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It is not enough to love your products anymore; when the people who created them die, you are now required to enter a kind of spiritual decline yourself
The deification of Steve Jobs was swift and amazing, an app that rose only in death. Jobs is now America's Princess Diana, a figure of tragedy, representing transformation, Jackie Kennedy being too long-dead to do it, and Michael Jackson too weird. I find this strange, because Jobs's real legacy was the way in which people now routinely ignore each other in public because they are playing with their iPhones and iPads. As ever with a new form of communication, one of the things you can do is communicate your indifference better.
斯蒂芬.乔布斯被快速且疯狂地神化，一出“玫瑰唯有死亡”的戏码。乔布斯现在是美国的戴安娜王妃，是一个悲剧性人物，他代表着改革，杰基.肯尼迪花了太长的时间死搞改革，迈克尔.杰克逊则太怪异地进行转化。我发现这一奇怪现象，因为乔布斯真正的遗产是让人们现在在公众场合照例相互忽视，因为人们通常正在玩 iPhones 和iPads。像以前一样，随着一种新的联络方式的产生，你能做得一件事情就是让你的交往更冷漠。
I had an iPhone but I was relieved to lose it because it swallowed so much of my time in pointless ways. I enjoyed following myself down a street, as a dot on a map, for instance, but all I was really doing was being both CIA operative and target in a tiny movie of my own life. I also think, as others have noted, that the products look like children's toys. Beautiful simplicity, say the fans, but more simple than beautiful, made for CBBC. The equivalent 40 years ago would have been blind adherence to the ideology of Habitat.
But I am in a minority. Jobs's death has stopped the clock. As the corpse cooled, all aspects of his life and legacy were detailed by a prostrate media. He is now, just a little too late to enjoy it, the world's most famous man, one pixel short of saviour. His memorial service last Sunday was covered by the broadsheets, who reported that the golden triumvirate of Bill Clinton, Stephen Fry and Bono appeared to mourn and rend their garments. This made me laugh, I am afraid, because if the question "Which global celebrities are most likely to attend the memorial service of Steve Jobs?" was asked on Family Fortunes the top answers would surely be – Bill Clinton, Stephen Fry and Bono. Who else could it be?
Some of the mourners, appropriately, tweeted their loss, which I am sure Jobs would appreciate, being the world's chief facilitator of manufactured emotions in 140 characters or less. The more general population, who are practised in responding to the media's idiocies, obediently responded. They were told they have lost something precious, and so the more credulous grieved. Logos representing Jobs's death were designed, circulated, fought over and abandoned. Apple shops became instant shrines at which iPads transformed themselves into representations of flickering candles, which was chilling because, as you know, computers can't mourn. Some iPads were, bizarrely, left at the shops as an offering, as if modern gods demand not chickens, but small electrical goods, to soothe their rages. (Dear God – please restore service!) I still suspect that Apple employees left them there and retrieved them when the cameras went home. To donate a £400 iPad to a billionaire's makeshift shrine is a very un-Apple gesture, because it is unprofitable. Others left apple cores, which is merely littering with a mad sense of purpose.
How to unpick this? Grief as a global phenomenon is not new. It is essentially media-led (it fills and sells papers) and it always leaves a bitter taste, because for every stranger you think you mourn, there is a friend you forget to remember. These relationships are false and imagined and always created with the rich and powerful, which makes me wonder if it is the lifestyle, not the life, we praise when we turn to Jobs. It is ordinary bowing before power, just rather odder because the Apple products have a bright marketing sheen of democracy – we are all equal before the world wide web – which is ridiculous, considering how few can afford them and how aggressively the company protects its software.
But I have not seen it for a CEO before. Could it be that the eulogies for Jobs are a new expression of pure materialism? It is not enough to love your products; when the people who created them die, you are required to enter a kind of spiritual decline. What does it mean to weep for the inventor of the iPhone? For me it is Apple's greatest marketing triumph and the very opposite of a spiritual experience.
This is easy for Apple to manage, as newspapers inexorably ease from editorial to advertorial. There are now, quite often, double page spreads about yogurt, and worse things than yogurt. The reason is profit. Recycling press releases is cheap, because PRs are unlikely to libel their own clients. Just last week I received an invitation, via email, to plug a product which would heat my swimming pool, if I had one, which I do not. A new swimming pool heating system is not in itself news, but a news hook is attached, making a broader point in hope of making it into the paper – UK entrepreneur confirms luxury market is buoyant despite global recession. I am invited to lunch with supermarket PRs, to dine in restaurants for free and sometimes to try out beauty serums, or, as I call them, slimes. These are products in search of a page, and they are not news.
No, this the churnalism so wonderfully detailed in the Guardian journalist Nick Davies's obituary of the newspaper industry, Flat Earth News. It was rampant in the life of Jobs, and at his death it achieved a kind of apogee. Last month the New York Times ran an editorial entitled You Love Your iPhone. Literally. It argued that people respond similarly to images of the Apple logo and images of the Pope; iPhone users, the author stated, after performing tests on babies, literally loved their iPhones. I was shown this editorial by a PR. Even he was amazed that a company should get such coverage or, to give it its proper term, idiotic drooling. Again, this is odd, because the technology Jobs created is destroying newspapers. It makes me wonder if my trade has developed, en masse, Apple-themed Stockholm Syndrome. We love our murderer.
The truth? In many ways Apple is just another very profitable company, which in July announced that its revenues were $28.57bn, up 90% year-on-year, with profits of $7.31bn, up 124% year-on-year. It is visionary in its products and marketing techniques, but conventional in its working practices and goals. It is, like most world-munching corporations, a feudal hierarchy. There is nothing visionary in transferring the manufacture of your products from the US to China, and subcontracting the work to other companies, thereby circumventing labour laws, as Apple did 10 years ago. The working conditions of those who manufacture the products are appalling and ill paid. Not even the glorious design of whichever number iPhone we are on now could keep the "cluster" of suicides at the Apple supplier Foxconn's main manufacturing plant in Longhua out of the news last year. Overtime in these factory cities is often forced, not voluntary, and with every article puffing the i-Must-Embrace-the-Future-Or-Die, there will be more forced overtime as the factories race to meet demand the newspapers create. All the horrors are there, if you look for them. According to China Labour Watch, Apple pays just £3.99 for the production of your £600 iPhone, and it is the workers who pay for their – and our – greed, so we can tweet and be moving dots on a map. As Mike Daisey said, also in the New York Times, Jobs could have done something about this. He could have really changed the world. He chose not to.
真相？从许多方面来说，苹果只是一家非常盈利的公司而已。在六月，它公布收入为285.7亿美元，与去年同期数相比，增长了90%，利润为73.1亿美元，增长124%。它的产品和销售技术是梦幻的，但它的工作方法和目标却是传统的。像大多数世界级企业一样，它采用封建等级制度。将产品从美国转移至中国不存在任何梦幻。将工作转包给其他公司，从而绕过劳工法，就像十年以前苹果所做的那样。制造产品的工作条件恶劣，工人薪水微薄。无论iPhone的多少光荣设计，我们现在依然记得去年发生在苹果供应商--富士康主要制造厂发生的“自杀集体”事件。在这些加工城市，工人经常被迫、而非自愿加班，在每条鼓吹“我必须拥抱未来，或者死去”的条款中，当工厂竞赛地满足报纸创造的要求时，工人们将有更多的压迫性加班。如果深入挖掘，会发现各种恐惧。根据《中国劳工观察》，你手中标价£600的iPhone， 苹果只支付£3.99 的成本，是工人们在支付他们的以及我们的贪婪。所以我们能录高音，能在地图上移动点。正如迈克.黛西所言，她也在《纽约时代》，乔布斯本能为这些做点什么，他真的能改变这个世界。但是，他选择了不做。
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