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"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

— Justine Sacco, IAC Communications Director, Shat Via Twitter on December 20, 2013
"I work in Public Relations," Joy said with a smile before tossing a kitten into a woodchipper, slapping a 98 year old great-grandmother in the face as hard as she could, and screaming at a baby until it cried and cried.

In front of the whole world.

Maybe, just maybe, it will come out that Ms. Mistake's Twitter account was hacked by a hacker. Probably not. Maybe it will be revealed that she has an previously unknown evil twin. That she was so bumblefucked on the plane or on the ground that her unforgettable regrettable instant of mass-communicated fail becomes put in some cringeworthy context. One that doesn't make what she tossed out okay but at least gives people something to wrap their brains around. Besides her being somebody with an impulse control problem and no filter who is definitely compensated to keep clients from sounding just like an unfiltered her for a living.

"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" And.... (click!) -Tweeted!

Never mind.

This little white-headed pimple of a story on a 24 hour news cycle only made the news because the lady in question works in PR. In Branding. We might want to think it was because of what she said being so offensive it outraged a digital nation. But no. Some idiot somewhere is always posting something just as stupid, offensive, or vile if not far more vicious and ugly on Twitter or on Facebook, but it doesn't ever really make the news. She's a Communications Director with a bigwig branding firm. When she shits the bed on Twitter it's news because of the con that elites are somehow elite for a good reason. Breaking that illusion hits the worker bees real hard.

"How does she have this kind of job?!?!" Jesus, she works in PR!?! For a living?!? WTF?"

All questions that boggle both the blue collar and the white collar worker bee mind here.

From Heck of a job, Brownie! to Big Tim Russert is gone too soon, Hey! Lil' Luke! Slap on your boat shoes and come inside! Jesus. What a curse to be born poor in the great age of failing up.

You barely make enough money to get by, and you are held to a brutally high standard. You stay late, uncompensated, to clean your station or store section or scrape the grill. No lates. No questioning working the holidays. Three un-paid sick days a year. No more. Three write-ups and you are fired. No method to appeal write-ups. No raises. Your pay comes every two-weeks to save the company money. You don't get paid the first week after hire, so, you essentially work a month full-time with no pay. No union talk. Ever. No write-up. You will just get fired. This is real for millions of people. Including those who would be happy to have it right now.

Okay here's a really funny story. It's about a guy who makes 5000 times your pay as a CEO doing the professional equivalent of putting his dick in a hot toaster. Why aren't you laughing?

Because the gaudy fuck-ups of the rich and famous or their peeps is like getting brain punched. Maybe Ms. Muffin is the exceptional exception. The self-made person who opened her first PR firm instead of a neighborhood lemonade stand on the curbside after helping her friend running for 8th grade class president. I will do her a solid and give her that break and assume it's possible. Royal fuck-ups and epic fails are not good for the OverClass or the corporate brand. A brand built on the little guy just accepting that some people are special. Elite. This screams 'these people aren't special, they aren't elite, they're hooked up, and I don't have any hook up'.

A lot of poors have bought in to the malignant myth that if you just polish the apple, access will be granted to the apple orchard. Eventually. If you behave. Do as you are told. Eventually.

The elite as total fuck-up makes even the most bamboozled narrow their eyes a bit to wonder.

I've been a working class person in a rich and powerful nation where somebody who was a legacy at an elite school who inherited his great-great-grandfather's pickled herring fortune can bitch and moan so very bitterly about the "takers" killing off the "makers". Where a rich yuppie family with mountains of manufacturing money to burn can don camo-and-flag-covered costumes from Bass Pro Shops grow themselves some major beards and adopt the mantle of America's first redneck royal family to play act on television. And people who actually are the very people who they are all merely pretend to be are some of their biggest cons, er, fans!

A great nation bamboozled by wealthy predators, idiots, and (bonus homophobic!) frauds.

Competence or decency or even a shred of brains doesn't necessarily have anything to do with why you are where you are in the Lucky Ducky world we live in. It's not just stupid little things or eye-rolling stories that eat up a slow news day. You can lie us into a war and get away with it. You can nearly destroy the economy of one of the greatest economies of the world and get away with it. This PR exec who epic failed will probably pay a far higher and more lasting price than any of those gotten scores of innocent people killed and maimed and ruined over the last ten to fifteen years. This is why I am not shocked when this kind of thing happens. I expect it.

That's how too many of us find out we are fucked for playing ball, not earning points.

The fuck ups. The disasters. The wrecks. That is when we find out that somebody's lucky sperm club luck has run out. Or how we find out in post-Reagan Revolution America that somebody probably failed too far up too fast. When it causes a disaster. Be it a big earthquake or just a fleeting tiny dirty shimmy. Even when a PR person goes on Twitter and says something guaranteed to leave a stain. George W. Bush is no longer President. But we are haunted by his legacy like a dim ghost. Everything that happened during the Bush years could happen all over again. Wars and all. A lot of failing upwards that has gone on over the last few decades.

Maybe I should thank you, Ms. Whatsamattayou. Even for this brief tic.

We live in a time when Ben Stein is identified as an economist, Louis Gohmert as a lawmaker, Paul Ryan is a man of numbers and policy substance, and a powerful person, say, a state Governor with an eye on the White House or his hired stooges who all think its okay to shut down the most busy bridge in the world for cheap political payback for not endorsing the big boss feel free to go beyond fantasy revenge spitballing and just do it. All tied up with a bow by the crushing travesty that you don't actually have to be competent or fair-minded or worthy to get ahead. You just have to be rich enough, connected enough, or able to bullshit enough.

Don't tell me what you know, tell me who you know. Step right up and buy some fine bullshit!

That is America doped up on Movement Conservatism in a nutshell. All else are royally fucked.

The sad tale of... I already forget her name, whoever's Communications Director, Tweeter of Dopey Twitter Epic Fail didn't make me angry. It made me laugh to cover my wanting to cry or just go break something. She is just likely another insensitive pampered winner who dwells among the insensitive pampered epic win power set who let her fingers get ahead of her brain. Hearing her story made me think even more about the million plus Americans who are about to get dropped off the unemployment safety net who have been left so high and dry. Well, so far. Why a Sen. Warren has to sell a law to ban credit checks from disqualifying job applicants.

Goodbye 24 hour news cycle fleeting human punchline who Tweeted a sad and vile Tweet.

You press on to your next corporate gig after an appropriately appropriate period of laying low for a while. The rest of us poor saps are just going to keep on keeping on while trying to keep our heads above all this muck and mire that many millions of us are marching through just trying to get ahead. Have an Appletini. I'm sure it's been a long day.

Originally posted to LeftHandedMan on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 03:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  low whistle... oh lord honey... (15+ / 0-)

    best rant I've read in a looonggg time.

    You totally nail it.


    One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. --Carl Jung

    by bronte17 on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 12:26:25 PM PST

  •  Epic. (15+ / 0-)

    Wow.  Thanks for that.  I've been wanting to say all that for an awfully long time....

    I'm in a business (architecture) that is very volatile; when the economy goes up or down, we're among the first and hardest to get hit.  It's also, as a creative profession, a very competitive and male-dominated field.

    I've been doing this for about 20 years, on my own for 10.  I'm doing alright - I'm grateful.  But it's still a slog.  Imagine my frustration when I see some kid straight out of school set up his own design/development firm with his daddy's money.  They don't know how to build a building yet - much less design one.  But without a client to work for, they have no one to challenge them.  So they just assault our communal sensibilities with schlock like this:

     photo 5872443d-27bf-44ba-8d00-62d7cf762c10_zpse3bbff13.jpg

    And they are lauded for their pluck and ingenuity.  Makes me want to barf - oh - looks like someone already has...

    I rant right along with you, my friend.... I feel the pain.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 03:49:30 PM PST

    •  Oh lord (9+ / 0-)

      Whenever I pass by something like that, I say to my husband, "Oh crap, somebody went and committed architecture."

      Nicely set off by the Beaux Arts streetlamp, too.  That's always the right way to finish off a Lego building.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 06:47:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL!!! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, lineatus

        Yeah - it's in the middle of one of the oldest Victorian neighborhoods in San Diego.  Big mansions dating back to the early 1900's.... ancient for this town.

        But to be fair, it's built on the edge of a freeway; this is SoCal after all....

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 08:58:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Egad. Where? LA? (4+ / 0-)

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 07:00:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sweet Mother of Mayhem! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winkk, Aunt Pat, La Gitane

      What the hell is that?!?! A Mall? Offices? Ye gads.

      It looks like it was made out of giant legos and plopped there because it was someplace a giant lego pile would fit.

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:28:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And this photo doesn't even show (3+ / 0-)

        the full catastrophe that this building is; there's about twice as much behind it that you can't see.

        I used to teach at an architecture school - first year studio.  I would have destroyed this project in a crit.

        1) The site was formerly a gas station from the 70's.  These brilliant "avant-gardistes" decided to "preserve" this piece of shit and leave it in the center of the courtyard.  When you look through the entry the first thing you see is a giant 70's flagstone-clad column, blue siding and a sign that says "lubrication".

        2) The rear portion of the building looks like bad architecture from the banlieues de Paris circa 1972.  A completely different concept - think wearing plaid pants with a striped shirt.

        3) What you have here is classic architecture student "concept overload".  They think every idea they have is the most brilliant thing since the Renaissance, and that they'll never have another idea ever again.  So they cling to each concept and cram it into one project.  You have the green zigzag thing and facade with zero proportion, you have the classic "geode" concept with the gas station, and the Paris banlieue Mansard roof thing in the back.  Too much for one building - three concepts, three buildings.

        4) And I particularly have a problem with the gas station.  The "geode" concept is a formal design concept that consists of a "gem" encased/hidden in a contrasting shell.  In order for this formal concept to work, you need two things: a gem, and a relationship between the gem and its exterior.  You also want the gem to be a discovery, a surprise...  Our gem?  A 1970's ugly-ass gas station?  Really?  And there is zero reference to the gas station in the design of the exterior...for a contrast to exist, it still needs to reference the thing it is contrasting.  Choreography in architecture is critical; it's a little like poetry or a novel.  You want to give people little clues, you want them to proceed this way or that - direct their movements through the building... you lead them to things, vistas, grand staircases, artwork, courtyards, whatever... but you lead them to something....  here?  A gas station.  That you see from the street.

        All in all, it's a disaster of a project.  The lot is huge - about 20,000 SF.  Tons of land, money and resources went into this building; a project that would have gotten a C in my studio.  Never should have left the boards.

        Thanks for letting me rant - I haven't been able to get all of this out in public because it's not exactly good form for architects to destroy each others work publicly.  But amongst myself and my colleagues, it's an absolute nightmare.

        And, thanks for your support - it makes me feel like I'm not alone!  :)

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:23:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OTOH, with any luck they'll improve their skills (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftHandedMan

          over time, and then they'll have to look back at Building #1 in their portfolio the way the rest of us look back at photos of ourselves from the 80s.  

          There are not enough vines that can be planted for this one.

          Lead your life - don't let your life lead you.

          by lineatus on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:14:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  And BTW (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftHandedMan
        It looks like it was made out of giant legos and plopped there because it was someplace a giant lego pile would fit.
        Great crit - I'd put you on a jury any day!

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:43:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dreck, indeed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, La Gitane, LeftHandedMan

      But Dexter was never challenged to learn how to draw anything but straight lines. Daddy built the college a new dorm, so Dexter got his degree anyway.

      Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

      by Sirenus on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:15:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here in San Diego (3+ / 0-)

        we only have two architecture schools and they're both for-profit.  I taught at one for three years.  I was eventually fired because I wanted to give a kid a D.  He complained and I was gone.

        You see, the tuition (at that time - six years ago) was $25K/year.  So, any kid that I flunked meant $25K less in the coffers - basically losing a client.

        I would lose my mind during crits at this school.  I went to a school with a very good reputation and it was brutal.  I can't tell you how many all-nighters I spent in studio.  Crying.  Bleeding - literally (every architect has at least one scar from a cut from an Exacto knife they sustained in architecture school from making a model at 4am for a 9am jury)

        I was told things like "if you ever do this again, tell me first and I'll get an axe", or "this is the WORST building I have ever seen. To build it would be a blemish on the planet, and I would NEVER set foot in the damn thing."  The worst thing that was said to a fellow student that moved her to tears during the crit was "...and what the hell is up with that tower??  Looks like a goddamned Nazi concentration camp."

        It sounds brutal and it was.  But it has to be.  An architect is asking someone to spend sometimes tens of millions of dollars on something that only exists in your head.  It's no joke.  And, buildings can kill people.  We've all seen examples of that.  When you make design decisions, you have to be as certain as possible that what you're doing is the right choice.  When you're trained like that, you have a little critic in your head all the time that is asking you endless questions and testing the soundness of your choices.  It sounds fucked up - and that's probably why we all drink like goddamned fishes.  But we do love what we do.

        At this for-profit school, every crit was followed by a golf clap.  Even the shitty ones.  My students, even if they were getting an A on the project, I was still going to crit the hell out of them.  They were students for chrissakes.  I don't care how good a first-year project is - it's still miles away from being a building and there's PLENTY of room for criticism.

        So that's my rant.  It actually felt good to get it all out; I've never written it down before....  Thanks for listening!  :)

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 09:40:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Holy Shit, Batman! (8+ / 0-)

    This is epic.  I think your quote

    'these people aren't special, they aren't elite, they're hooked up, and I don't have any hook up'
    explains why I've been pissed off for about the last 50 years.

    The core of the Daily Kos behavior guide is simple: don't be a dick.~Kos

    by theBreeze on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 04:26:35 PM PST

  •  Just to add a little more to the misery (7+ / 0-)

    Old miss PR should have a soft landing...
    It is being said on twitter that her father is a billionaire SA businessman.
    That info reinforces your diary, and probably how she got the job...
    sigh

    •  Yeah (6+ / 0-)

      this is the kind of thing happening that just perks up the Spidey sense that somebody failed up or had a school of soft knocks degree in family fortune.

      Maybe it is just my 99% class bias showing, but I have a hard time believing that somebody who actually did come from nothing, who had to claw and scrape their way up from that nothing, who had to work three jobs to go to college and had to wait and wait and wait their turn while lesser skilled but better connected souls got ahead without merit, would be this epic fail idiotically casual about pulling pins on career-risking hand grenades.

      You have to know that you have something to lose to realize that you have something to lose if you play pull the Twitter pin on your current job.  

      I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:40:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My official Mea Culpa and Sincere Apology (8+ / 0-)

    to this community and those in it that took the time to read it and comment in it and rec it or share it.

    My disappearing act after it was posted.

    This may have been something of a rant, but the no-show at the end was not a "scream peace out, and angrily drop the mic" from me. I promise you.

    I posted just past 3 am. I was going to go to bed. Get a few hours sleep and be up and engaged. I've done it before when I can't sleep and I just type and post. My phone rang at 3:10 or so. It was my mother.

    My dad has a new kidney stone, and he was in agony.

    Long night. Sucky night.

    I got to come home, for, about 10 minutes this morning and then was back to the Hospital in Henderson.  

    I didn't get at home again until 6:30 pm Nevada time here.

    Thank you all, sincerely, for taking the time to just to read it or comment and rec this. Thanks to the person or persons who rescued it. As you can tell from the diary, I was already in a grouchy mood before I got the call. I'm humbled somebody thought enough of it to save it for other people to see.

    My dad is stable. He was starting to develop an infection but they caught it and it should, hopefully, be no further issue, he is going to be fine. New pain meds and everything. He needs to have some kind of sonic thing done to him that smashes up kidney stones with sound waves and hopefully this doesn't happen again.

    I have to say 'thanks'. With all I have.

    I'm very grateful to be able to come and post here. Both to share my thoughts, sometimes to vent my spleen actually, but also because this time in American history has been a time where you can feel lost. Small. Insignificant. Alone. Where bad people get rewarded and good people get screwed and you can lose hope and perspective.  

    You are not alone. Somebody on the other side of the country sitting at their computer can be just as important a lifeline to keeping your cool, your sanity, and even yourself in check as anyone you have known for years face to face.

    These kinds of nights remind me of that.

    It was a far better reminder that there are bigger things to fight about and for and people who care no matter how tough things get than the soon-to-be-forgotten Tweeter who drove me to post this in the first place.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:26:05 PM PST

  •  Aha! She was fired by Team BigWig Branding (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winkk, Australian2, Aunt Pat
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - A public relations executive for the prominent New York-based Internet media company IAC lost her job on Saturday after she posted a message joking about AIDS in Africa and race on her Twitter account, sparking an online furor.

    "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" Justine Sacco, who was IAC's corporate communications director, wrote in a message on Twitter on Friday, shortly before taking a flight.

    The Twitter account has since been deleted, though not before the message was widely circulated online.

    IAC, which had earlier condemned the message, said on Saturday that Sacco and the company have now "parted ways".

    Not surprising. As it will probably not be surprising when she has another high paying gig when the heat's off.

    As I said:

    Goodbye 24 hour news cycle fleeting human punchline who Tweeted a sad and vile Tweet.

    You press on to your next corporate gig after an appropriately appropriate period of laying low for a while. The rest of us poor saps are just going to keep on keeping on while trying to keep our heads above all this muck and mire that many millions of us are marching through just trying to get ahead. Have an Appletini. I'm sure it's been a long day.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 09:29:37 PM PST

  •  Got a $10 deal on a subscription to Town & Country (4+ / 0-)

    Thought I'd try it out. Read about the doings of the rich and powerful. The brilliance of the great minds that can amass such wealth.

    I'm an idiot.

    It was like reading "People" except with ads for much more expensive junk.  I learned about the tough, tough times that poor little rich boys and girls have when their feelings are hurt because they weren't invited to THE party of the year or their love affair with a movie star fell through.   I learned how exhausting it is to redo a $30 million mansion when your designer insists that you fly to Paris to decide if you really want the 15th century tapestry that will hang above your 17th century armoire. And then there are the ads. For "darling" little handbags that cost $3000, for "casual" sweaters that cost $5000, for chairs with "simple lines" that cost $11,000 and "simple little necklaces suitable for afternoon cocktail parties that cost $35,000.

    Yes, the rich are different from you and me. Take their charitable contributions. True, some of them support AIDS research or  famine relief in Africa. But so many spend their money supporting "the arts"....art galleries that cost $20 to walk through the door, ballet troops with $50 minimum ticket prices, opera houses that no Walmart clerk or McDonalds server will ever enter.  While, a dozen streets away, under a bridge, people huddle in the cold, hungry, despairing, dying, forgotten.

    I feel no sorrow for the rich. I feel contempt for their arrogance, their ignorance, their assumption that they deserve their money because they are somehow better than everyone else....from those who've never had to work a day in their lives, yet expect taxpayers to subsidize their billions--yes, Walmart heirs, I'm talking about you--to the CEOs who run their companies into the ground, yet because their employment contracts have been written by other CEOs--these days, they all serve on each others boards-- walk away with millions, while stockholders see their retirement savings disappear.

    I'm not renewing my subscription.

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:13:01 AM PST

  •  Is Every Self Described "People Person" A Hot Mess (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan

    I've been wondering if maybe the reason older workers don't get hired is because of the HR people's "daddy issues," you know, the very same personal problems that convinced them they are great with people?

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:17:19 AM PST

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