Schadenfreude for fun and profit.

The news from last week that Benjamin Curtis, the actor who portrays “Steven, the Dell Dude” in the monstrously annoying series of youth-market commercials from Dell Computer, had been arrested in Manhattan on a drug bust was greeted with no small amount of cackling from the sorts of people you would expect to be amused by this kind of thing: Mac users, linux-heads, people who hate annoying catchphrases, people who hate clumsy pandering ad campaigns, and the like. (In short, me.)

As celebrity scandals went, this one had a half-life of microscopic proportions: a few giggles were heard from the usual suspects, Dell quickly pulled all mention of “Steven” from their websites, and then Iraq and the weather erased all trace of the story from the newswires.

There was, however, one completely unreported aspect of the story that I think deserves a little wider recognition, so I’m mentioning it here. If Mr. Curtis is, in fact, found guilty on the charge and sent to jail, he need not fear for his employment: He can continue to work for Dell in prison.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is irony at its finest.

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