Oct 06 2011

Steve Jobs? Damn.

Self-portrait in truck stop can
Fig. 7. The author snaps iPhone self-portrait in a truck stop can. Italy, Texas, 2008.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that without Steve Jobs I would not have achieved my brilliant success as either a spinster aunt, an Internet feminist, a text messagist, or a public restroom documentarist. I am curiously maudlin over the news of his death. It feels like there’s a weird new void in pop culture now.

Then again I’m typing this on an Apple keyboard made in China, so there’s that.


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  1. Lovepug

    I will admit to being a little verklempt myself.

    No one could rock a black turtleneck like Jobs.

    (Sent from my MacBook Pro – also made in China).

  2. nails

    So there are protests in damn near every state about the dire state of the economy and all the news can talk about is how a dude who got pancreatic cancer kicked the bucket. I could not possibly care less that a CEO is gone. If he didn’t sell phones it would have been some other dudebro that would get fawned over by the media.

  3. Darragh Murphy

    First two comments pretty much sum up the rad-internet-feminist dilemma right there. No need for further commenting. At least not on my part.

  4. MPMR

    Never owned an Apple product in my life. Never seemed worth twice the money for a machine built with child labor just like the rest of ’em.

    Now when Wangari Maathai croaked from cancer two weeks ago, I was bummed out. On top of her other achievements, her ex-husband complained that she was “too strong-minded for a woman” and he “couldn’t control her”. We need more like her and instead we got one less.

  5. Kea

    Damn I hate Windows.

  6. josquin

    I’m going to go against the wisdom of Darragh Murphy and mention that the little mouse which makes it so easy to come to sites such as these and share thoughts might not be possible without the vision of Steve Jobs. Or are you still using keyboard commands to find your way around a computer, nails? It’s not all about the phones.

  7. amrit

    Salutations from aboard my MacBook Air – yeah, China, too. But, I guess I’m supposed to feel better because it says “Designed in California” just before “Made in China” on it’s underbelly.

    Could not run my law practice without it. At least, I hope never to have to try. It’s this or return to yellow legal pads for me.

    Pop culture is, in itself, a weird new void, but I do feel sorta bad today about Jobs.

  8. tinfoil hattie

    Jobs was definitely about more than iGadgets (she said as she typed on her iPad). He made personal computing a reality.

    I feel oddly sad, too. Not sure why.

  9. Darragh Murphy

    Going against my own wisdom as well to posit the theory that the Mac revolution in tech products made all sorts of networking, connecting, and empowerfullingness happen for women, on a literally global scale, that couldn’t even have been dreamed of by our sisters in the 60s and 70s.

    Couldn’t run my blog or my business without apple products. As a woman business owner with no wife (unpaid slave) to do the grunt admin work that all wives do for “their husbands’ businesses” I would have failed before I got started without an iPhone or MacBook.

  10. Judi

    It’s deeply shocking to people that someone who is so damn smart, and rich, and powerful, so entitled and so privileged, is utterly at the mercy of pain and death. It’s terrifying.

  11. quixote

    “He made personal computing a reality.” ?? Puhleeze. And the mouse came out of Xerox PARC. We would have had mice with or without Stevie the Wonder. But we never would have had mice (mouses?) with only one button. (And before you ask, no, I’m not into Windows either. I started in 1978 on a Unix machine. Now there was an unpersonal computer!) Steve was an aesthetics and marketing genius. That’s far from nothing, but it’s not the same as inventing. Let’s keep these things straight.

    Wangari Maathai. Indeed. I miss her too. There’s a post up at Echidne’s by someone who’d met her, which is well worth reading. The good die young. Sixty seven was way too early for her to go, but I guess they wanted her back, where she came from.

  12. Stella

    Twisty, I am disappointed in your lack of cynicism.

    I am also thrilled that you, too, have enjoyed the many wonders of the amazing Italy, Texas TravelStop/Sonic/BBQ restaurant/Aggie gift shop.

    Here is a photo I took there in July: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stellatex/5908202757/

  13. Jill

    I forgot — although I don’t recall exactly who made that rule — that I’m not allowed to even mention dudes on my blog anymore.

    Be that as it may. White dudes are on my last nerve, as anybody who has ever read this fucken blog knows. All I’m sayin is my Mac 512 changed my life back in ’82, before I’d ever heard of Steve Jobs or Chinese exploitation. So, for that matter, did Oprah, a couple years later, when I had an abusive boyfriend situation. Which shows to go you. Sometimes your actual previous life doesn’t precisely mirror your current internet politics.

  14. hayduke

    The passing of Steve Jobs ain’t the tragic happening of the century, and he’s no more a saint than any other famous person who dies (popular though that practice is). But: it sucks when anybody dies, and it’s ok to say that. And it’s also ok to say “thanks for the cool stuff.”

  15. Lidon

    @ hayduke, I think that’s well said. About the whole mouse thing, if we never had one to use, we wouldn’t be feeling a loss over a lack of one to begin with. And this planet is still fucked up no matter what our technology becomes.

    Cute photo! And why have I never heard of Italy, Texas before?

  16. Someone Else

    56 is young; I think that is what makes us melancholy. And that’s a good and human thing.

  17. amrit

    Judi: “It’s deeply shocking to people that someone who is so damn smart, and rich, and powerful, so entitled and so privileged, is utterly at the mercy of pain and death. It’s terrifying.”

    There must be something wrong with me, but I actually find that comforting. You can’t buy, or think, or reason your way out of dying. You may be able to delay it, or make it more comfortable with money and health insurance, but the imminence of death, and death itself, is non-negotiable. I am sorry for his pain.

  18. Noel

    He was as dicky and white as any white dick, but I’m sorry for his pain and passing as well. I’m sorry for (just about) anyone who suffers, dies, or both. Or worse.

    56 is way too young to go.

  19. Triste

    Yeah, I was a little bummed too. People can argue back and forth about whether or not the whole PC thing would have happened with or without Jobs, whether or not his business practices were evil, blah blah, but you know, none of us have clean hands, as we were discussing in the previous post, or as you were all discussing while I lurked. I was a little bummed because whether or not his net influence on the world was, at present, good or bad, in my opinion the thing that he was a part of (the rise of the personal computer) is a thing that will make the world a more awesome place.

    Plus, you know, somebody died of cancer. That shit is sad. It’s sad to be reminded that cancer is a thing that all kinds of people die of all the time, even people who aren’t mega-rich CEOs.

  20. tinfoil hattie

    Great words, Triste. Thanks.

  21. Unree

    The made-in-China units have always been beautiful. Everything with Apple on it looks sleek and close to perfect. Probably other people (not Jobs) are responsible, but DAMN this corporation has its aesthetics act together.

  22. Laurie

    Sad, too, as a longtime Apple devotee. I’ll never forget the day in 1984 when that test Mac came into the office (I copyedited the first Mac mag and book ever published) — and everybody went nuts. It really was a revolution; that commercial was no hyperbole in the geek community.

    Triste, you said it! Apple makes machines for the privileged, but those machines facilitate work and art and music and education and organization beyond measure.

    But yesterday, among the fitting tributes, I learned about Jobs’ brutal work practices and ongoing denial of his first daughter — even swore in court he was sterile — and then went on to father 3 kids with his wife.

    And compared to unhip corporate behemoth Bill Gates/Microsoft, Jobs/Apple gave very little to charitable projects.

    Sad to read about such dickishness, but sad to see him go so soon. And I mourn the insanely great things now never to be.

  23. darkymac

    Howdy from den Haag, just leaving after filling in for a colleague at a festival for a woman composer – Kaiija Saariaho.
    Long time no see, but mucking about with an airport kiosk here, I see your bite at the apple news, and perhaps your tears may be blurring your memory lass; the first compact apple came off the production line in 1983, and the 512 itself not until 1985. My reference just now is a mac fan site. I do know that I scored a piece for a school orchestra on a Lisa in 1985 – with a klunky clone of an IBM application, with great difficulty but also with much excitement at the accessibility the fat little machine’s innards provided.

    This kiosk in den Haag is some intel clone, with an Ubuntu system, but the OS X influence shines through.

    For others the hardware may be apple’s lure but for me OS X is a paradigm of the GUI as well as the personal computing system, and nobody can deny Jobs the full credit he deserves for designing OS X – mouse form, keyboard shape, shaving mirror phones and IBM origins of all desktops aside.

    good luck lass and stay as well as you look to be, if somewhat dungly challenged on the face of it.

  24. Saurs

    Dude fashioned (fairly silly-looking) baubles* out of other people’s actual inventions, and charged hipwhitefolk treble the going rate to hoist around precious, technicolor “branding” mass-produced by virtual slaves, fer fuck’s sake. And like every Enterprising Innovatoring (Job Creatoring?) Famous Dude who definitely didn’t accumulate ill-gotten success after ill-gotten success by being a thoroughly shitty human being to the folk around him (read: women and children, the inevitable punching bags of power-hungry narcissists with tunnel vision), presumably to avoid paying child support he denied the paternity of his first daughter, who was subsequently raised by her mother with the help of gubmint “welfare.” O, and I understand he was a Buddhist?

    * hay, but at least they weren’t beige boxes, amiright? Whatta marketing genius that Jobs guy was!

  25. Cheesy Wotsit

    UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH is all I have to say to certain people on the internet currently using words and phrases such as “one of the world’s greatest visionaries” “genius” “changed the world” etc etc. These people may be confusing personal computing with ALL OF THE THINGS ON THE EARTH.

    Also when I see someone with an iphone 5875 (or whatever number they are at now) I usually lose myself to fantasies of employing the device in the person’s rectum.

  26. allhellsloose

    As I type from my (now considered ancient) iBookG4, also made in China, that I too am conflicted at hearing of his death. Often I equate the personal life with the corporate/political life. If a person displays shitty behaviour but produces items of beauty then sure there is a conflict. Which is sad to say. But I’m sure he couldn’t give a rat’s ass about my view when he was alive.

    Much prefer the person Bill Gates but cannot tolerate windows. I don’t have an iphone though and never will.

  27. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Mostly Mr. Jobs’s products are way outta my price range for personal use. Still, using his technology has kept me fed, sheltered, and mostly content lo these many years, so yes, I feel gratitude for his contributions and sadness at his passing.

    Glad to see you’ve returned to the powder room ouevre. A pal of mine does air fresheners. Both a y’all need to sell prints, in my estimation.

  28. josquin

    ““He made personal computing a reality.” ?? Puhleeze. And the mouse came out of Xerox PARC. We would have had mice with or without Stevie the Wonder.”

    Quixote: I’m afraid you’re not clear on the history here. The mouse was devised in Xerox PARC, yes. It was seen there as a clever toy with no consequence. Steve Jobs visited PARC, saw the “toy” and had, yes, the vision, to know that it could transform the way people use computers. It was Jobs who took that little mouse to the world and made it so much easier for all of us to use these machines. You greatly underestimate true innovation if you can’t understand that inventing new nuts and bolts is but the very first step of a very long and complex road to making a transformative technology available and attractive to you and me.

  29. humanbein

    The only thing truly relevant about Jobs to this blog is his insistence on keeping his apps tightly controlled to keep out as much women exploitation as possible. He didn’t succeed, but it was his stated goal, but any dude stating a goal like that is at least taking a small stand against the pornification of reality that most geeks defend with slavering, rapacious passion.

    The other day I overheard a couple of dudes arguing with a woman about the importance of privacy on the internet. The woman was thinking privacy is not such a big deal, and the dudes were shouting her down with a ferocity that was probably puzzling and certainly frightening to her.

    Privacy and freedom, so prized by computer-savvy dudes, is nothing but a thin veil over these dude’s absolute slavery to internet porn that they would be jailed or institutionalized for consuming if it were known that they need it so terribly. Privacy and freedom of “speech” is more important to these dudes than anything else, because privacy ensures, and freedom of “speech” delivers porn, so they can rape and degrade and feed their sick addictions without censure or loss of dignity.

    I also really hate the grinding noise of hyperbolic bullshit about Jobs. I especially hate the incredibly stupid statements to the effect that if Jobs hadn’t done this, we wouldn’t have that. We would have eventually had either that or something different anyway, no matter what idiots claim. But I’ll say this for him, because he’s dead, and once someone is dead you are free to reduce them to what was best about them instead of what was worst, and that is that he was there at the very very very beginning of personal computing as we all know it today. He helped his best friend put together the very first PC that wasn’t just a box with some lights on the front of it, a PC with a keyboard and that you could – get this crazy idea – hook up to a TV and see what you were doing. Everybody who uses any PC should get that straight. But it would have all happened sooner or later anyway.

  30. laxsoppa

    Laurie: “Triste, you said it! Apple makes machines for the privileged, but those machines facilitate work and art and music and education and organization beyond measure.”

    And that is the problem. As long as those things can only be for the privileged, one can hardly say that Steve Jobs or his company “changed the world”. They have changed parts of the world in the most privileged margins. This may facilitate further change for the better for the entire world, but so far that hasn’t happened. Rather, the gapbetween the haves and the have-nots has increased with the West’s technological development.

    Steve Jobs was and is my role model when it comes to creativity and business, but someone also brought up Bill Gates – he truly won my respect with this story:

    Toward the end, in the question-and-answer session, a member of the audience noted that Saudi Arabia aimed to be one of the Top 10 countries in the world in technology by 2010 and asked if that was realistic. “Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country,” Gates said, “you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/magazine/23Women-t.html?pagewanted=5

  31. ElizaN

    That’s the nicest truck stop can I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know they made them that nice.

  32. lawbitch

    Good luck lass? WTF?

  33. lawbitch

    Three women won the Nobel Peace prize. Anyone hear about that?

  34. Triste

    Technology, unlike wealth, tends to have something of a trickle-down effect – which is not ideal since equality from the start would be the best thing, but it’s also not too shabby. In other words, while personal computing is something that only the privileged have now, it may eventually be available for even those who are less privileged. The spread of knowledge helps even the destitute, I think.

  35. Saurs

    lawbitch, my favorite bit was the “woman composer.”

  36. Jill

    “when I see someone with an iphone 5875 (or whatever number they are at now) I usually lose myself to fantasies of employing the device in the person’s rectum.”

    That’s a pretty gross fantasy, since you’d have to be in the rectum — or at least, pretty close — to employ a device there.

  37. allhellsloose


    Well said!

  38. allhellsloose

    I like

    Mr Jobs.

  39. Notorious Ph.D.

    That’s a pretty gross fantasy, since you’d have to be in the rectum — or at least, pretty close — to employ a device there.

    And the signal reception from in there would probably be pretty bad.

  40. Kea

    Gates should speak for his own country. Hypocrite. So women are being fully utilised in the physical sciences in the West? Gaw, yeah, right.

  41. Immir

    Jobs opposed porn apps. My hero

  42. Ugsome

    He was an original and will be missed by family and friends, but I don’t think he made the world a better or different place. http://elizabitchez.blogspot.com/2011/10/and-all-i-got-was-this-lousy-iphone.html

  43. TwissB

    “@ hayduke, I think that’s well said. About the whole mouse thing, if we never had one to use, we wouldn’t be feeling a loss over a lack of one to begin with.”

    A useful thought applicable to many situations. My personal favorite, (the favorite that is mine and I own it and what it is too):

    Scene: Environmentally-concerned philanthropist types gathered at board-room table to hear wisdom from renowned opportunist-pundit Jeremy Rifkin who somehow strays into rumination on “problematic” aspects of abortion with reference to the world’s loss if Beethoven (or Hitler?)or himself had never been born.
    Maddened by such illogic, I remarked, “But Jeremy, if you had not been born the world would never have missed you.” E-cPTs in unison “Gasp” and talk shifts to safer topics like global warming.

  44. Lexie

    So, yeah-the china thing and also the white male egomaniacal CEO and all that. I hear you. Nothing is sacred and virtuous. Including ma’self.

    But I’ll just say this:

    I am visually impaired, as are many of my friends. My apple 2c that I bought in 1984 (or was bought for me on a grant for gimps, I should say) was the first computer I could use with the help of a $500 program called outspoken. I was able to be on the newspaper staff at school because they moved from setting type on a light table to using a mac and pagemaker, and thus, my humble career as a writer was born.

    My apple LC and my Mac 8500 in the early 90s kept me employed at a time when turning a PC with windows accessible was cost prohibitive.

    Mac OS was the first to bring accessible technology into the mainstream. The Apple Store continues to be the only store where I can go in, walk up to any device, push the control F5 key (or tap the home key 5 times on the mobile stuff) and have an instant working computer as is. No extra costly software or hardware required. I get to pay the exact same price as everyone else. If an employer uses Mac, I can go into the job on the first day and not have to ask for a SINGLE job accommodation.

    Now, let me get to the iPad (and iPhone for those who are totally blind. I have some vision and I benefit from the iPad’s large display. It essentially acts as my cell phone via Skype). Blind people were entirely left out of the smart device market until the iPhone and its voice carryover and zoom. It remains one of the only mobile devices out there that is accessible to me. Now, you may think, that’s nice, the gimpy girl can use a smart phone now.

    No, You have no idea how life changing this was. I cannot see almost all the print you all see and use while you are out in the world. Street signs, maps, bus schedules, store names, restaurant menus, books and magazines on the go (like the ones provided in a doctors office.) etc. Now, I can get gps directions anywhere, access a bus schedule and find the nearest bus stop, read a book or newspaper online, find a store when I’m on the block the store is on but have no idea which doorway, access a phone number while I’m out, text, email, and all the usual communicative things that I was locked out of before and everyone else could do. The blind people I know live’s have been forever enhanced because Steve Jobs decided that his products should be accessible.

    For that, he rocks, I owe a lot to him and the company, and I am sad that he is gone. I only hope that the good that he gave the world can move forward while we still manage somehow to find solutions past the shit like the china issue.

    And, I too, write this on my mac mini, while my trusty iPad is by my side getting charged from its hard day’s work.

    TL;DR I’m blind and Jobs made a huge chunk of the world accessible to me which changed my life immeasurably for the better.

  45. Ginjoint

    Lexie wins the internet world.

  46. josquin

    “So, yeah-the china thing and also the white male egomaniacal CEO and all that. I hear you. Nothing is sacred and virtuous. Including ma’self.”

    Hear, hear!!




  47. opasi

    Oh did something happen to a white dude again? I forgot this was white dude blog!

  48. Jill

    “Oh did something happen to a white dude again? I forgot this was white dude blog!”

    That’s right. Since I discovered white dudes last week, I have been under their spell. They’re awesome.

    Look, I’m not a fanboy. I’m not sayin that Steve Jobs is some kind of paragon, or that he invented the internet, or that he should be entombed in a golden sarcophagus in the Valley of the Sun-Nerds. I’m just mentioning, on the occasion of his death, that he was a pretty big influence on me. I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t. I can’t imagine why this would offend anyone or piss them off to the point of sarcasm, but to those who can’t bear to acknowledge that a white dude produced some stuff that has proven useful to at least one spinster aunt: there’s a canoe leaving for Delusional Separatist Island in about 5 minutes.

    This is a feminist blog and it’s pretty dude-free as blogs go. But I don’t exist in a flippin’ Savage Death vacuum. One can’t be oblivious to the whole global zeitgeist simply because it doesn’t precisely align with one’s politics. I blame the patriarchy, I don’t ignore it.

  49. Amber

    I guess white dudes Can and DO come up with some really wonderful things and make the world a better, more interesting place.

    <3 Steve Jobs

    He will be missed, by men and women of every skintone.

  50. pheenobarbidoll

    Wow. Telling the blog owner what she can and can’t write about on her own blog.

    Stay classy, peeps.

  51. Friend of Snakes

    I forgot this was really white dude blog.

    What’s the point of having a secretary if Phil can’t be bothered to do some basic comment filtering? Phil doesn’t really exist, does s/he? Just like Cottonmouth County.

    (signed)No Illusions Left

  52. buttercup

    Is delusional separatist island in the same archipelago as savage death island?

  53. FrostieMitre

    Many of the creative, brilliant, influential men who have appeared on this earth have been assholes, and it appears Steve Jobs was an arrogant, self-centered asshole. His beautiful products have vastly enriched my life for almost 30 years, though. I just hope beyond hope that Apple can somehow magically continue to make these wonderful, beautiful machines without him, but I fear they cannot. (Please please please).

  54. Noanodyne

    The only thing that has made sense to me about why we care about Steve Jobs dying is that we humans are basically like elephants.

    “[Elephants] show a keen interest in the bones of their own kind (even unrelated elephants that have died long ago). They are often seen gently investigating the bones with their trunks and feet and remaining very quiet. Sometimes elephants that are completely unrelated to the deceased will still visit their graves.” ~ Wikipedia (I was too lazy to track down where I saw that originally in a documentary.)

  55. Bushfire

    Sadly, I think delusional separatist island sounds like a nice place. *sigh*

  56. Fictional Queen

    I also think that island sounds awesome and only fair.I mean,if men hate women so much,it’s only fair that there should be delusional seperatists! Anyway,how do I get to this island?

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