Culture

'Brotopia' Exposes Silicon Valley’s Cynical Hedonism

By S.G. Cheah··  7 min read
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Evie BroTopiaCover2 'Brotopia' Exposes Silicon Valley’s Cynical Hedonism

Emily Chang’s “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys Club of Silicon Valley” was massively hyped up prior to its release, only to fizzle away into irrelevance. But buried in the book are the crucial clues that’ll help us answer the question on Big Tech’s seemingly low opinion of humanity.

In Brotopia, Emily Chang chronicled the alleged “secretive dark side of Silicon Valley’s orgiastic culture.” Juicy stories of orgies, sex parties, partner swapping, and anonymous sex were showcased in an article written for Vanity Fair in concurrence with the release of the book. 

Silicon Valley Is Allegedly Full of Hedonistic Degeneracy

In Brotopia, Emily Chang reported on the secretive, orgiastic sex parties frequented by the top-level executives of Silicon Valley that sounds very similar to the masked ball orgy in Eyes White Shut. We hear about how the founders of these companies engage in anonymous sex with strangers, quite similar to swingers who patronize private sex clubs in the most traditional sense of the word.

Drugs are also freely distributed, but unlike the typical drug of choice — like Quaaludes and cocaine that are abundant in these traditional sex parties on Wall Street, or methamphetamine in “Party and Play,” or “chemsex” orgies in the gay community — the crowd in Silicon Valley prefers to dabble in pill-popping, psychoactive drugs like MDMA (also known as Molly and Ecstasy). While Emily Chang didn’t disclose the names of anyone she featured in her exposé (so we don’t know for sure if what was reported was truthful), we have heard people going on record to talk about how some tech executives actively participate in sex-fueled office parties

Is Brotopia Accurately Representative of Silicon Valley?

Trouble is, many insiders have discredited the details of the book. Many have criticized that Chang highlighted a few fringe incidents in Silicon Valley and tried to pass it off as a greater problem of sexism in the world of tech. 

Nerds on a couch are not a ‘cuddle puddle.’ - Elon Musk

Elon Musk, for example, wrote that “Emily Chang’s article was salacious nonsense. She conflated what happens in SF sex clubs in the Tenderloin, which have been around long before Silicon Valley was anything, with boring VC parties on the Peninsula. That is misleading to the public and she should be ashamed. If there are ‘sex parties’ in Silicon Valley, I haven’t seen or heard of one. If you want wild parties, you’re in the wrong place. Obviously. That DFJ party was boring and corporate, with zero sex or nudity anywhere. Nerds on a couch are not a ‘cuddle puddle.’ I was hounded all night by DFJ-funded entrepreneurs, so went to sleep around 1am. Nothing remotely worth writing about happened. The most fun thing was Steve lighting a model rocket around midnight.”

Elon’s statement makes sense. Unlike those on Wall Street who have the weekends and bank holidays off to party (trading only happens when the markets are open), the big guys in tech are practically on call 24/7. Codes can break at any moment. Security hacks can occur at any time of the day. And an in-depth analysis by Quillette has shown how the accusations of rampant sexism in Silicon Valley are mostly false. 

The Trouble with Silicon Valley Today

Although Emily Chang’s hit piece against the Bros of Silicon Valley reads like another trendy (yet typical) feminist grievance against cis-white-straight-males, hidden within her work is some important information that’ll help uncover the root of Big Tech’s unethical business philosophy at work today. 

In Brotopia, we read about the wild and unhinged sex parties, where husbands swap their wives with other men in order to have sex with other women. “Open relationships are the new normal,” as was stated in Emily Chang’s exposé. Monogamy is passé. Commitment to just one romantic partner is viewed as an outdated way of life. 

Progressive ideas about sex supposedly lead to innovative, new tech ideas.

“What’s making this possible is the same progressiveness and open-mindedness that allows us to be creative and disruptive about ideas,” explained a founder of a startup on why it was socially acceptable in Silicon Valley to treat sex as a casual, meaningless, recreational activity.   

Tech Leaders without Focused Passion  

So why would this lack of romantic devotion be a problem? Because this is the symptom of a larger culture of cynicism in Big Tech. Gone are the days of respectable tech titans like Andrew Grove (of Intel’s fame), who was thought of as one of the greatest business leaders of the 20th century, or even Apple’s Steve Jobs, whose focused passion was in the creation of a great product. You’d almost never see men like them engaging in political activism because their energies were focused on creating value for society. 

Substituting Activism for Passion

It’s pretty glaring how different Steve Jobs was in contrast to Bill Gates, who seems to no longer hold much passion for tech these days. We rarely come across men who spend their lives improving and revolutionizing technology in Silicon Valley. We don’t hear much buzz from Silicon Valley like we used to about the microprocessor revolution in the ‘70s and the microcomputer revolution of the ‘90s.

Instead, we see men like Gates, whose interest seems to lie in other more dubious projects, like constantly jetting around the world in a private plane in order to “combat climate change” and pushing vaccines onto the population. Or others like Mark Zuckerberg, who would rather spend hundreds of millions to interfere with American elections, rather than investing his money and expertise in new business startups.  

Cynicism against Humanity

So far, we’ve addressed how the lack of a singularly focused passion in their work is reflected in the lack of a singularly focused passion for one romantic partner. At the root of this culture is the cynical view of humanity. As quoted in the Vanity Fair article, the power players in tech are so far removed from society that some believe “The future of relationships is not just with humans but A.I. characters.”  

Big Tech is ruled by people who seem to hold a general disdain for the American people.

Doing what’s best for you (and your loved ones) in the long term requires a commitment to a cause. In the case of Silicon Valley today, we get the impression that it’s ruled by people who seem to hold a general disdain for the American people. Indoctrination in college has convinced the highly educated and highly skilled people in tech that America is a racist, sexist, and oppressive society. 

Letting Free Speech Die

This is a recent phenomenon in the world of tech because, before it was dominated by social media giants, the leading figures in tech from the Golden Age of Silicon Valley would never dream of viewing the American people as “trolls” or “deplorables” just for holding a different political belief. Andrew Grove, for example, talked about American exceptionalism, and the importance of encouraging people to speak their minds. He kept channels of communication open and termed this style “constructive confrontations” where "It's give and take, and anyone in the company can yell at him. He's not above it."

“Disruption” is king. Nothing is sacred anymore. Not monogamy. And not free speech.

Fast forward to the present-day climate of Silicon Valley, where free speech and speaking one’s mind are not only discouraged, but worse, we’re actively silenced. But once you understand the cultural climate governing Silicon Valley’s elites today, you’ll understand why Big Tech no longer champions the freedom of expression. “Disruption” is king. Nothing is sacred anymore. Not monogamy. And not free speech.

Closing Thoughts

Compare the story of Andrew Grove — who escaped fascism in Hungary to seek freedom in America, where he successfully built a better life for himself and his fellow Americans — to the leadership in Big Tech who’ll gladly deplatform Americans and silence their free speech. If you wondered “what happened?” then take a look at the cynical, nihilistic culture of Silicon Valley today. 

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