wed 24/07/2024

Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy, BBC Two | reviews, news & interviews

Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy, BBC Two

Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy, BBC Two

Documentary about a really cool app for siphoning off the whole world's pocket money

iTake: the gospel according to Steve Jobs

He would not hesitate to wake up employees at all hours to yak about ideas. He could fire an underling in the seconds it took for the elevator to ferry him to or from his fourth-floor office. He shouted, like, a lot, even at Bill Gates. Especially at Bill Gates.

And yet the great and the good last night all queued to waft smoke up the posthumous iHole: Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the internet, Norman Foster, who invented the glass airport, Stephen Bayley, who invented designer waffle. No one in this hagiographical walk-through of a life in gizmos seemed inclined to suggest that Steve Jobs was surely a bit of a [ ____ ] .

This was the story of the man who, putting an i in front of everything you use and own, turned solipsism into a handheld device. He hooked up the phone he sold you to the laptop he sold you to the camera and music system and music library he sold you. He slipped into your pocket and took control of your life. You set up a standing order to siphon money from your bank account into his via an app known as the iPlunder. It was all, to use his parlance, really cool. People - and he was probably the one to float the idea on Wall Street - think he was the reincarnation of Gandhi and/or Einstein.

The empathy widget never made it out of the box

The headlines of the story we all know: Mac, iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad. Each a paradigm-shifting, axis-tilting revolution etc in the way we live now blah blah blah in the world as we know it yadder yadder. The planet heated up and the hemispheres turned vengeful but at least everyone had neat white headphones. “There is a poetic dimension to some technological artefacts,” wept Sir Norman Foster. Stephen Fry advocated that style and substance are the same thing, his point only slightly ruined by a moustache embodying neither. Jobs’s relationship with his designer Jonathan Ive “had a zen-like meditative intensity”, whispered Monsignor Bayley. There weren’t many women invited to this tribute. It was like walking into a San Francisco bathhouse in 1976. The boys for Jobs.

Unless you are fully conversant with the Wiki entry, some of this stuff was less familiar. Jobs got fired from Apple after a clunky plastic cube that used to be the shape of things to come (pictured right) didn’t sell. Big mistake, admitted the suit who unseated him. “I was focused on how do we sell Mac 2 computers. He was focused on changing the world.” Jobs financed this modest project by then investing in Pixar. Yes, he made his first billion out of Buzz Lightyear. They even shared a catchphrase. He was an oxymoron. Having dropped a few tabs of LSD and ingested much Dylan, Jobs remained delusionally committed to the idea that he was part of the counter-culture and its flowery credo of peace, love and global domination. He didn’t do such stuff as ordinary lives are made on - furniture or possessions or the like.

Meanwhile the empathy widget never made it out of the box. Did losing his own job make Jobs happier to remove others from their jobs? We were not told by Evan Davis who was fronting this snowjob nor by the various ex-colleagues who seemed faintly anxious that Jobs may yet garotte them from beyond the grave. Someone who paid tribute was called Robert X Cringely, and that’s probably how everyone feels around the holy memory.

Just one question for the fanbase, should any of them still be reading. If Steve Jobs really was the Messiah, how come he couldn’t make a battery last longer than a Friday-night bladder?



Jobs remained delusionally committed to the idea that he was part of the counter-culture and its flowery credo of peace, love and global domination

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You make a lot of great points, The other thing that is interesting is that your approach is contradictory to our entire economic model, which thrives when people are spending money, versus saving it. Great post.

Which economic model would that be? ;) Do you mean the economic model where 'spending money' for most people means buying stuff on credit? Do you mean the economic model where the majority of money is created literally out of thin air by banks as credit (debt), such as every time a bank loan is made - so that at any given point in time there is always more debt than actual 'money' in the world? (plus lots of debt interest floating about, which of course was never created by anyone and must be found from the general money supply - which mostly consists of other people's debt anyway). Do you mean the economic model which for a century now has been based around planned obsolesce* AKA consumerism. A world which has been engineered so that we now spend to save, work longer hours than ever before in order to have more 'free time', throw goods away in order to buy more of the same and generally enslave ourselves to the banksters who have - through government's monopoly on the right to initiate force on everyone else - acquired for themselves thier own government enforced monopoly on the legal right to print entirely fictitious 'money' and the right to force us all to accept its supposed value of this paper and use it exclusively for all our transactions which puts the value of our personal savings, businesses, possessions, homes and other assets in the hands of a violent monopoly cabal by definition? In the words of someone who - like Jobs - is generally considered a bit of a hippie but who was (like Jobs) in reality the furthest thing from one (he even admitted his disdain for the movement he helped to spawn). "The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre." - Frank Zappa (great article BTW)

Sorry, forgot to add my footnote for planned obsolesce* *to learn about planned obsolesce watch the fantastic documentary 'The Lightbulb Conspiracy' As the top comment on that video says, "This is Apple's business model in its entirety"

When an IT geek (or Stephen Fry) tells you something is "cool", you immediately and instinctively know it profoundly isn't. Also not cool are Apple's somewhat shady corporate ethics and their use of sweatshop labour. Some hippy.... Jobs was not a visionary. He was merely a skilful salesman who was a master at pulling off the capitalist trick of creating false need and convincing his customers that life would not be complete without his products. Actually, living without a single Apple product is easy but try telling that to the fanboys and fangirls of the i-cult.

Trolling is a art.

Steve Jobs changed the entire world with his visionary outset and revamping of wireless media and communications. He’ll be a name which rings out through history for evolving the way we live, share and communicate. I was compelled to create a portrait of him, now In Memoriam on my artist’s blog at

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