Editor’s note: It’s well known that most media organizations keep a vault of pre-written obituaries for public figures.
Earlier this weekend, Gawker’s Valleywag gossip site published a takedown of prominent female tech blogger, Shanley Kane. The post, written by Valleywag editor Dan Lyons, didn’t focus on Kane’s work but rather on allegations about her private life, made by an ex-boyfriend.
As Kane herself wrote on Twitter:
This, you’ll recall, is the same Dan Lyons who recently insisted to TechCrunch:
“If I had my druthers, I’d write about AI, and supercomputers, and fusion energy. I don’t really care about who’s fucking whom,” new Valleywag editor Dan Lyons tells me, signaling a tone shift for the tech tabloid. “Even when I did the fake Steve stuff, I had a rule that I never wanted to write about Steve’s family or his wife. It was just about the workplace.”
Given the post, and the fierce anti-Lyons backlash which is now playing out on Twitter, I figured this might be a good time to dig into Pando’s own pre-bituary vault and update the following…
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Dan Lyons’ Career
The career of tech blogger Dan Lyons passed away today, following a long battle with relevance, accuracy and women.
Born without a functioning spine, Daniel “Cowardly” Lyons’ Career experienced a difficult childhood. Bouncing from home to home, it was only after arriving at Newsweek that Lyons’ Career demonstrated a talent for writing not one single article that anyone can remember. This knack for evanescence quickly caught the eye of editors at Forbes who recruited Lyons’ Career to produce lengthy cover stories that not one single person can remember.
It was with the birth of Fake Steve Jobs, however, that Lyons’ Career found its true calling. Unshackled from having to fake even a perfunctory respect for women, Lyons’ Career experienced a level of success that it would never again enjoy. The “Fake Steve” era produced such classics as:
“Women have boobs. Yeah, I think that’s about it.”
“Other people’s girlfriends are pretty, but I’m not supposed to touch them.”
And “I have never had sex with anyone. Have you?”
Tragedy struck, however, with the death of Real Steve Jobs, forcing Lyons’ Career into a difficult decision: To risk offending a dead, rich man, or to abandon the column altogether. Dan Lyons’ Career chose the latter.
Following the passing of Fake Steve Jobs, Lyons’ Career went into a period of deep mourning, which it would later describe as “editing ReadWriteWeb.” Little record of that time exists. In early 2013, Lyons’ Career was diagnosed with an aggressive form of soul cancer. In a controversial procedure, doctors opted to remove the soul in the hope of saving the cancer. The operation was a success: Lyons’ Career rejected journalism and awoke at marketing agency, “Hubspot.”
Growing ever more frail, Lyons’ Career decided to live out its final days at Gawker’s Valleywag blog. The decision was likely inspired by the large number of other middling careers which had come to die on Gawker.com.
Even in death, Lyons’ Career shunned grace. Not for Lyons’ Career the simplicity of the noose or gun. Instead, this past Saturday afternoon, it mixed itself a lethal cocktail of Gamergate, neo-nazis, slut-shaming, hypocrisy and just plain appalling writing. The poison was crude, but effective: Lyons’ career was pronounced dead in the early hours of Sunday morning.
In the end, Dan Lyons’ Career died as it lived: Unfathomably. It leaves behind a badly damaged tech gossip site, numerous restraining orders and, God willing, a slightly better world for the rest of us.
No flowers, please.