Facebook billionaire and Silicon Valley playboy Sean Parker is very, very, very, very, very, very, very hurt by the media's criticism of his medieval-themed wedding, which was held in a redwood forest earlier this month and reportedly got him in hot water with California environmental authorities.
Parker is so upset about his cruel treatment at the media's hands that he wrote a 9,500-word essay-manifesto for TechCrunch detailing, at great length, the names he was called after the media began picking on him, the philosophy behind his wedding, and his views on the evolution of the media. (For those unfamiliar with publishing metrics, 9,500 words is a lot of words. If I submitted 9,500 words to my editor, I'd get committed.) The essay's title is "Weddings Used to Be Sacred and Other Lessons About Internet Journalism," and lo, it is a masterpiece — a love story, a Greek tragedy, a media rumination, a parable for our times, all wrapped up in one self-defensive package.
Highlights of Parker's essay include:
• The section headers, which have titles like "ANATOMY OF A CRISIS" and "PROTECTING THE REDWOODS."
• The list of mean names Parker says he was called after reports of his wedding hit the press, which includes (but is by no means limited to) "douchemonster," "jackwagon," and "douche canoe."
• Parker's label for the media: "that silent, invisible dragon breathing down our necks."
• The backstory behind Parker's wedding, which enlisted the help of a Hollywood costume designer and cost an estimated $4.5 million.
Alexandra and I have always been fantasy buffs, in particular devotees of “high fantasy.” We both devoured books in the genre growing up and we both reserved a special place in our hearts for Tolkien, seeing as how fantasy, or as Tolkien puts it “fairy stories”, could be a device for exploring big archetypal human themes with a strong moral compass. Good and evil. Power and responsibility. Death and immortality.
• Parker's acknowledgment that, yes, he is loaded.
Economically speaking I came out on top. I have been one of the greatest individual beneficiaries of this seismic shift in media. I have made, quite literally, “a billion dollars,” which, as I’m constantly reminded by the media, is “cool.”
• The part where Parker starts wondering What It All Means, and compares his controversial wedding to a Greek myth:
What lesson, if any, should we, collectively, take from this saga? The perfect parable of our dehumanized, detachment from each other, a result of the distance technology has created between us? The perfect parable of a broken, malfunctioning media? Or is it the modern version of the myth of Icarus, who dared fly too close to the sun?
Parker's essay isn't bad, exactly. And I can sympathize with his desire to be left alone. Weddings are weddings. You should be allowed to be a money-wasting narcissist on your wedding day, as long as you're not wrecking lives and/or the environment while doing it. (Which it now seems like Parker wasn't, at least not intentionally.)
But I'm not exactly sure why he felt the need to defend himself at such massive, Tolstoyesque length in a blog post. You have a billion dollars, dude; go buy all the blogs and newspapers that did you wrong, fire everyone, and demolish their offices.