Bill, Old Buddy!

How many ways can esteemed journalists suck up to a serial killer?

How many ways can esteemed journalists suck up to a serial killer? If the criminal is Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, the skys the limit. When Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, Larry King, Dan Rather and others want the big "get" — an interview with a worldwide celebrity, notorious or otherwise — they and their minions often pull out the rhetorical stops. To some environmentalists, gushed Shawn Efran at 60 Minutes II, "you are a hero and a pioneer."— Howard Kurtz in The Washington Post, Feb. 1, 2001

Dear Mr. Bill Gates:

Youre such a winner — a neat guy. Windows is awesome, and Im totally jazzed about your .Net initiative.

I have long been a user of Microsoft products, and I feel close to everything high-tech and everything Microsoft . . . including you!

Mr. Gates — Bill? — I want to shout it from the highest mountain — or at least bundle it in with a story that can be read using only the best browser — You rule! You are a symbol, like apple pie and AT&T, of all that is wonderful about this blessed country of freewheeling entrepreneurs.

Im a journalist. I write about people, events, places — you name it. You are a person. But not just any person. You essentially created this marvelous "New Economy" in your own image — the "geek" style, the ruthless competitive spirit, the cold fixation on money, the harumphing approach to complicated laws. I love it!

You are Mr. World Businessman and, on that note, Ill stop beating around the bush: I want to write about you. I wont mince words here: I also would like to talk about the Department of Justice, about U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, about Microsofts future.

But please understand that when it comes to the government — just as when it comes to high-tech — you and I are kindred spirits.

Here I am toiling away day after day, usually on deadline, kids at home bawling for Daddy, wife having a nervous breakdown, and good old Uncle Sam — namely, the IRS — spends half its time picking my pocket. So I have to scrimp to buy your latest snazzy products. Now Im not saying your products are too expensive! Im just saying I need to be richer to buy them — and I would be, if not for spineless bureaucrats.

Anyway, where do I want to go today? To Redmond!

Yours in Code,

Doug Brown