Satire’s a lot like haiku, or Marxism: there’s the loose version and there’s the strict version. In recent decades, American writers, being American writers, have preferred the former. You pick a subject, usually institutional (politics, the university, the news media), and you attack it with as many comic exaggerations and caustic jokes as possible. This technique has yielded some good novels,... but it’s formally a fair piece from the canonical satire of, say, Jonathan Swift. This latter is an art of constraint, rather than of license. Its genius is to invent a single premise – the proposal of “A Modest Proposal,” the catch of Catch-22 – and to follow it without flinching to the most absurd ends. The excitement comes from watching the writer chain himself to the implacable machinery of his own logic.
I would then find books on their shelves which were a mixture of motivational literature, sociology and practical advice (there would be scripts, scenes); the mixed metaphors you mention seemed to be flung out not because they were coherent, but because certain formulaic phrases, regardless of application, had a sort of Pavlovian effect. (“Touch base” came up a lot, often in a way that was wholly... divorced from the original meaning of the term: “I was impressed by the number of bases he thought to touch,” as though a baseball player could go the extra mile by deciding to touch fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh bases, or maybe even an extra ten, rather than settling for the conventional three before unimaginatively heading for home.)
We have a dialectical relationship with our machines: We create systems and they recreate us. We create computers first as complements to ourselves, to do the tasks we're not particularly good at, things involving precision: long calculations, for example, and simple, repetitive tasks. All this is fine when we are using, say, a calculator. But as computers become ubiquitous, we find ourselves... surrounded with these things based on precision. So more and more of the things we need to accomplish are tasks defined by computers more rigidly than we as humans would define them for ourselves. We are forced to become more precise in our actions to satisfy the needs of our own systems, which we built initially as helpers and which eventually gain a kind of power over us.
For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.