I am not a computer geek. I wish I was, incidentally – I feel as though I must have been in another life. Oh wait, that can’t have happened, can it? Because I’ve been told that Christianity is right, not Buddhism. Or was it, Islam? I can never remember which one I am supposed to follow.
Anyway, as I was saying, I am not a computer geek, yet I profoundly felt that the world had lost a genius the day Steve Jobs stopped drawing breath. Yes I know that a company like Apple is not birthed out of one man’s endeavour alone, but doesn’t it show all the more what a special person he was, that he was able to retain indisputable artistic rights over his creation?
But further to mourning the intellectual loss of a giant, I also found myself mourning the passing of a fellow man and, amongst the tributes that poured in from all around the globe, I was disappointed to find that, in some sections of the media, voices whose opinions I typically respect were airing rather less sensitive views.
Barney Ronay, from the guardian tweeted:
Seem to be missing something. This a day of global mourning – because the man who sold you a phone has died.
There was something oh so self-congratulatory about the tone of the message. And there were others. I’m sure Mr. Ronay is a legend, I usually love to read what he has to say, and it is not so much him that I have the problem with. Rather there seems to be a prevalent – and I think destructive – feeling that, unless you are a cynic, you must be stupid.
I am all for cynicism, if appropriate, and, lets face it, it often is. But cynicism should not be confused for intelligence. Just because everybody thinks x, does not in itself mean that you should think y, or that you would be clever to do so. Of course I understand where he is coming from – it is a strange phenomenon that people can be moved to tears about a person where the intimacy of the relationship does not extend beyond the supplying of electrical appliances – no matter how good those appliances are (very).
Then again, we live in strange times. Like most people, I never met Steve Jobs. But what does that have to do with anything anymore? Call it a paradox, but the internet has almost completely removed the barriers that once existed between personal communication. It is now possible to know almost everything about somebody who otherwise might have been a complete stranger. Steve Jobs spent his life trying to enhance this experience, by providing – to borrow the familiar cliche – what his consumers wanted before they knew it themselves. I think the flood of tributes speaks overwhelming volumes of his success in this particular gambit.
So put your cynicism to one side, Mr. Ronay and others, if only for a moment, and pay your respects to a man who has changed the face of the modern world as much as any other. And, perhaps more importantly, remember too that you are talking about a human being, who has left behind loved ones who miss him, no matter whether or not you feel that they should.
Click the link for Fry on Jobs: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/gadgets/stephen-fry-waxes-lyrical-on-steve-jobs-50004884/
- A Tribute to Steve Jobs (amitgharat.wordpress.com)
- What I Learned from Steve Jobs (futurelab.net)
- On The Death Of Steve Jobs (thebardonthehill.wordpress.com)