Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Icon

“There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented,” stated Barak Obama in his memorial statement on passing of Steve Jobs today.

The press likes to stress the numbers of Apple devices sold around the world (and the numbers are staggering: 129 million phones sold to date) What is more remarkable, though, is the equality of distribution of Apple products. Here in Doha, it is likely that both a sheikh and his driver will own an iPhone. In my class, I have it and so do most of my students. On Occupied Wall Street, the protesters (a.k.a. The 99%) are using it to tweet their anger about the other 1%. 

Andy Warhol once wrote about Coca-Cola, an older American icon: A Coke is a Coke is a Coke, and no amount of money will buy you a better Coke that the bum on the corner is drinking.  Today, it is true that no money will buy you a better smart phone than iPhone. If Andy was alive, he would have probably painted Steve Jobs, or an iPhone. For sure, he would be using one.

Blogger RWordplay said...

It's astonishing how prophetic so many of Warhol seemingly facile observations proved to be. He spoke not only of Coca-Cola in this light, but also of Levi's. A man obsessed with multiples, would appreciate the "perfection' of the mass produced object, regardless of media. There seems to something in the "authentic" in these objects that defy the siren's song of prestige and prerogative. It just has to be perfect.

Obama's elegy may be as canned as any cola but it lacks the sparkle of the real thing. Blame it on the man himself, or the lack of imagination of the people who advise him and spoon-feed the man his public utterances. But this aside, I think you hit the bull's-eye with the notion of the egalitarian aspect of the iPhone—it should be noted, the iPhone was something Mr. Jobs invented, although he deserves credit for its existence.

Mr. Boym, you do pose an interesting scenario, namely, would Andy have an iPhone. I'm not entirely sure he would. I like to think of the man liked his technology, i.e., his Polaroid camera, but I believe that by 2011, the man would have been bored to tears by "multiples."

November 6, 2011 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger the world of next tuesday said...

Actually Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC will sell you a $4 bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola made with cane sugar rather than corn syrup.

September 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM  

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