Steve Jobs had 'personal moral failures', was no role model
Prof lambasts bearded fondle-slab biz titan
After Britain's Chief Rabbi criticised the consumerism of the late Great High Priest of Apple, a professor of applied ethics at Hofstra University has joined the crew of Jobs-knockers, saying that we shouldn't venerate the Apple CEO because of his well-documented bad behaviour.
Blogging on Psychology Today, Arthur Dobrin told readers that he would not be joining in on "the chorus of hosannas" praising Jobs. And that's because Steve was a very naughty boy...
His heroic status is seriously undermined by his personal moral failures, and it this which prevents me from holding him up as an icon for young people.
Turn away now children...
Where there is no vision, a people perish, the New Testament says. But it isn't any vision that people need for sustenance. It is a moral vision that is essential.
Top of the hit list is Steve's much-discussed poor treatment of his first daughter; according to the recent Walter Isaacson biography, he had refused to acknowledge paternity until compelled to do so by a court order.
Dobrin pulls other incidents out of the Isaacson tome, including the great man's fussiness about the flowers in his hotel room, his habit of parking in handicapped spaces and tendency to break the speed limit and then yell at cops writing him speeding tickets that they weren't doing it fast enough.
Dobrin also vaguely blames Jobs for the "culture of the internet", though we feel that the decency doyen is on shakier ground here: "The impact of Apple's works on our social life is ambiguous, making us more connected to the larger world and alienated from our immediate surroundings, both at the same time. Just think of the person across from you at a table who is texting a friend from across the world."
Could be something to do with Dobrin's small talk?
However on the fraught question of whether visionary genius must accompanied by Jobs' brand of single-minded narcissism, the psychologist has no further insight to offer us:
Whether genius requires such narcissism is an open question. But if we are to venerate Steve Jobs, let's not be fooled into thinking that he was a good person.
Don't do it at home, kids.®
The guy does, overall, have a point.
Modern western culture demonstrates an inability to distinguish between the individual and the achievements of the individual, so very often we end up with individuals being unquestioningly celebrated as geniuses instead of recognising their achievements as being noteworthy.
It's not just Jobs either - it happened with Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse and countless others. It's the same way that when talking about Kurt Cobain nobody ever mentions that, tragic though his case was, perhaps taking heroin to help cope with a stomach ulcer was not a smart thing to do.
Bloody simian brains, making it easier to relate to other simians on daft grounds like "S/he was alright, someone you'd get on with if you met 'em down the pub" than on grounds like "A moody but exceptionally talented artist/musician/athlete/goat-herder".
Stallman put it better.
Being 'politically correct' on this is kind of silly. The term simply refers to one being at a disadvantage in a particular situation. If one wasn't at a disadvantage related to making their way into a business from their parked car, then they wouldn't need a closer parking space.
Really, If you think about it, the term 'disabled' sounds worse, implying the person is broken and nonfunctional, rather than just at a disadvantage.