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The Mystery of Iterating Grace

A work by Banksy, the British artist phenomenon who has remained anonymous

It looks like Silicon Valley has its own version of "Banksy" in the short novella "Iterating Grace"; copies of which were hand delivered to 140 writers and editors working in technology news in Northern California over the summer. The anonymous authors had hand-written tweets from various VCs and inserted them into the tale of Koons Crooks, the protagonist of the tale, whose name seems to partly refer to the infamous 1980s artist Jeff Koons, and creates a satirical, almost romantic perspective about the entrepreneurial class in the United States. 

A page from the short novella, Iterating Grace, which has become viral on the internet and in Silicon Valley

I won't give away too much of the story- as I read the pdf file version on my iPad, however, the ending reminds me a bit of Legends of the Fall, in which the protagonist, played by Brad Pitt, becomes a recluse in the mountains and finally comes to his end as he is wrestling bears in the wild with his bare hands and also of the infamous unabomber Ted Kaczynski who targeted UC Berkeley Professors via mail bombs in the late 1990s, secluded himself in the Montana mountains, and whose writings can be found in Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski. 

Brad Pitt plays Tristan in Legends of the Fall (1994), who becomes a recluse and comes to his death as he is fighting bears in the wild with his bare hands in the memorable ending scene.

The Iterating Grace protagonist, Koons Crooks, whose nickname which also happens to be "Pepper" seems to refer to a similar kind of alienation and loneliness, from the Beatles album, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band whose songs primarily deal with themes of lost love, ageing and the influence of the news media.

Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, the Founders of the first startup that started the unicorn trend, YouTube, whose acquisition by Google in 2006 paved the way for the success of Android via YouTube's fast-streaming video technology, and who are also satirised in the show, Silicon Valley

The story itself is told in the perspective of the anonymous narrator- whose character is parallel to the narrator Marlow in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness with Koons Crooks, representative of a kind of contemporary Kurtz. Of course, the mystery is the most delicious aspect of these "anonymous" authors. However, in the past few years, Hollywood has been adopting tales about Silicon Valley and making satirical commentaries on the leading figures, with some Founders poking fun at their own selves. The question remains, who could the authors be? :)

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