This week Ben Harvey is seriously unimpressed with Steve Jobs and Apple. So deeply unimpressed was he, that he emailed his column with the subject “What a bunch of frigtards”. I had to look up that word definition.
Here we go — over to Ben:
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Sometimes you just can’t swear enough. When you stub your toe or step on a plug. When your car won’t start, or when your alarm-clock falls asleep. Sometimes you simply cannot lay your hands on a powerful enough swearword to throw back at life. They said, when the hydrogen bomb first burst on the scene, that this fierce, terrible, awesome thing would – over a few years – lose its nobility and power, slipping from being a god-grade weapon with which to end the world to instead become an every-day tool for quarrying and landscaping and harvesting lots of crops at once.
This is obviously patent toss – because, let’s face it, everything they said in the 1950s was patent toss (Where are the cities on the moon? Where is my flying carÃ¢â‚¬Â¦?) – but it does neatly encapsulate our modern swearing problem. When it came to expressing our anger or hatred we did once have an equivalent the hydrogen bomb. It was a four-letter long word that began with C and ended with T (and rhymes with ‘c*ntÃ¢â‚¬Â) / and Scunthorpe would look pretty silly without it. And, like they fecklessly predicted for the H-bomb, it’s gone from a device with enough explosive force to end any argument into being an every-day tool to describing your taxi-driver, or your boss, or even the poor old dear in the queue who can’t find her nectar-card and who holds you up for those twenty seconds that, you know, you were going to do something really important with.
Perhaps, actually, this happened with the profanities your parents used. Perhaps the word ‘fudgeÃ¢â‚¬Â used to make vicars faint when they heard it. Perhaps ‘sugarÃ¢â‚¬Â used to give gracious ladies instant, spurting nosebleeds if a navvie or a rogue used it within earshot, and – as we are finding for ourselves – it’s simple over-use that has robbed the word of satisfying impact.
Why have I wasted these valuable seconds of your life with three paragraphs about swearing? With the written equivalent of apologising to the cashier whilst I fumble for my nectar-card? It’s because I was reading a letter from Steve Jobs to the long-suffering Apple-buying public and, in my resulting fit of puce-faced apoplexy, I was stumped to find a word suitably vile enough to label him with.
I hear that Russian is the most satisfying language to swear in, with Polish a close second, which I imagine meant that Steve Wozniak at least never ran out of things to call the bald little Napoleon that runs Apple. And why was I groping around for verbal rocks to hurl at Jobs, in the first place? Because the man in control of Apple has revealed himself to be a complete bastard.
Apple, alas, has gone from an estranged monastery of genteel geniuses, mostly irrelevant to the real world, to being (and you may have noticed) an unignorable player in the mobile-telephone arena. They’ve done this basically because they’ve coined so much money from taking over the entire walkman industry – and making serious inroads into dominating online music sales – that they literally didn’t know what to do with it all and so decided to take a punt at mobiles. Well, why not? What else can you do with all that cash? You try finding a bank willing to let you put half a trillion dollars in a 6% savings accountÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
As with any other sphere of human existence, parallels can be drawn with football. This is all strikingly similar to all those poor Premier League clubs that found themselves bought-out by some instant oil-tycoon from a tin-pot shit-hole of a country (aka, Russia). Abramovich buying Chelski, for example, is quite a fitting analogy; devious upstart with no morals finds he has more money than God and so buys his way into an expensive business. It’s not the fact that Apple are elbowing their way into the industry that makes me furious, because I am a rabidly proud capitalist; it’s the arrogance with which they’re doing it.
It’s this if-you-don’t-agree-with-us-then-you’re-a-cretin mindset that riles me, and also makes me wary about the whole Jobian business-model for their future tactics with mobile services. For example, the letter published above was a reply to the thousands of Americans who’d bought iPhones at or around the RRP of $600 and who were – quite reasonably – a bit annoyed when the price was slashed to $400 only a couple of months after they’d been released. All of this is, I must admit, superficially academic to us Brits who have to wait for our shiny new toys (shush, all of you smug importers!) but it does prove useful as an analytical tool with which to dissect the Apple mindset.
Firstly, the apology isn’t an apology. It’s an argument. Jobs writes the problems at the top and then disagrees with it. He takes the vocal feelings of his most loyal, rich & tech-savvy devotees and brushes them under the carpet with stubborn rebuttals and preposterous crap about why they should be grateful that more people will be introduced to the joys of the iPhone as Christmas presents.
Secondly, this proclamation is certifiable, admissible, cast-iron and irrevocable proof that the man is a twunt. If, say, your uncle was boring you over dinner by pontificating at you and said things like ‘being in technology for 30+ years I can attest to the fact that the technology road is bumpyÃ¢â‚¬Â and ‘this is life in the technology laneÃ¢â‚¬Â then you’d snap your placemat against the table to get a sharp edge and then punch it through his trachea. ‘Ã¢â‚¬Â¦being in technology for 30+ yearsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â is the modern version of ‘Ã¢â‚¬Â¦when I were a ladÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â and coming out with bilge like ‘this is life in the technology laneÃ¢â‚¬Â is the verbal equivalent of wearing flat-caps and breeding whippets. The man’s an arse.
Thirdly, you should always watch out for people who start their paragraphs with ‘FirstlyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.SecondlyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ThirdlyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â. People like that usually have an agenda.
So, to recap, he’s an arrogant little tit, albeit one who’s a complete genius. I love his products, and I do respect his vision, but I despise the man himself, and the fact that he’s going to be invading the UK market soon is unsettling and increases the odds of something horrid happening in what was once a relatively pleasant neighbourhood. Like having Gary Glitter move into the house next door, in fact. But, looking on the bright side, at least he’s going to make things interestingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
PS: last week I introduced some of you to the yearly tradition of Silly Season, which is when national newspaper editors go on their summer holidays, and their deputies get to muck about with the news whilst they’re away. Behold! The perfect exampleÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.