Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone Update

Tim Wu explains why the iPhone isn't revolutionary.

We're left to wonder, then, why the iPhone plays by the rules. Isn't this Apple, the company of "Think Different"? You could argue that the iPhone proves that Apple is no longer a company interested in transforming industries. Once Big Brother's foe, it's now more like Little Brother, happy to sell cute little devices that are easy to use, make money, and spread false consciousness.

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Dennis Prager's Palpable Stupidity

Commenting on yesterday's forum of Democratic presidential candidates discussing race, Dennis Prager uttered one of the stupidest thoughts I've ever heard emanate from him, and that's saying a lot.

Prager said that blacks live in mostly black neighborhoods because they prefer to, because most people want to live among their own kind. This is a manifestation of the typical conservative mindset, which justifies lack of concern for a social phenomena by arguing that it exists because people want it that way. In other words, it's their own fault, and if that's the way they want it, we don't have the responsibility to change it. It's the argument for complacency.

Do Quincy Jones, Eddie Murphy or just about any successfull black entertainer or businessperson or middle class blacks reside in South Central Los Angeles? Of course not. People tend to associate with others from the same economic level they belong to. The minute a person begins to make enough income, they move to a better neighborhood than the one they're in. Racially segregated neighborhoods exist because a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics are impoverished.

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iPhone Mania

After waiting in line for six hours to purchase an iPhone for the company for which he works, Lons expresses some decidedly contradictory thoughts about the iPhone and iPhone social phenomena.

Jean Baudrillard was totally 100% correct. The iPhone line is a real media event. Earlier in the day, one of my co-workers who had an earlier line shift was interviewed by the CW, and two others were photographed by the Associated Press. All night, people were videotaping and photographing the line from different angles and perspectives, with the Apple Store logo in the background and without, individual faces and large crowd scenes. There's a sense that this is something significant that must be captured for posterity. But the whole thing is also a media creation. The iPhone doesn't exist in reality for anyone but Steve Jobs and Walt Mossberg.

The iPhone is going to be enormous. It takes a special kind of genius to motivate people from around the country to line up for 28 hours for an overpriced cell phone integrated with these tools, and there's a lot more to it than senseless Consumer Whoredom.

The iPhone looks very slick and elegant, I'll grant that, based only on a few glimpses I've had of it on TV. But it doesn't do anything that a number of all-in-one cell phone/devices already do. The only significant difference is the animated GUI and the use of the entire front surface for a display. The advantages are mostly aesthetic, not functional.

So yes, all the excitement is largely a triumph of very shrewd marketing and the public's susceptibility to these whipped-up fervors. It's the modern equivalent of the Dutch tulip mania.

Ann Coulter's Writing

Joseph Cannon wonders, "Okay, seriously: Chris Matthews, commenting on the contretemps between Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards, calls Coulter a 'brilliant writer.' By what standard?," and proceeds to dissect Coulter's recent column about immigration.

Chris Matthews doesn't read any of the books whose authors he has on as guests on Hardball. No radio or TV host reads them. Larry King was at least honest enough to admit it and I once heard Dennis Prager boasting about it on his radio show. Likewise, these hosts always say the book is "a great read" or something similar. If they don't offer obligatory compliments, the author may not return. It's all about access.

I don't think Coulter even writes her columns or books herself anymore. Maybe she did in the beginning, but now she's a celebrity no different than Suzanne Somers hawking her latest diet book on HSN and Larry King. It's celebrity marketing.

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