They placed him alongside Nicolas Cage. They lined him up shoulder-to-shoulder with Russell Brand. With a callous twitch of their eyelinered faces, they equated him with Rush Limbaugh.
Yes, those preening, greasy-maned scions of superfice at Esquire magazine have taken it upon themselves to declare Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg one of the 10 worst-dressed celebrities.
Perhaps you, too, had been unaware that the young coder's biographical coda is that he is now placed among the glitterati.
It may have been that movie. It may have been his appearance on "Oprah." Yet now he is being judged as if his goal in life is to waft down a red carpet, arm-in-arm with a Scientologist whose face bares her commitment to cutting, scraping, and plasticated inflating.
In its 2010 Celebrity Style Hall of Shame, Esquire truly dug its burgundy manicured fingernails into Zuckerberg's innocent, startled eyes.
The magazine said it had already suggested Zuckerberg as a Halloween costume. Anyone who has ever had their persona played out by another on this haunting festival (and I know someone who has) can attest that this is a lasting scar.
Esquire then went on to say: "No matter how much money you have or how many people's secrets you hold in your digital palm, you cannot show up to a black-tie event in a t-shirt and jeans and expect to be taken seriously. Seriously."
Some might feel that such 19th century naivete is quite startling. Some might consider that these Esquire piffle-peddlers should know that Zuckerberg, should he so choose, could hack them into oblivion. They might wish to remind Esquire's writers that they are merely Zuckerberg's informational serfs and therefore they should be taking him seriously, rather than the other way around.
For myself, I wish that it would have crossed Esquire's mind that a modern-day artist wishes to be judged by his art, rather than his garb.
The magazine seems both oblivious and charmingly controlling, for it added: "You just gave a hundred million to Newark's schools. Would it kill you to throw a couple thousand to, say, Zegna for a couple of nice suits? Even Bill Gates wears a sport coat, for chrissakes."
Could it be that Bill Gates wears a sport coat because he is of sport coat age? Could it be that he wears a sport coat because his wife likes how he looks in a sport coat?
These thoughts seem not to have crossed Esquire's wafery thought process.
Instead, the magazine offers this advice to others who might be following Zuckerberg's sartorial path: "Even if you are the next M.Z., and your ideas will change the world as we know it, you still have to meet those angel investors face-to-face. And they'll take you more seriously if you're wearing the right kind of jacket."
Oh, Esquire. Please blow your overworked noses into something silky from Hermes.
For if a venture capitalist suddenly comes across a young Web entrepreneur wearing a little tight-fitting Zegna, he will immediately be suspicious. He will immediately smell inauthenticity. He will immediately wonder why someone in a start-up is blowing money on thousand-dollar threads.
In the new world, you are not judged by the shininess of your clothes, your hair, your shoes, or your cheeks. Instead, you are judged by the power you hold over those who either don't know or don't care.
Some might wonder why, if Zuckerberg is supposedly so badly dressed in his gray t-shirts, Apple's Steve Jobs and his quaint old Levi's avoided such criticism. Might it have had a negative effect on Esquire's no doubt picturesque iPad app?