Book club: Beating up Apple execs over their book picks


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Get your torches and pitchforks, because Apple executives have expressed their opinions on things! Turns out, there are some books they like and other books that they (are you sitting down?) don’t like.


Both Slate and Salon rushed to the fore to decry Apple’s draconian religious edicts something something holy scripture according to Jobs blah blah Eucharist is another religious word yadda yadda Last Supper wocka wocka proscriptions against eating pork and shellfish etc. etc. I should not write these before lunch [clown horn].

Thank God for people who use religious similes to decry Apple, amirite?

“Thank God.” Get it?

Sorry, the Macalope’s tired. Tired of deflating the same argument for infinity times. Every time he sees Sisyphus at the mythical creature conventions, he’s like, “Dude, do not even start complaining to me. You have no idea.”

Here’s Dan Gillmor’s contribution at Slate: ”The Cult of Steve” (tip o’ the antlers to Andrew Warnock).

And Rachel Kramer Bussel’s at Salon: “Apple wants to rewrite history: The demented scheme to make Steve Jobs a saint” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

Oh, sure. Saints drop F-bombs on Grammy Award winners all the time. You should read some of the comments St. Isidore of Seville leaves in Taylor Swift’s YouTube videos. Wow. Get a grip, St. Isidore.

But you all got the memo, right? Well, it’s not so much a “memo” as it is a mind-control ray that emanates from our “iDevices” that forced us all to go read the Apple-approved Steve Jobs biography that fails the hagiography test. (Like anyone reads books anymore anyway. Nice try, Apple.)

After years of tarring Jobs as a “cult” leader, these pundits can’t seem to figure out a new narrative. Hate to break it to you, but Tim Cook is no Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. This tic is disappointing from Gillmor, who’s a smart guy. He hates the excesses that technology companies go to in trying to sell their devices. The Macalope gets that. We should all be mad about what these companies, including Apple, do. We should probably all be subsisting on nothing but kale, too, but even this ruminant likes the occasional donut. Oh, man, those French crullers with vanilla icing? If the Macalope’s van is a-rocking, don’t come a-knocking because he’s eating a dozen of those. (You don’t have a donut-eating van? Some would argue that basic decorum demands you own one.)

Gillmor’s exacting standards can, however, lead to a bit of tunnel vision, as exhibited in 2011 when he said he was leaving the Mac because Apple was going to lock it down like iOS. That, as you may have noticed, didn’t happen. Now he’s on all corporation-free operating systems. Freedom is important to him, that’s admirable. But it’s not that we don’t also have a utopian vision of how things should be. It’s just that our utopian vision is better looking and has working soundcard drivers.

Many of Gillmor’s criticisms of Jobs are spot on. Some are not.

Apple later sicced law enforcement on a tech blog that got ahold of an upcoming iPhone, in a case that went beyond mere bullying.

“Got ahold of” is what you call it when people you identify with purchase stolen property. “Bullying” is what you call “trying to get the phone back.”

What is the actual horrible thing Apple did to launch a thousand missives laden with more religious iconography than a Russian orthodox church? Let’s look at an example:

“My regard couldn’t be any lower” for [Walter Isaacson’s] book, Apple design chief Jony Ive told the New Yorker.

[blink, blink]

Wow, that’s certainly... uh... deviously... uh... What are we supposed to have a problem with again?

So the Apple executives who knew and worked with Jobs don’t like Isaacson’s book and they don’t like Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine and they do like Becoming Steve Jobs. They are apparently supposed to keep this to themselves or they’re guilty of conducting a Holy See.

Part of the problem with all these Steve Jobs biographies is not that they’re negative, it’s that they stink. And it’s not like Apple dropped a copy of Becoming Steve Jobs in everyone’s iBooks account for free. The iBooks edition costs a dollar more than on Amazon, for crying out loud (rest assured that Amazon probably got that dollar out of the pockets of the authors).

The Macalope agrees with Gillmor’s point that the real Steve Jobs might be found somewhere between all these accounts. But then, he didn’t know Steve Jobs, unlike the Apple executives Gillmor has a problem with. Seems like they should get to express their opinions on the matter without everyone going all Martin Luther on them.

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