It was a day that will go down in tech history books, as much for its potential significance as for its utter bizarreness.
For a brief moment on Wednesday, the worlds of Silicon Valley business, partisan politics, conspiracy theorists and the theatre of the absurd all collided into one magnificent spectacle, as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey visited Washington DC for back-to-back Congressional hearings.
In the morning, Dorsey joined Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in the Senate to answer questions about foreign manipulation of social networks. At an afternoon hearing in the House, Dorsey took the hot seat on his own to respond to allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies – an idea that has been increasingly propagated by Republicans, including President Trump.
Adding to the day’s drama were howling protesters, Dorsey’s spiking heartrate and several deflty-timed jump scares by Alex Jones, the infamous conspiracy theorist who seemed to delight in stalking various prey throughout the Capitol, emerging, ghoul-like from various corners.
Amazingly, a photographer was able to get a picture that captures all this, and more.
This photo was taken by Politico’s M. Scott Mahaskey during a break in the hearings and posted to Twitter.
The detail and tension captured in the photo are reminiscent of a canvas by one of the great masters; a Velasquez, or perhaps Hieronimus Bosch. The more you look at the picture, the more you find.
Let’s take a look:
Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai got the conversation going by tweeting, “This has to be the most hilariously dystopian picture of the year.”
Dorsey and his weird beard-shirt combo, Alex Jones, a congressional staffer wearing Google Glass, and a journalist wearing an 1980s Casio watch.
This has to be the most hilariously dystopian picture of the year. pic.twitter.com/d9DPnExbLX
— Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (@lorenzofb) September 5, 2018
A lot of people noticed the Casio watch worn by someone who appears to be a reporter. Such watches were hot techie fashion in the 1980’s, made famous by Marty McFly in the 1985 movie “Back to the Future.”
Then there was the Congressional staffer in the early ’00’s version of high-tech chic: wearing Google glass.
While Mr. Casio Watch is filming the scene, a woman next to him, with a pink phone and pink selfie stick is filming…the scene or herself, it’s not entirely clear.
The woman is apparently the far-right activist Laura Loomer, as a CNN video shows her and her pink phone and selfie stick.
Loomer interrupted proceedings by shouting “Jack is a liar” before being shut down by Missouri congressman Billy Long a former auctioneer who used his auctioneer voice to drown her out as she was escorted out of the room.
And even Alex Jones has something of the cyborg look to him in this photo: As @manan pointed out, “why does Jones have an iPhone charger connected to his ear?”
Dorsey’s scraggly beard, as well as his shirt, were noticed, too. Not only was he tie-less, he was collarless. Another photo shows that in his left nostril (not visible here) he was wearing a nose ring.
Here’s a better look at the Dorsey’s full fashion look, including nose ring.
The person who seems to be having none of it is the cop standing by to protect them. His expression says it all.
Jones even made the photo the banner for his profile page on Twitter…
That is, until he was permanently banned from the service the following day.
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