Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Cult of Steve

Among all the fairy tales, of which I read hundreds to my sons when they were young, my very favorite remains "The Emperor's New Clothes". For, try as I might to grow as a human being, to understand the amazingly convoluted logic of social reality, I am continually struck on every side by the assertion of a plethora of emperors who claim to be wearing beautiful clothes, when I can see none whatsoever. Like many technical people, I am a creature of logic, spending most of my days interacting with machines which will not be cajoled by fine words, no matter how hard I try. If I tell the computer to print 10,000 times (yes, I did that inadvertently on day one of a new job once—oops!) it will in fact print 10,000 times without any consideration of my feeling its pain or anybody else's, or of my having chummed it up in front of the cameras in its home district.

Thus, when I am repeatedly assured that married men in powerful positions taking advantage of their young female employees for sexual favors is "exploiting" them in a "sexist" way known as "sexual harassment", and that dire consequences should properly follow, I am inclined to believe that when I see an example of a married President exploiting his dim-bulb intern for sexual favors that this constitutes "sexual harassment" and that dire consequences should follow. But I am assured that this is not the case by the socially savvier people among whom I live. They have explained to me that in fact in this particular case it was a good thing, not a bad one, because said President supported women's rights and was in fact the country's first woman President. Though said President appears very male to me, there is clearly a logic operating which is far above my limited abilities to discern or calculate.

What's a social simpleton to do? I just have to take their word for it....

...I remember well how, in 1998 and 1999 all of my Democratic friends assured me that only Puritanical Republicans who were still stuck in the Nineteenth Century would ever have a problem with such behavior. One could fairly have written that "Democrats exonerate Democrats" in order to summarize the whole experience.

Similarly, when it has been explained to me carefully by my social betters that it is morally wrong and actually illegal for company CEOs to play financial shenanigans, creating fictitious entries in the accounts in order to enrich themselves and their millionaire cronies at the expense of "widow and orphan" shareholders, an example of moral turpitude so dire that as in the case of Enron and Worldcom it requires not only restitution but actual jail time lasting many years, I am inclined to agree.

What do I know? Looks wrong to me, and I just have to take their word for it.

So it is with a sense of deja vu that when I learn that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been performing illegal acts within his financial reporting, creating fictitious and illegal entries, this time in the form of backdated options which net millions of extra dollars for him and his millionaire cronies at the expense of "widow and orphan" shareholders, I am inclined to believe that he deserves jail time, running to many years. That just shows what a simpleton I am. I noticed a few weeks ago that there were several articles running through the tech blogs which exhibited some fear on the Jobs news. Apple is their darling. Apple, like Bill Clinton, can do no wrong. Yet here was their hero quite evidently and publically defrauding his own investors. But then Apple came out with a statement that everything was fine, nothing to see here, move along folks, and as The Register put it "Apple Exonerates Apple". At that point, all was sweetness and light once more in tech-land. The fearful articles quickly disappeared, to be quickly replaced with paeans to the iPhone iTouch Mobile. Once again it has been made painfully clear to me what a simpleton I am. It's obvious, isn't it? Repeat after me: Oil Companies Baaaaad, Apple Goooooood.

Similarly, when I read that Apple is bullying bloggers, trying apparently to stop word of Jobs's shenanigans from getting out, I the social simpleton am inclined to think that this is morally wrong; yet I realize that unlike in the case of that evil Microsoft, there is probably a higher logic which, though I am completely incapable of understanding it, makes Apple's actions morally acceptable, or even superior. Likewise, Apple's new attempts with the iTouch Mobile to ensure massive vendor lock-in must be wonderful in a way impossible for people on my lowly level to comprehend. Repeat after me: Microsoft baaaaaad, Apple gooooood.

Silly me.


truepeers said...


Some emperors have no clothes, but that's ok if (s)he is the kind of emperoror you'd like without clothes. It's logical just up to the point that it ain't.

vnjagvet said...

Your example, MHA, was the ultimate expression of the "perception is reality" generation.

I had never thought of the Emporer's clothes in that context. But ya know, I think you have something.

loner said...

Is the The Pied Piper of Hamelin a fairy tale?

Syl said...

Well, you see, it makes perfect sense in the leftist world. Because harrassment only occurs in certain social strata. Clinton did not belong to the class of men who harrass women--he was above it somehow. ;)

But, really, it was simply partisan. The Republicans were all morally outraged so the Democrats planted their feet firmly on the opposite matter how silly they sounded.

Anonymous said...

At least Jobs is a leftie hip-ocrite; style matters most.

Certain people seem constitutionally incapable of applying logic and morality symmetrically between instances involving themselves and those involving others. Most often they invoke “circumstances” that make a pretend difference in principle, and other times they just lie, out of self-interest or self-serving illusion, one has to suppose. And there’s always that end justifying the means thing... for them. As long as they think they’re managing perception for the cause and helping champions of that cause, then, not only is nobody really hurt, they’re actually being saved from their petty outlook for something bigger and better.

I’m thinking that Dems/ liberals are more prone to this one-sided sense of morality because they advocate agenda to achieve programs and social goals and are set on group identity and end-states far more than Repubs who place greater emphasis on individualism, process, and the limits of government over its agency. Maybe certain religious grounding has something to do with the differences between the two parties, too, but Repubs are not immune to the failing. Anyway, in Clinton’s case, his gang went the whole enchilada for the big cheese- lies, twisted logic, and cynical acceptance of what he did because he served a greater good in their eyes.

No, who am I kidding? This was just tribalism. Bill was their man, they loved him, he was cool and popular, and no uptight Repub was going to take out their leader and power. Their agenda is about getting power from the people and then exercising it over the people and ultimately having the people beholden to them, whether through politics or business. Most Dems are sectarians first and foremost, to include Jobs and his rich lib pals.

BTW, MHA, your pieces a few months ago on the socio-psychological reasons why people might go left, right or center were pretty fascinating. Hope you explore that again, someday.

(re-posted b/c words went a-missing--)

Peter UK said...

"But, really, it was simply partisan. The Republicans were all morally outraged so the Democrats planted their feet firmly on the opposite matter how silly they sounded."

There would seem to be a good deal of political leverage in this,if only the Republicans would use it.
There are now some areas of political correctness,for such this is,in the area of religious fanatics where the dichotomy between reality and perception is so stark that to ignore it is indicative of insanity.

terrye said...

Bill's a woman? Well that explains Hillary doesn't it?

Every now and then on the farm we would see the birth of a free martin.

A free martin is an unlikely creature cursed {or blessed} with certain attributes of both sexes. They could not have babies and they were, as you can imagine somewhat confused as to who and what to mate with.

I see Bill and Hill like this. Hermaphrodites, each with a few too many secondary hormones.

David Thomson said...

Bill Clinton is a Democrat. That's all you need to know. He can play by another set of rules. Only Republicans are usually punished for such transgressions.

buddy larsen said...

Bill & Hill are just what the doctor ordered for anyone who does not want his/her own personal behavior to be even theoretically subject to any critique.

Reliapundit said...




they wrote a negative description of iraq and bush and asked respondents to say whether they agreed with it or not.

dems did, and gop'ers did not.
then they switched the nkouns to khazakstan and whoever, and most of the dems/lefties switched to support bush.

when a similar switcheroo was written for clinton and somalia the gop'ers were consistent. gop'ers/righties have policies based on principles which are above partisanship.

dem lefties do not.

Peter UK said...

How to win at losing

Luther said...

Peter UK, your link is inoperative.