Bad Marx: AirPods are the bane of all existence

That thing you enjoy is terrible.


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There are a lot of problems in this world but The Macalope is sure that what you’re really wondering is when in these troubled times is someone finally going to write 3,000 words to how horrible AirPods are?

WELL. Never fear, because Vice’s Caroline Haskins has got you covered.

“AirPods Are a Tragedy.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Jason, Tibor and Nick.)

The horny one recognizes that this piece is meant as a sort of meta-commentary about the ills of society in general, of which AirPods are but one example. So, in that regard, it’s not “about” AirPods. But it’s also completely about AirPods because it goes on and on about AirPods-brand earphones made by Apple, Inc. and how they’re ruining everything.

They're plastic, made of some combination of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. They’re tungsten, tin, tantalum, lithium, and cobalt.

They’re adamantium, vibranium and unobtanium. Frizzilium, mozzilium and cosmium. They buy them in shops. They buy them online. They buy them with iPads, iPhones and big balls of twine!

The particles that make up these elements were created 13.8 billion years ago, during the Big Bang.

Sometime shortly after the show Supernatural first premiered.

Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, which does electronics teardowns and sells repair tools and parts, told Motherboard that AirPods are “evil.”

They are quite unrepairable which, from Obi-Wan Wiens' certain point of view, does mean evil, yes. The Macalope doesn’t completely subscribe to that point of view, but he gets it. You can get the batteries in them replaced, but at $50 per Pod (if they’re still under warranty), it’s not cheap. You can return your used AirPods to Apple for recycling, but it’s not clear exactly what happens to them after that.

By virtue of their size alone, AirPods are a risky purchase.

So are diamond rings, contact lenses, Infinity Stones and faeries you keep in your pocket to restore hearts when you take damage. But people rarely write 3,000-word essays on how you should never buy those. In fact, if you don’t buy the faeries, good luck getting past the boss on level 27.

You can’t do it, Tristan. You just can’t.

But let’s say you don’t lose your AirPods…

Let’s say you’re a wizard.

…and instead, you throw them in the trash when they stop holding their charge. The AirPods don’t just go away. They become someone else’s problem.

Congratulations. You have discovered consumerism. Welcome to… well, like one hundred years ago.

The Earth is almost literally awash in plastic bottles but the real problem is AirPods.

The Macalope bought a pair of AirPods when they first shipped in 2016. They don’t hold much of a charge anymore, but he hasn’t just lobbed them into the ocean or sent them to a developing nation where they may or may not strip out what little reusable matter is in them for reuse. They still hold easily enough charge to allow his second-generation AirPods time enough to recharge when they run down. Eventually, of course, they will get ditched and go to the same place all those plastic containers The Macalope’s weekly alfalfa comes in which, even though he dutifully puts them in the recycling bin, could really be anywhere as far as he knows.

It is certainly true, however, that no one ever lost or damaged beyond repair and had to throw out a pair of wired or Bluetooth headphones from any other company. Throwing things out only started with AirPods. (This is the most anecdotal of evidences, but The Macalope’s spouse used to regularly replace wired headphones at least as often as every other month after catching them on car doors, dropping them in parking lots or just wearing the cable down. Now, however, partly because they cost so much but also partly because she loves them, she’s managed to keep one pair of AirPods going for eight months and counting.)

Another thing that only started with Apple products is poor labor conditions.

Consumers aren’t supposed to know or think about these stories. Apple doesn’t want us to know the details of the supply chain.

Certainly not.

“Apple Details Alarming Labor Issues In Latest Supply Chain Report.”

Well, other than reporting on it. Apple, of course, does demonstrably more than its competitors to improve working conditions as its suppliers' factories. Because no one writes long diatribes about whether Samsung is ethically sourcing those Galaxy Folds it just recalled.

Marx argued…

Oh, Marx! We’re quoting Marx now. Because of AirPods. Nnnkay. It wasn’t cigarettes or the combustion engine or the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game that was the last straw of capitalism. It was AirPods.

Well… it had to be something.

Completely unrelated question to this topic but is there a Godwin’s Law for Marx instead of Hitler?

Yes, capitalism is the fire in which we all burn. But, while AirPods are one part of the fire, The Macalope’s not sure they’re a measurable swath of the inferno.

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