Updated: Hypocrisy, manipulation and even lies surround the passing away of Mr. Steve Jobs
Posted on October 6th, 2011 in All and Everything
By now everyone knows Mr. Jobs passed away.
Of course, just like with his stepping down from the position of Apple CEO, everybody and their grandmas had to “report” it anywhere – blogs, Facebook profiles, Twitter, anything – because they are all attention whores. But you kinda get used to that. What is annoying is that they all try to say good things about him, no matter what.
When I logged out of Yahoo! Mail, five out of seven news titles were about Mr. Steve Jobs’ death. “Memorable moments from Steve Jobs’ life – VIDEO GALLERY.” “STEVE JOBS DIED, the cofounder of Apple | VIDEO.” “The story of the life of Steve Jobs.” “Steve Jobs died! Ten things less known about the Apple genius.” (these last two belong to the same newspaper’s website) “Steve Jobs died, the parent of Apple.” “VIDEO: An interview from 2003 with Steve Jobs. «My business model are the guys from Beatles».”
You know what Yahoo! said? Direct quote: “Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and, with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, marketed what was considered the world’s first personal computer, the Apple II.”
That’s simply not true. It was the THIRD, 3rd, number three personal computer. Oh, it might have been the most popular of the first personal computers ever sold. Mr. Steve Jobs said it himself that they were trying to get a computer suited to their needs and tastes. If it had been available for sale, they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. Valid point. There was a hole in the market that they saw and filled, but starting with their own needs. No problem with that.
But saying that it was “what was considered” the first personal computer is not true. Before that, the Commodore PET from 1977 was a computer sold in large numbers and after it, the Radio Shack TRS-80. The Apple II followed those two. But Radio Shack isn’t that popular (and I don’t think they make computers anymore), Commodore doesn’t exist as a company anymore, so their attention-whoring tactics simply demanded that they write about something more popular. It doesn’t matter that Commodore was a hugely popular company and their products still are popular to a degree (hint: look for the name Amiga).
Furthermore, Apple’s first product was the Apple I computer. These were the things that the two Apple founders were trying to get and couldn’t, at the time. So they made them and then they started to sell them. But these couldn’t really be considered personal computers, they were more like “homebrew” computers because they were made by Mr. Wozniak and then sold (he was reportedly the only person who could provide customer support, too). Users had to make a case, power supply and power switch and also get a keyboard and a display for them. And of course there were other such homebrews available, but this one was innovative because it was so simple to get started with.
Of course, they approached Mr. Steve Wozniak for a statement regarding the matter. He told them, and I quote again, “I’m shocked and disturbed.” Call me paranoid, but I think he meant he needs some time alone with himself, or at least away from public attention, like the press is. Of course, he couldn’t simply tell them that. Nearly nothing in America is straightforward anymore, everything is a manipulation or somehow a distortion of reality. People also expect others to behave that way. So of course he had to say it in such a way.
At my workplace, not everyone knew about Mr. Jobs passing away. Because they don’t care much about news websites and haven’t visited anything other than their e-mails. So other guys told them and they had a little chat about it.
First, they hit one nail directly on the head by saying “oh man, he died just at the right time” – of course, they were trying to say that this will definitely boost the sales of the iPhone 4S, hinting at people who were really expecting the iPhone 5 and suggesting that his passing away will boost the sales of the new shiny, overpriced toy from Apple.
Then they took the jokes one step further and said that Apple has actually been keeping him in alcohol or formalin since whenever he actually died, and only released the news today, along with jokes like the mortician saying “he looks kinda green, are you sure he died today?!” Then they added “imagine a commemorative version of the iPhone, with his picture on it? I think it would sell like the hottest stuff.” Remember, these are people doing small talk, far away from the United States.
Thankfully, Apple has maintained a very decent stance after the news of his passing. Of course, they released a statement saying how they lost a visionary, a leader, a genius and so on. Yeah, they had to do that. Because he has been associated with the company in the recent years and they mostly owe their growth to him, in the public’s opinion. Saying anything, even remotely hinting at some kind of not being fully sorry, hurt or even desperate that Mr. Jobs is no longer between us, would be interpreted as distancing the company from its previous leader. And that would hurt stocks (the event triggered a slight drop in stocks anyway) because, again, nearly nothing in America escapes interpretation, misinterpretation, but most of all, sheer exaggeration. They posted a decent, neutral-looking picture of the former CEO on their webpage and the years marking his birth and death. But now we know what it would be like if anybody tried to sell the man’s image for an extra post-mortem buck. It doesn’t have to be Apple, it can be a company selling iPhone 4 protective casings or anyone like that. Oh, buy the commemorative cases with your hero/favorite entrepreneur/genius Steve Jobs’ picture on them!
So, everyone tries to get attention and maybe even score some money out of the passing on of a famous person. It was like that with Mr. Michael Jackson as well, if you remember. What I think, and also hope, is that some people are actually genuinely sorry that he’s not here anymore.
That would be one sign of humanity. But believe it or not, the best wishes for him are not being sorry that he died. Of course, you absolutely have to feel for a lady who has become widowed and the children who have lost their father (and of course, for his other family members who have lost him), just like with the passing of Mr. Steve Irwin. But if you felt sorry for Mr. Jobs the individual person, don’t.
Because he’s in Heaven? Yes, you could say that. I don’t think he is, at least not yet, but you’d be on to something there. He is hopefully reincarnating as another person now, somewhere else on our planet. Hopefully as a future monk or as a future hermit, or as a future spiritual cultivator, anyway. We’re not here to become rich or live a good life, which is why these “devices that make our lives easier” and that I call useless and overpriced pieces of plastic, glass and stainless steel, should matter much less or maybe not at all. They still have their mission – providing the temptation, the wrong choice, in this world of illusion, where we can’t see the truth clearly. We’re here because we weren’t good anymore. This world is where we ended up, and we’re only here to go back. Like Jesus did, but he also came with a mission to save others from this world and take them along, “up there.”
So Mr. Jobs could be doing very well, from a spiritual point of view, right now. Which is why we could actually be quite happy for him. But people are attached to the human form, the shape they could see and touch and listen to.
So, I will sum up by saying that I genuinely hope Mr. Steve Jobs manages to do what he’s supposed to do, and then get back “up there,” where he belongs in the first place.
Update: This is what the reaction of a person who genuinely feels sorry that the guy is gone, looks like:
It just kinda takes things as they were. I found the picture in another place on the web, but I wanted to link to the original source.
2nd update: I really, really enjoyed The Onion’s take on the matter:
3rd update: Ah, it seems all this is starting to irritate other people as well.
Stimpson says that if Mr. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, a Finnish gentleman from Nokia, dies (of course, we sincerely hope not!), nobody’s going to know or give a darn. Same for the president of HTC, a gentleman who is apparently named Peter H. T. Chou. I could probably Google a name from Blackberry easily. Why would people not care about these other persons? Because they’re not pop culture icons, which is who the masses really care about. And they care about popular people because they want to become popular themselves, which means such a person is watching celebrities to mimic their lifestyles and so that maybe they will find a trick to one day become famous as well. We both think that is simply sad.
That’s the whole point of this article – popularity shouldn’t control the level of sorrow one feels for other people. Popularity shouldn’t matter more than it’s normal. Like, take Mr. Barrack Obama – of course he’s famous, he’s the President of the United States of America. But he doesn’t look like he’s trying to become more and more famous, at least not to me. We didn’t hate Mr. Jobs, which is why I called him Mister all the time. We don’t hate Apple, because that would be just stupid.
But we can’t possibly agree that we should be so sorry about the loss of Mr. Jobs when, just like the 9gag person said, there are so many scientists who made lives easier and heroes, who died and nobody cared about. And we could have. We can pay attention to everybody else on the planet, but we have to start with ourselves and the ones around us. Be aware of our surroundings and not sleepwalk through life, know what we are doing in every moment of our existences. That way, one can become a better person. This, I believe, is what Mr. Jobs meant when he said, in his legendary 2005 Stanford commencement address, that we should live every day like it would be the last. And yes, that speech does deserve to be called legendary, in my opinion, just like Mr. Chris Sacca’s May 2011 graduation speech at Carlson, Minnesota. But again, Mr. Sacca is not as famous as Mr. Jobs, even though he does amazing things. One could argue that Mr. Jobs was good at marketing what he made. Well, maybe, but should that really matter? Are people actually buying only what’s advertised more?
Take another example, even easier to picture this time. Take Mr. Steve Wozniak. Suppose he passed on – and again, God help us, we don’t want any harm to happen to him. Would people be that touched by the event? I get the feeling some people are more fond of him than they were fond of Mr. Jobs, but these people would certainly be a minority. And the hypocrites would be really easy to spot, when posting status updates about how they’d be sorry about a man who they weren’t exactly watching.
Last example. I tried to understand why some people are genuinely sorry about the loss of Mr. Jobs. I actually lost a friend because I wrote this article, a friend who really feels sorry about the man. So I thought maybe Mr. Jobs was a local hero, in North America. Both of us writing on this website enjoyed playing id Software games like Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, etc. So, I tried to think, maybe it would be the same to us if Mr. John Carmack, the man who did the programming behind those great videogames, passed away. To which Stimpson said nope, he wouldn’t be that affected. I looked inside and found that I wouldn’t, either. We both still think the man did such uber-cool things with those games.
So it’s a question of proximity. It has to be. I’m curious if anyone in Japan is so genuinely sorry about Mr. Jobs. Or from the Hawaii islands, which are U.S. territory. Or even residents from the American state of Alaska. People were probably much closer to his physical presence around there and may have felt he is a hero because he made their lives easier and smoother. Sure, if you look on the net, everybody says RIP Steve Jobs, or other words like that, but the point I was trying to make is that the vast majority of those people simply try to grab others’ attention and this is just another opportunity. They don’t really feel remorse and this piece was about them and their nasty habit, but it’s clear that there are some people who do feel truly sorry.