The Macalope Weekly: A bag of stupid fries

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The Macalope knows some people don’t like the silly pundit takedowns and prefer more analytical pieces, but you’ll have to forgive him as he continues to dig out of the aftermath of the iPhone 4S launch and the death of Steve Jobs. The French might call it “un déluge de stupides” or “un grand bifteck de stupides avec les pomme frites qui sont aussi stupide.”

This week’s collection runs the gamut from offensive to backward to offensive again, and on to overly ominous. The technology world has a boil named “punditry” and the Macalope’s here to lance it.

Character, or the lack thereof

The Macalope’s not sure what Joe Wilcox’s particular problem is—either he’s trolling for hits, emotionally and mentally maladroit, just plain stupid, or some combination of the three.

What the Macalope does know is that if we assume Wilcox means what he writes, his instincts are almost always wrong. In fact, he’s been proven wrong so many times that it’s almost record-setting. He also has a particularly weird fetish for manly man posturing.

Now Joe presumes to lecture Apple on what is and isn’t respectful of Steve Jobs’s passing.

Again, just like last Saturday, no link for Joe—this garbage doesn’t deserve it. But the Macalope will pull some quotes, because this has to be read to be believed.

Yesterday, after having raised anticipation with event invite, video and other teasers, Google and Samsung delayed the presumed launch of Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) and Nexus Prime (or whatever the smartphone is called). … Reason for cancelling the October 11 event: “We believe this is not the right time to announce a new product as the world expresses tribute to Steve Jobs’s passing”. So what? Google and Samsung show respect for Jobs, but Apple doesn’t?

Joe, since you apparently have no idea how to pay respect to someone, let the Macalope give you a clue: The way you pay your respect is to ask yourself what that person would have wanted and do that. Would Steve have wanted the iPhone 4S to be delayed? Not a chance.

Apple, Google, and Samsung are all doing what Steve would have wanted and what’s right for their business. Of course Jobs wouldn’t have wanted the launch of the iPhone 4S delayed. Google and Samsung, meanwhile, don’t want to be in the position of having their critical comparisons of the Nexus Prime to the iPhone seem disrespectful. That you can’t see this is astounding. And, thus, completely in line with your history.

News of Jobs death came late-day on October 5. My colleagues and I couldn’t really discuss it until the following day. When everyone was online in group chat I chimed: “Now comes the test of the new management’s character. I would delay iPhone 4S launch a week out of respect.”

Did everyone else on the chat laugh because they assumed you were joking, or is this a chapter of Clueless Trolls Anonymous?

Google has not announced a ship date for the Nexus Prime. What they delayed was the announcement—the kind of event Apple had for the iPhone 4S the day before Jobs died. So, in addition to being offensive, this piece also doesn’t even make sense, which is Joe’s signature “double threat.”

Google and Samsung show respect for Jobs’ passing in ways the Apple hasn’t—and should have. The new management has failed the test of character I put before my colleagues two days ago.

Joe Wilcox is the last person who should be lecturing people on character. The man who challenged an ailing Steve Jobs to return to work full time two years ago would best be served by keeping his pathetic wronghole shut about anything related to Jobs’s death.

Luddites against Jobs

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

Smith’s advice? Give up on passion! Settle, already!

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).

Smith will never get invited to give the commencement address at a school of Stanford’s caliber, but don’t miss his stirring speech to the graduating sixth grade class of Willy Loman Primary School: Stick with a job you hate, and stay in that dull and loveless relationship! 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.


Gosh, the Macalope’s looking back over Jobs’s 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 leave their spouses, 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? The Macalope hopes not because The Man is notoriously bad at looking out for your best interests.

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’s 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 rather different from 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 as if Smith and his Luddite cohorts like Robert Samuelson have never heard of texting, FaceTime, or 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.

Saturday Special: What is it Lassie?! Trouble?!

As we bid farewell to Steve and commit his legacy to posterity, let us also not forget to take the time to PANIC ABOUT APPLE’S FUTURE AAAAAAGH!

After iPhone’s debut, Cook must reposition Apple brand (tip o’ the antlers to Len Cortigiano).

You have to love the hubris of anyone presuming to lecture Tim Cook on what he must do. “If Apple is to survive, Tim Cook must assume the aspect of a large jungle cat and dance! DANCE, I SAY!”

Apple Inc debuts its fifth generation iPhone this week minus its visionary leader for the first time. But CEO Tim Cook may already be thinking ahead to his greatest challenge: repositioning the company’s fabled marketing apparatus to safeguard the brand.

Because, you know, the brand is in such danger.

With Google Inc Android phones gaining momentum…

Which would be really scary if Apple hadn’t already locked up a far better metric of success than market share: profit.

How many times does the Macalope keep having to make the same point? This is ridiculous.

…Cook is likely sticking to established battle plans at this critical juncture. But longer term, he may be better off moving the company out from under Jobs’ gargantuan shadow.

The Apple co-founder bequeathed a mystique and cachet to the brand that will be near-impossible to replace, cultivating a community of fans hooked on ease of use and rich content.

It’s true! We’re such needy, ease-of-use and rich content junkies. What a drag for Tim Cook! It’d be so much easier to inherit a company with customers used to products that suck.

“There’s no question Apple is going to go through a time of transformation. There’s a lot of risk around the brand,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who has advised clients like Eli Lilly & Co.

Well said, perfesser. Apple is clearly teetering on the brink of a brandtastrophy.

“A lot of pressure will fall on Tim Cook to step up.”

Yeah, Timmy! You can’t keep sleeping until 10 a.m. and doing nothing but play video games and watch Clone Wars for the rest of your life! What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s your five-year plan?

“The hard part is, he’s not Steve Jobs, nor can he try to be.”

Oh, my God! He’s not?! Has anyone told him this?! What… what if we put him in a black shirt and jeans and glasses and have him say “Boom!” a lot?!

“They’ve got to find a new voice in the market. Steve Jobs was so much the face of Apple,” Calkins said. “Protect the core elements of the brand, but at the same time, move forward.”

“They need to stay the same, but change. They need to turn left but also keep going straight. It’s complicated. … Let’s face it: I really have no idea what they need to do.”

The horny one understands these are turbulent times. But must turbulent times lead to such babble?

[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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