So, in a surprising turn of events, the highly polished Apple is now in the Star Chamber over diverting its profits overseas in a clever shell game. Actually, it ain't that surprising. Truth be told, Apple's Woodstock Nation vibe is part of the polishing. To quote Bob DePree:
I always thought Steve
Jobs was amazing in his success of positioning Apple as the counter-culture,
anti-establishment outfit, when, in fact, it was always the most capitalist, most
proprietary, and most dictatorial of all computer companies. If you read the
biographies of Jobs, he was personally dealing with a lot of cognitive
dissonance on that score; he wanted to believe he was a counterculture acid
head, when he was really an ambitious, driven capitalist.
like a detour down the Hegel Highway: a classic example of
thesis/antithesis/synthesis at work. Thesis: the counterculture was all
about faded blue jeans and rags and feathers from Salvation Army
counters. You can't be a low-rent hippie and a connoisseur at the same
time; good enough has to be good enough. Antithesis: making snob appeal
cool. Yes, wafting through the air of Seattle, comes the sensual appeal
of the finest "artisinal" coffees, clothes, wine, yattayatta. Apple is
simply the digital example of that—a cutely named, design-centric,
ridiculously expensive, artisinal number cruncher—the job of Jobs.
So, if Windows = a populist Holiday Inn, Apple = an elitist Ritz-Carlton
disguised as a hippie commune. The synthesis of hippie and connoisseur
is—of course—the hipster. (Who all have iPads and iPhones, natch.)
Thus the shiny, slick beast grooves into Bethlehem to be born.
Jaron Lanier makes savvy points
in Who Owns the Future? Ordinary slobs have been suckered into giving their
information away to monopolies in California; Creative people have been
suckered into giving their stuff away to publicize their talents; This
lifestyle only works if you're living with your parents; Something's got to
The problem? We think of information
as “free,” but that only works in an economy that isn't largely
information-based. Soon, the info economy will swallow all else.
It’ll be world of self-driving cars, 3-D printers, robot nurses, etc. Granted
“free-info,” most folks will be out of work. Lanier writes: “If we go on
as we are, we will probably enter into a period of hyper-unemployment, and the
attendant political and social chaos. The outcome of chaos is unpredictable,
and we shouldn’t rely on it to design our future.” Lanier's nightmare future
resembles Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano—universal automation that makes most people useless. (He complicates matters by saying that this “automation”
is a shuck. Computers and computer networks aren’t really doing the thinking:
they’re mining data and crowd-sourcing—without paying the human brains that did
the original thinking.) But this situation is unsustainable.
“We’re setting up a situation where
better technology in the long term just means more unemployment or an eventual
socialist backlash. Instead, we should seek a future where more people will do
well, without losing liberty, even as technology gets much, much better.” Lanier, no socialist, has a capitalist solution: “Pay people for information
gleaned from them if that information turns out to be valuable.” How? Stay
Ah, just kidding. The title is: Star Trek: Into Darkness. Seriously. I was prepared to hate this movie. But, then, I have a love-hate relationship with J.J. Abrams. He has a keen dramatic sense, yeah, yeah. But he's been known to cheat. Lost, for example. It's not purgatory, it's not, seriously fans, it's not purgatory, would I lie to you, OK, it's purgatory. Shuck and jive.I was expecting that. Spoilers engage!
Star Trek: Into Darkness is a ripping yarn. The glamor shots of The Enterprise are fanboy drool-inducing. The character studies (with the !@# exception of Spock crying) were solid. This includes (put yourself in cryosleep, fanboy!) John Harrison. AKA, Khannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!
Yeah, him. Beneditch Cumberbatch (the new Sherlock Holmes) plays him, which, I guess, is logical. Rebooting the Big Bad from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan struck me as lazy storytelling when I caught wind of it. But it works. Kirk's reaction to Admiral Pike's death also works. Loved this movie. Ripping. But ...
Abrams cheated, damn it. If The Enterprise lost its artificial gravity on approach to earth, the inhabitants would go into freefall. Spock wouldn't cry, !!@#$. Good movie, J.J. Could've been better.
Mindless entertainment: A- Originality: D- Science: F
Marty Fugate is an area critic, screenwriter, science fiction writer, humorist and cartoonist. He can, and will, write about anything for money. For links to his latest short story collection, go to: Marty Fugate