The Macalope Daily: Luddites against Jobs

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Last month Kyle Smith was kind enough to point out to us the shocking revelation never put forth before that Apple is a religion. This month he’s back to tell us what a lousy role model Steve Jobs is.

Let us turn in our hymnals to the gospel of Steve to the Stanfordites…

Still. Doing. It.

Jobs’ advice to the graduating class of Stanford? Find your passion. Don’t settle.

Smith’s advice? Give up on passion. Settle.

Holding out for the perfect and drifting restlessly from one bed/desk to another only looks smart from the top down, after you’ve made it to the CEO suite (or married Heidi Klum).

The Macalope looks forward to Smith’s inspiring message to the graduating 6th grade class of Willy Loman Primary School: stick with a job you hate and stay in that relationship no matter how abusive it gets. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!

Jobs’ Stanford advice is not just trite, misleading and foolish, it’s also a symptom of a deeper problem with Generation Apple.

What made the world great was people toiling away in factories with no hope! Give up on your dreams, kids! The world needs more ditch diggers, you know!

They venerate great individuals without understanding that not everyone is great. Even those who are rarely get to call all the shots — no man is an iLand.


See, the Macalope’s looking back over Jobs’ Stanford address (disclaimer: he’s not really looking back over Jobs’ Stanford address) and he’s trying to find the part where he told everyone to quit their jobs and start their own company in their garage and, hmm, not finding it. Weird. It’s almost like Smith is deliberately misconstruing the message oh, wait, yes, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

The idea that you are the lone-wolf visionary hero of your own life and everyone around you is irrelevant or clueless is an enduring American myth.

If you’re not responsible for your life, Kyle, then who is? The Man? That’s bleak.

The personification of a rebuke to this dangerously self-delusional notion is … Steve Jobs. Not his life. His death.

Oh, boy. Here we go.

He treated his cancer with dietary adjustments and shunned surgery for nine months, effectively allowing the tumor to attack him at will. In the Stanford speech, he misled his listeners by saying he immediately had a biopsy that showed the cancer was curable with surgery and then “had the surgery.” He made no mention of the nine-month delay, which was reported in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.

So you know it has to be true. Smith, of course, doesn’t know what Jobs really did and he certainly doesn’t know that Jobs would have lived a day longer if he had done things differently. That doesn’t stop him from passing judgement because he’s an overbearing nitwit. Assuming the account is true, the Macalope wouldn’t go so far as to defend Jobs’ actions. But he would point out that giving people the good advice to follow their passion and try to enjoy their work instead of continuing to slave away at a job that doesn’t inspire them is not the same as telling them not to seek medical attention when needed.

Thank goodness there are film critic scolds like Smith around to decide whether or not someone lived their life the right way.

Jobs certainly did change the world. Recent research has shown that iPhones fire up the same cerebral neurons as love.

Boy, that discredited New York Times piece filled with tiny sample sizes and pseudo-scientific “studies” sure is popular with hacks, isn’t it?

And what do people love about the iPhone? They love the feel of their own inner selves.

You could not be a bigger prig if you tried, could you.

To walk through any crowded city or campus these days requires a new kind of alertness, a nimble ability to sidestep the burgeoning ranks of the iZombies

Blah, blah, blah, technology is ruining everything, blah, blah, blah, why don’t these punks read a damned book.

Increasingly, Planet Jobs will be one in which each citizen will be walled off from others and deeply engaged with an ideal of his own special uniqueness.

It’s like Smith and his Luddite cohorts like Robert Samuelson have never heard of texting, FaceTime, social media.

The iZombies’ surroundings grow as hazy and dreamlike as in Tennyson’s 1832 poem “The Lotos-Eaters,”…

It’s fitting for Smith to close by quoting something from 1832. Because that’s about as current as his perspective is.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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