Apple owes him big time.) No need to get into motivations or conspiracies; just put a bright white light on the misinformation.

    Just to say: I thought FSJ was hilarious. It’s damn clever writing. Satire fades with use tho’.

  • http://secretdiaryofdanlyons.blogspot.com fake dan lyons

    Lyons is not only a blue ribbon hypocrite, he’s also a withering wormtongue with a clear agenda. Apologists should read his floating point blog to get a taste of the real Dan, who is also a plagiaristic plunderer, as documented on this blog by some idiot calling themselves Fake Dan Lyons.

  • UrbanBard

    I could not care less about the Fake Steve Jobs–or the Real one.

    But, why do you, Materro, leap to the defense of a scoundrel? He, in his writing as Dan Lyons, has shown himself to be one. Lyons lies and deceives. He takes ordinary things and puts the worst possible spin on them. His biases were clear before he ever started putting false words in Steve Jobs mouth.

    What Dan Lyons is, is a crooked wordsmith. And you defend his being crooked.

    You see, a wordsmith’s job is to find the truth and to explain it to others. What truth is there in any of Lyons writing? None.

    What Lyons intent is, and why he chooses to defame Steve Jobs, is that he is a leveler. He believes that Steve jobs needs to be taken down a peg, as apparently do you. Why does Steve Jobs need this? It is to assuage Lyons injured ego.

    Our educational system was what made Dan Lyons crooked, because he was praised too much as a child. And he was praised for the wrong things: for his vernal skills, rather than for his good judgement. Lyons grew up thinking that he was a little prince. And that he would always be coddled.

    But, to Lyon’s dismay, he found that no one much cared about what he had to say. Why? Because there is no truth in him–just a huge ego. He went from being a big fish in a small educational pond to a tiny fish in the big ocean of life. He found out that the world has far different standards of excellence; it rewards other people than Lyons. Life must seem so unfair to Lyons.

    So, now he turns his verbal skills on defaming others. He could use those skills to go after villains, but no, not him. His choice of victim is telling. It shows what kind of person he is.

    So, let’s ignore him and move on to something important. Okay?

  • UrbanBard

    Correction: Lyons was praised too much for his VERBAL skills.

  • Steve Nagel
  • materro


    I am sorry that we cannot see eye to eye. I have no hate for Steve Jobs as you claim I do. Do I love humor? Yes, particularly satire. That is why I love The Onion and, recently, “I am America (And So Can You!)” by Stephen Colbert (and Colbert in general).

    Unfortunately, it does not appear that you have investigated your own claims that Lyons is a terrible man. After I read Daniel Eran Dilger’s post, I went to fakesteve.blogspot.com and looked for evidence that would lead me to a conclusion. In my last post I provided such proof that Lyons would rather beat up on Microsoft rather than Apple. I read page after page of FSJ posts and, yes, I found a few jabs at Apple–it would look highly suspicious if he did not. But FSJ countless times pounded Vista, calling it slow and buggy and filled with stolen ideas from Apple. FSJ has a bias for Microsoft? It must be an abusive relationship.

    Did I leap to the defense of a “scoundrel?” That depends on whether or not leaping to someone’s defense constitutes spending time actually reading through FSJ. On the other hand, you have countered with conclusion and assumption drawn from a preconceived notion. I am not trying to change your mind; I merely wish for you to show me why you have come to your decision. I have shown you mine, and I have grounded it in Fake Steve Jobs’ own words. Is that leaping to his defense? Hardly. I would care to chance that you have not even read what I said last time, because you have offered no counterpoint. Please show some reason, rather than emotion.

  • UrbanBard

    Materro, I have nothing against either man. I just don’t like lies or the people who profit from them. I don’t like mocking, demeaning humor. That may be a personal taste, of course.

    You dislike the characterization that I made of you leaping to Dan Lyon’s defense. Perhaps, ‘leaping to the defense’ is too strong a phrase. You do keep supplying Dan Lyons with justifications. Why?

    You never really answer the question of why it is okay to attack Steve Jobs. Saying that Steve Jobs is a worthy target because he is a celebrity is like saying that banks deserve to be robbed because they have money in them. Steve Jobs’ supposed Pretentiousness is a value judgment which Dan Lyons may be wrong about. What give Lyons the right to look down on anyone?

    You say that the purpose of satire is to effect change. What change? How is a foul mouth teller of lies placed in another person’s mouth going to effect change? Lyons is more likely to reconfirm prejudices.

    Is Dan Lyons a Scoundrel? Is he a mean, immoral person? I’d say yes. Why? He is not sincere. Anyone can have an opposing opinion. Part of being human is to make mistakes. How do you tell if a person is honest, but mistaken? Usually, it is by their attitude and their track record.

    Dan Lyons’ track record is not good.

    You say that Dan Lyons says bad things about Microsoft, but does he do so honestly under his own name? No. He puts his slanders in the mouth of his character-Fake Steve Jobs. Thus, he provides accusations against the real Steve Jobs and Apple for those not intelligent enough to make up the lies for themselves.

    The point is that I can tell when a person is being teased good naturedly and when he is not. There are a number of dark humorists whom I like.

    There is a danger here. Lies are not only quicker out the gate, but they persist long after their tellers are dead. The lies about Lucretia Borgia have persisted for 200 years. Was she an evil person? Did she lie, torture and use her feminine wiles to seduce men? No, she was a typical Italian noble woman caught up in a long lasting feud between families. Her family’s enemies employed crooked wordsmiths when they couldn’t get away with murdering her family members.

    People are likely to believe the lies of Fake Steve Jobs rather than the pronouncements of the real one. They will impute Dan Lyons slanders on the real Steve jobs.

    Dan Lyons is small potatoes as far as crooked wordsmiths go. The Political Liars in the New York Times completely surpass him.

    Lyons’ dishonesty is trivial. You may like the foul results his humor. His lies may confirm your prejudices, but let’s not defend the man. He is what he is.

  • materro

    Why is it okay to attack Jobs? I’ll answer that: Daniel Lyons isn’t even attacking him. It’s as simple as that. I never said Jobs is a worthy target of attack. You misunderstand me. Jobs is a worthy target of parody, who in FSJ is used for satire. Daniel Lyons has every right to say Steve Jobs is pretentious, as you have every right to say I hate Steve Jobs. To assert that no one has the right to look down on anyone is just ridiculous. You even say something similiar yourself. Everyone has opinions, and I think it’s just silly to state that Daniel Lyons shouldn’t be able to express what he thinks of Steve Jobs (that he is pretentious) because you don’t like his opinion.

    FSJ insults, for instance, John Dvorak in his most recent post. FSJ posts a video of an invetview with Dvorak, saying how the iPhone will be a failure. It’s obviously a dumb think for him to have said. FSJ calls him “grandpa” and invites the reader to learn from what’s just happened. Is that not trying to affect change? FSJ is clearly saying that Dvorak isn’t very good at predictions. Now, is that a lie? Hell no. The iPhone has sold well over five million units!

    Again and again you attack Lyons himself. I’ll admit, I never read what he’s actually said in Forbes, so I looked it up. You say Lyons never attacks Microsoft. He does it right here:

    I looked through several other articles written by Lyons, linked to in a separate post about Lyons, the one where Daniel Dilger mentions Lyons calling Linux users crunchy-heads. That’s not even an attack on Linux. Daniel Dilger misinterpreted the article.
    Daniel Dilger says that Lyons is calling Linux users ignorant and delusional. That’s not what Lyons is saying. From a business perspective, Lyons is saying that it’s foolish to assume that Linux is safe because SCO is well-connected and can fund a prolonged legal battle.

    Lyons is obviously wrong. His track record for making predictions (Apple as big brother? he asks in another post) is dubious at best. But is he a liar? I don’t believe he is. I think he is, in fact, a piss-poor columnist when it comes to looking at the future. He was obviously on the wrong side of the SCO vs. Linux scuffle, which is evidence enough of lack of journalistic ability.

    But I believe that Daniel Lyons honestly likes Steve Jobs.
    Daniel Lyons in the last paragraph says that he prefers the Mac to any Windows computer. It would therefore make sense that he likes Jobs. FSJ is probably more a labor of love for Jobs than it is a hit job on him.

    Of course, the alternative is that everything Lyons says in both Forbes and FSJ is a total lie. But no one knows that for sure except Lyons. It makes more sense that he can reflect on the past (but then again, can’t everyone) but not on the future than he just is a bald-faced liar in everything he says. It’s easy to say Windows Vista sucks when everyone else has already said it. What motive would Daniel Lyons have for lying through his teeth? Wouldn’t it just make more sense to tell the truth. Assuming that he is lying in everything he says leads to a lot of speculation that may never be proved or disproved. What would really be revealing is a list of the stocks that Lyons holds. (Perhaps he holds a conflict of interest?)

    I think that through Occam’s Razor one can conclude that Daniel Lyons is simply a poor technology columnist who (I think) runs a funny blog.

  • UrbanBard

    Let me make my position clear: I don’t care one iota about Dan Lyons. He is a liar. He is scum. He is a contemptible person, although not an evil one. He is a clever man who is using a false front to spout his lies through–Fake Steve Jobs. No one would pay attention if he used Fake Dan Lyons. Everyone knows he is a fake.

    Lyons preys on people who can’t defend themselves, because if the people he defames did, then that would be news. Lyons is a coward in that he won’t put his lies in his own name, so he is best ignored.

    I don’t care about Steve Jobs who ought to be used to people misrepresenting his positions. He collected a lot of Microsoft FUD over the years. Jobs and Apple computers do good work. Neither is perfect, but they make good computers and entertainment devises. When Apple and Jobs make mistakes they need to be called on them. But, it’s not my job to defend him.

    Nor is it my job to protect Daniel Eran. DE and I have run into issues between us. I think his leftist politics are stupid. His manners to me have been quite rude. But, he is right in this instance. Dan Lyons needs to be confronted for his lies. The only place to do this is in the venue of public opinion.

    The point about the above article is that, to paraphrase Edmond Burke, “All that is necessary for evil to win is for good men to do nothing.” It is this quote what causes me to support the Global War on Terrorism while Daniel Eran does not.

    Nor do I care about the idiots who like Dan Lyons’ screed. If you brain dead and ill mannered enough to like his lies, then you are contemptible, too. I don’t care about Dan Lyons rights, but his bad manners need to be commented on.

    So, what do I care about? I care about the truth. I am on truth’s side. In this, Dan Lyons is in the wrong. You are in the wrong for defending Dan Lyons lies. And Daniel Eran is in the right. Enough said.

  • materro


    Pen names have been used by some of the world’s greatest authors: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Richard Bachman (Stephen King), Lewis Carroll (Chardles Dodgson), etc. Daniel Lyons uses his pen name for effect, not for hiding. I think you misunderstand that. You say that Fake Steve Jobs without the Steve Jobs part would be nothing, but that’s impossible to know and ridiculous to suggest. Perhaps I am understating Fake Steve Jobs. It’s a persona, a character, more than a pen name. If it was just a pen name you might expect Daniel Lyons to use a different writing style. But he speaks differently and with a completely different tone. For that, it’s a persona.

    Is Daniel Lyons a liar? Hardly. He doesn’t make predictions through Fake Steve Jobs. He doesn’t even make statements about the market. Many of the words of Fake Steve Jobs are completely untrue and only a fool would believe he’s serious when he says he hates the French or he knows a millionaire CEO who’s dating a 15-year-old or claims that Al Gore has met a Klingon or he gets people’s names wrong on purpose. But that’s part of humor. And yes, some parts of FSJ are not satire and simply silly. But is Daniel Lyons a liar for it? No.

    Also, you cannot win an argument simply by resorting to insulting the other side. Please be civil. There is no need to bring in anyone’s politics into this or write such invective statements about anyone.

  • UrbanBard

    Enough already. Do you think that any of your rationalizations will change my mind? Dan Lyons’ soul has been weighed and found wanting.

    Why do you defend Dan Lyons? Let him defend himself if he is brave enough.

    Let him stand up and say under his own name, “I have no personal animosity toward Steve Jobs or Apple inc. I just needed a hook to get people to pay attention to me. It just wasn’t happening otherwise.

    “I don’t care what Steve Jobs or anyone else thinks about my writings. If anyone gets offended–screw them.

    “Sure, I can be mean and sarcastic behind my persona as Fake Steve Jobs. And too, I know that I play into the hands of people looking for reasons to hate Steve Jobs and Apple. And thus, I become a source for FUD. So what?

    “Forget about all that. It isn’t about the Apple haters or the Steve Jobs haters. It’s all about Me. Me. ME. And don’t forget it.”

    Let him make a simple statement like that. Perhaps then, I might believe anything he says.

  • http://www.killmoms.com killmoms


    If you seriously think that people take Lyons’ “Apple FUD” as legitimate, then you’re delusional.

    I find it highly presumptuous that you’ve decided that because Lyons might be a little mean, he’s somehow a vile human being.

    I love Apple. I think Steve Jobs is a genius. I also think Fake Steve Jobs is hilarious.