Feminists are trying to make Elizabeth Holmes into an anti-hero

It’s pretty hilarious, starting with the article title.

Elizabeth Holmes downfall has been explained deeply — by men.

In May, the journalist John Carreyrou, who made Theranos his white whale for years, published Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, a potboiler about the company; I devoured it. But it didn’t slake my thirst for enlightenment about that epochal evildoer: Holmes herself. Holmes herself.

Holmes is no one’s maidservant or adjunct. She’s not Imelda Marcos or Ivanka Trump or Kellyanne Conway. Holmes is the master puppeteer of Theranos. It’s clear in Bad Blood that it was she—and no one else—who managed to drive the company’s value up to $9 billion without a working product; and she alone who was able to win unholy investments of trust, as well as a whopping $900 million from superstar investors, including education secretary Betsy DeVos and her family ($100 million) and good old Rupert Murdoch ($125 million). Holmes, in the book and now the indictments, comes off like a cheat, a pyramid schemer, an evil scientist, for heaven’s sake.

She’s also a woman. And we’re not used to self-made young female oligarchs lying outrageously, fleecing the hell out of other billionaires and conducting thunderous symphonies of global deception. There’s no American template for a powerful woman gone so gravely wrong. Holmes wasn’t insane. She wasn’t dissembling all those years to care for a sick child, or pursue another altruistic, if desperate, end. It wasn’t men, either. Though some have tried, she can’t—as the facts are laid out in Carreyrou’s book—be explained away as a victim of her deputy, sometime boyfriend and codefendant Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. She wasn’t caving in to patriarchy.

I suppose the actual irony is that every other pyramid scheme or implosion of large companies like Enron are mainly blamed on the CEOs and people in charge: men. But let’s not get those facts in the way.

Like many who sell blind faith, Holmes’ pitch turned on gravitas, pathos, and invocations of pain and suffering. She trafficked, quite literally, in blood; she promised Theranos would save lives in hospitals, in homes, and on the battlefield. Bernie Madoff would never have sounded so earnest. P. T. Barnum would never have played his con as morally urgent. But that’s why Holmes was—for a time—the billionaire they never were.

Eventually Holmes, like so many of us, got what she feared most: a whole universe of people who don’t believe in her. Holmes’s extraordinary gift was for tragedy. With Theranos, she pulled it off.

Ah, yes, the heroine of a great tragedy. You can’t make this stuff up.

I guess that’s what you get when you have no objective moral standard though. Famous women who are fraudsters — lobbying for investment money which takes away from the pool of funding for legitimate medical companies trying to save lives — are your heroes.

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6 Responses to Feminists are trying to make Elizabeth Holmes into an anti-hero

  1. “Eventually Holmes, like so many of us, got what she feared most: a whole universe of people who don’t believe in her. ”

    The writer is identifying with a sociopath that defrauded people of millions. “The Writer” always projects.

  2. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    The second thing that separates goddesses from mortals, after their immortality, is that goddesses are to be held blameless. I remember a scene from I Claudius, his Aunt Livia is begging that he make her a goddess after her death. All knew that she had poisoned her husband, the Emperor Augustus.

  3. feeriker says:

    TL;DR Hamsterlation: any man who does what Elizabeth did is just a dishonest criminal scumbag. However, Lizzie is a heroine because it’s important for society to realize that, although female dishonest criminal scumbags are rarer/fewer in number than their male counterparts, women can be every bit as dishonest, criminal, and scumbaggy as any man, and so shouldn’t be counted out.

  4. @ feeriker

    Bravo. You got a laugh out of me.

  5. Don Quixote says:

    This story is a comedy/tragedy on so many levels:
    The high profile investors reads like a who’s who of elites including Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Jim Mattis and Rupert Murdock just to name a few. All Jumped on the politically correct band wagon for profit only to be fleeced like fools. They got exactly what they invested in, hot air.

    She’ll probably write a book soon and perhaps they’ll make a movie too. However it pans out there is more to be milked from this story.

  6. Oscar says:

    @ Don Quixote

    They got exactly what they invested in, hot air.

    Theranos is far worse than hot air. You can generate electricity out of hot air. Theranos is worse than useless.

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