A collection of sudden thoughts (re: Steve Jobs)

Steve Jobs helped create the future.

The iPod is a remarkable feat of engineering. It is passively aggressively able to vaporize matter. Very Buck Rogers. Back-lit screen flashes on—an effete PYOOM! PYOOM! to our senses. Suddenly tangible mediums like the rekkid, the tape, the CD, the DVD, the BLU-RAY become irrelevant. iT becomes the only tangible thing relevant in the lucrative industry of ‘previously recorded’ forms of seen-and-heard entertainment. Can’t forget about 8-Tracks and LaserDiscs and UMDs and Betamax and…help me out.

Pixar tells its stories in a hyper technical visual way. Pixar’s animation (for the most part) honors the rules of the physical world…as the toys are played with in Toy Story they flop around as they did when we played with them, but something is divinely ‘off’ about the way this flawless physical mimicry is presented (check out Pixar’s first film Luxo Jr.). The technical details serve the whimsy, not the other way around. Plus, they go and get all existential on that ass… Fish have a voyeuristic fetishes about human dentistry. Flies are aware of relative mortality and they joke about being on the short end of the stick. Robots fall in love. Toys are shown to represent the infinite nature of childhood (quick note to self: watch Toys 3 and Children of Men back-to-back). Ditto that same sentiment for the Cars movies (quick note to self: watch Cars 2 and Ronin back-to-back). Oh, and it all looks bloody amazing…

It’s fascinating how quick we all become hagiographers the minute someone widely-known passes (‘guilty’ of it myself). Steve Jobs is widely revered because his creations offer us a personalized instantaneous connection to what we love—art, our world, each other—via highly intuitive user interfaces and dynamically visual presentation. It’s easy to see how an aggressively social species would fall in love with such creations, but do we love iT for iT or merely for what iT provides? I know…sounds ridiculous, but one day that question may be relevant. Actually, it’s always been relevant. We asked it of ourselves when we stared into the light. We ask it when people die.

Here goes some more of that instant hagiography…imagine the history ‘books’ that will be written by people born today. How will they perceive this era? Think about this whimsical twist for a moment…Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak create a device that will launch an industrial revolution. Jobs, the biological son of a Syrian Muslim father and an American mother of Swiss/German descent who is adopted by a Northern Californian (home of the mythic ‘Valley of Silicon’) couple and Wozniak, a pragmatic Freemason are driven to bring into existence a machine capable of doing things better and more efficiently than the human mind. Machines that will come to occupy the body and the places in which the body occupies. In other words…attention-demanding telescreens everywhere…

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