I see that the juvenile cyberelite continues to delude itself that its deep immersion in the Internet makes it immune from the real world – which, outside the milieu of the wifi-enabled coffee shop, is where the peasants live.

Surely we don’t need Andrew Keen to remind us that a technological elite from a tiny killzone in northern California has invented the tools that run “our” lives. These tools are like the Googleplex in that they favour an infantilized mob of arrested teenage boys – in last night’s delicious case, almost literally so.

Teehan & Lax is a leading “UX shop” in Toronto. It’s run by a tall, strapping fella with fascinating looks and an accent he hasn’t quite explained properly, and by a runt who believes some people deserve everything they get in blog comment fields. (You see where this is going already.) It was the ostensible Swede who walked smartly over and unplugged me that time I was at their office attempting to telnet into my box to read mail. So I’m predisposed to dislike them already. I declare my bias.

It turns out not to be a surprise that the kind of company that believes it’s A-OK to malign third parties (also to spam subway passengers on TTC OneStop “information” displays, whose ads they design) is the same kind of company that hires boy designers with a fondness for toy guns. But surely toy guns aren’t real; it’s impossible for anyone to get hurt. Plus when you make a toy gun out of Lego, don’t you kill two birds with one round?

A grown man who builds a Lego handgun couldn’t work anywhere but the “UX” industry. Nobody else would hire somebody that immature and sheltered. Only the online industry has this degree of tolerance for maladaptive manifestations of the autistic spectrum. Real men play with toys only when nearby children are also playing with them. Anybody else doing that isn’t a man but a teenager.

These are the kind of people who aren’t just hired but cultivated. These immature and maladaptive behaviours aren’t just tolerated but nurtured.

I’ll point to a legislative loophole that prevented this case from achieving a happy ending. Replica handguns aren’t actually illegal at the federal level. If only they were, Jeremy Bell would be learning a hard-knock lesson he and other members of the decadent online elite desperately need to learn.

In a properly functioning society, people like him wouldn’t be able to laugh off the way their actions prompted a complaint from a nosy neighbour, shut down a neighbourhood, and resulted in momentary confinement in handcuffs. Instead they’d be hiring defence lawyers and countering Crown accusations that their own immaturity and obliviousness warrant jail time.

Undersocialized, uncultured nerds let loose in playgrounds overrun by their own kind are a risk to society. This time the gun was a toy.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.12.03 15:03. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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