Slashers of Silicon Valley
by Dara Sloan
In real life, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would probably sooner chew on ground glass than have sex with each other. So why was I getting such intense slash vibes during Ted Turner's latest telecinematic masterpiece, "Pirates of Silicon Valley"? And more importantly, what can I do about it?
"Actor slash" is a big no-no in just about every forum. However, this isn't exactly the same thing. "Pirates" has a disclaimer at the end stating that certain scenes, characters and dialogue were created for dramatic purposes. By deliberately fictionalizing (and glamorizing) actual events and people, the filmmakers take them that one step away from reality. The movie was made without the consent of any of the real-life players, so nobody can argue that it's only okay when the producers mess with the facts because they had permission. So if they can do it, why can't we?
Let's face it, if this flick were 100% fictional, it would be a slasher's goldmine. Gates and Jobs have a trust-and-betrayal dynamic that would be worthy of Mulder and Krycek if the stakes were a little higher. Consider some of the lines they're handing us: "This is like doing business with a preying mantis. You get seduced, then eaten alive afterwards," says Steve. Quoth Bill, "I think it's going to be really interesting. I mean, you and me, together." Now maybe I'm just seeing the whole world through slash-colored lenses, but when writer/director Martyn Burke himself describes the movie as "a Shakespearean tale of greed, envy and lust,"  what am I supposed to think? It also doesn't hurt that the TNT-versions of Jobs and Gates are a whole lot cuter than their real-world counterparts. (Come on, you don't think I'd get cheap thrills out of picturing the *real* Bill Gates face-down on Steve Jobs's couch, do you? I'm sick, but not *that* sick, snookums.)
So what's stopping me from inflicting SJ/BG smut on the slash community? Fear of being worked over by Gates the Almighty's legal goons, first and foremost. We're talking about a guy who tried to slap a C&D on the author of a parody site , fer cryin' out loud. And the webmaster in question never had Bill shagging his worst nemesis and liking it. Even if he didn't want to piss off every gay activist in the world by claiming defamation of character, he could probably still manage to have me chopped into a hundred pieces and left for the vultures out in the desert someplace. Or at the very least, rubber-hose my ISP into dumping me, and have every site that ever heard of me flensed from cyberspace like Playboy from a 7-Eleven in the Bible Belt. But maybe I'm just being paranoid.
The Secret Diary of Bill Gates is still out there, and the Nifty Archive is chock-full of erotic stories about famous people, so maybe I could get away with it. I mean, if you can't have fame, infamy is the next best thing, right? But what I don't want to do is bring the Wrath of Gates down on any unsuspecting websites or mailing lists. Maybe this is an opportune time to get that GeoCities account. Or maybe I should just keep my weird fantasies to myself. After all, sometime in the distant future I might end up as a highpowered executive at Microsoft, only to be called into Bill's office one day and have him sit there glaring at me accusingly while a copy of my story leers from the monitor behind him. Now *that* would be an interesting way to get fired.
 Los Angeles Times "TV Times", June 20, 1999.