Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Gates Remains Top Target on the Internet

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Gates Remains Top Target on the Internet

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bill Gates may be the world's richest man, but he is Public Enemy No. 1 on the Internet.

The Microsoft chief executive is the target of more than 100 Web sites that let people vent their anger by punching an image of Gates, making jokes about him or even blowing his virtual head off.

There's the "Gates Is Satan" site and the "Society for the Prevention of Gates Getting Everything" page. Others include "Bill Gates: the Myth, the Man, the Lovin' Machine" and "Make Me Richer Than Bill Gates." There are sites in English, Spanish, German and French. Although some have been around for a year or more, many have popped up just since the Department of Justice filed its latest lawsuit against Microsoft last month. Online assaults are a growing phenomenon on the Internet, which is increasingly becoming a town hall of societal opinion. There are sites that rip Barney, the Spice Girls, Tori Spelling and Madonna. But none of the sites are as vitriolic as the anti-Gates sites. Most of them fixate on three topics: Gates' personal $38.6 billion fortune, Microsoft's aggressive business tactics and the quality of the company's software. Psychiatrists say people who put up and visit the sites are envious, fascinated and intimidated by Gates. "As the great philosopher Groucho Marx put it, `There's no sweeter sound than the crumbling feet of my fellow man,'" said Pierre Mornell, a Mill Valley, Calif., psychiatrist. "We put people up on pedestals and enjoy watching them torn down. We do it with politicians, movie stars and well-known business people. Why? I don't know why." Making fun of the rich and famous is nothing new. The Internet just makes it easier. "To an extent, it's the classic haves vs. have-nots attitude that has existed since J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller were the nation's most successful businessmen," said Stanton McCandlish, program director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. As people become more dependent on computers in their business and personal lives -- from sending e-mail to filing taxes to helping a child with a homework assignment -- Gates is becoming an even bigger presence than earlier industrialists. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.