Evan Spiegel (23) is most notable for inventing/co-founding Snapchat, an app that allows people to send nude pictures of themselves without them remaining on the interwebs for eternity. Mark Zuckerberg (2-something) is the founder – depending on who you talk to – of Facebook, the second most-used website in the world.
Casey Moriarty, a writer, wrote a short poem about the two and their ongoing battle for supremacy in Spiegel and Zee.
The characters, Spiegel and Zee are a direct parallel to Evan Spiegel and Mark Zuckerberg; with Spiegel representing Spiegel and Zee representing Zuckerberg.
In the poem, Spiegel is depicted as an eagle which is an apt assessment as everyone knows the start-up and entrepreneurial business is a dangerous route since most don’t even turn a profit in two years. As a result, an eagle (despite a lack of specificity as to which one), it can be assumed that it’s endangered as all start-ups are. However, the fact that start-ups can grow to topple the titans in the industry is further exemplified as the eagle would easily slay a beagle (which is used to symbolize Zuckerberg).
Zuckerberg is represented by a beagle. Now a beagle is fitting since they are generally friendly by nature (hence the “friending” on Facebook) and they need early socialization or they may grow up to be the Jesse Eisenberg of Zuckerbergs.
In addition, dogs, in general, have always portrayed loyalty. Many people use Facebook solely out of habit, which is definitely a form of loyalty, but this adds to the conflict in the poem as Zee (said beagle) attempts to barter with Spiegel. Zee tries to leverage his amenities which of course, Zuckerberg can do with his fortune and claim to fame.
But why would Zuckerberg — one of the youngest billionaires ever — be at the mercy of an endangered, nonprofit founder Evan Spiegel? Snapchat and the descent of Facebook.
The poem begins with Spiegel and his actions being “not quite legal” which is clearly a reference to Snapchat given that it was created as a way to send immediate and temporary pornography — not that pornography is inherently illegal, but the use of it would be. The app’s original name was “Picaboo” and was backed by several officials who wanted to sext in private (who have refused to comment on that).
Of course, Spiegel kidnaps Zee in the first stanza. This evidences how Spiegel had backed Zuckerberg into a corner. Ever since Facebook established shares and investors, it’s primary function has been to turn a profit. Although ads make up for much of this, Facebook is a bleeding company that is looking for innovation to save itself — hence the purchase of Instagram and Oculus Rift.
No doubt, Snapchat (as Forbes can attest) was one of their ways out. Zuckerberg allegedly offered $3 billion to founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy and their six-man operation. Bear in mind, they’re living out of their parents’ basement at this point because Snapchat is nonprofit.
This is what Moriarty shrewdly conveys when Zee tells Spiegel that he’s bound for eagle-prison. In this case, the “prison” is Evan Spiegel’s parents’ basement — since that’s where he’s been living. Zuckerberg meanwhile is loaded and he further tells Spiegel that his master can provide sustenance for him. In this case, the sustenance is Zuckerberg’s money.
Of course, in the poem, Spiegel is captured and Zee escapes due to his collar holding new technology. No doubt this is meant to parallel Zuckerberg’s $3 billion offer as he wanted to overtake Snapchat – a piece of innovation necessary for keeping Facebook afloat.
So when Moriarty states, “And so the day was won / technology beat Spiegel’s brawn!” We can see that Evan Spiegel is still living out of his parents’ basement (which isn’t terrible since they’re multimillionaires), but Spiegel doesn’t have the technology.
No doubt, Zee’s downfall (after Spiegel fell) is a parallel to Facebook’s downfall. What happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook… forever and Snapchat is changing the game by providing brief, impermanent information.
Needless to say, Snapchat represents the antithesis of the common social medias and Zee wants it as privacy becomes more and more of an issue. Zee was even found due to a lack of privacy (his collar was tracked).
However, Evan Spiegel specifically read Lao Tzu’s Art of War in preparation for his opponent, Zuckerberg. In chapter 6, it states that you should attack when your opponent is weakened. In the poem, the beagle (Zee) is indeed weakened as he’s in no position to attack or defend. Spiegel does not accept any offer Zee makes, “please, let’s make a deal!” which Spiegel scoffs and laughs at. He has his opponent right where he wants him.
Now, Spiegel does end up in Eagle Jail which is clearly — as Zee alluded — Evan Spiegel’s parents’ basement, but he receives freedom from Jon.
It’s common knowledge that John Mark (in the biblical sense) is the Mark of the Gospel, i.e. Mark the Evangelist, which connects Mark Zuckerberg to the Jo[h]n in the poem. This may seem like a stretch at first, but Mark became an apostle after his faith was reignited in Peter who was arrested when the son of Zebedee was killed. Zebedee could easily be Zee in Moriarty’s poem. While Zee was not killed, he didn’t get what he wanted, Snapchat, and Facebook is indeed dying. This way, we see how Zee is more akin to Facebook. It is owned by a higher power, i.e. Zuckerberg.
So Zee (Zebedee) was not killed, but is on the downswing. And when Facebook dies, Mark’s ambition will be reignited. So, while the end appears bittersweet, as Moriarty attests, Zee’s father, Mr. Kriegel, is clearly a way of showing that Zee Kriegel (Zuckerberg) will take over Evan Spiegel’s creation (Spiegel, hence Kriegel) and money will triumph.
Zuckerberg will return to reap the profits of Snapchat. Inevitably, Spiegel will feast and Zuckerberg will have his escape.
It’s capitalism at the heart and Casey Moriarty brilliantly illustrates this with animal folklore.
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