Curmudgeon that we are, we watched the tech and mainstream (drive-by, per El Rushbo?) media’s gyrations over the Apple new doohickey with great bemusement. By all accounts, the iPhone 2.0 is an incremental improvement over its last over priced incarnation. Yet whether out of pavlovian conditioning or truly demented fixation on the trivial, a phone yet again rivets adults and fanboys alike. Is it really something ABC News needs to call an iPocalypse?
One must concede the silly season is upon us. The rich and powerful (and those even more wealthy who hold both in contempt) are pursuing their own sensory self indulgence. We are left adrift to our own devices.
How keen then for the rest of us to have something shiny almost within reach — tantalizing even. Indeed, “something for the rest of us.” The equivalent of a struggling family habitually buying Starbucks’ overpriced coffee; believing that in that one act, they have at least joined an elite of some kind, if just for a little while. In the WSJ, the NYT, CNET, across the blogosphere . . . phone, phone, phone. (Overshadowing Gramm, Gramm, Gramm because Obama finched and lacks the float like a butterfly sting like a bee; he floats okay).
Don’t get us wrong. Compared to the towering mendacity of Microsoft and its monopolistic mediocrity, we are all for Apple innovating and taking no prisoners. We finally get 3G on this particular phone (belatedly following our technological masters in Japan, Korea and elsewhere). The Stiftung’s last phone used AT&T’s abominable EDGE (same as iPhone 1.0). We were tempted to raise some bars — shattered glass ones — at the local AT&T store for EDGE’s horrendous slow speed, but we lack the performance art street cred needed for a good You Tube video. And as Warren Beatty observed as Madonna’s boy toy in the old movie “Truth or Dare”, what’s the point of saying anything if it’s not on camera? The iPod part of the phone Apple has down to a science. The nasty part is the new business plan behind the subsidy — few describe the burdensome true cost of ownership with the contracts, data plans, etc. And people complain about $4 gas? And we withhold judgment on the vaunted iPhone apps store.
It’s July. What else can an editor or producer do? Christie settled her divorce before all the ratings could be milked — or a theme song composed. How odd that Phil Gramm is slightly on to something, if unintentionally. Sure, gas is astronomical, as are airconditioning bills. Banks are crushing average Americans daily, grabbing their homes, the Congress punts, while the Feds give plutocrats billions in bailouts. Food prices soar sky high, yet would be worse if we did not import most of our produce from China (as many of our flowers are from South America). Reality encroaches like crab grass on the American dream’s 18th hole. And what do Americans do? Why, go buy another shiny trinket. So why not ignore it all? Surrender to the shiny, small pleasure of Jobs’ bedazzling beads and trinkets. And be part of an imagined elite, much like sipping a grande latte, standing next to the couple in from their beachfront house in the Hamptons, while Sting’s latest serenades overhead. For that split second, that briefest moment in time, everyone is equal. Something mental truly is happening.
Too bad Jesse Jackson didn’t mutter into an iPhone while on Fox. Now THAT would be something worth talking about.