OBITUARY: Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Republibot 3.0
Republibot 3.0's picture

Steve Jobs died yesterday.

He was a major force to be reckoned with in society, and he also founded Pixar and hence played a somewhat tangential role in Science Fiction over the last quarter century, though it seems almost vulgar and "Me Too"ish to say that at a time like this.

I'd been debating what to say, and if I should even say anything, at a time like this. His passing is being talked about in a million different mediums, a million different mouths. I don't have anything to add to that. Church suggested the above clip, and it seemed ideal. Thank you, Church.

Say what you will about the man, about his politics, about his life and his opinions, the fact remains that he was the archetype of the American dream. He came from nothing in particular, worked hard, made his own breaks, was successful creating something amazing, lost everything, worked hard, was successful creating something else amazing, and then was begged to come back and shepherd the very kingdom he'd created and been thrown out of.

You can gussy that up anyway you want to suit your politics, or you can nitpick and tear it down and diminish the man for failings we all have, if that suits your politics, but either way seems disingenuous to me. Paint it whatever color you want, dress it up in bows to make it more palatable if you're too timid to face reality, but at the end of the day, the truth is this:

Steve Jobs was the living embodiment of American Exceptionality.




Church's picture

But anyone who thinks that Jobs’ contributions to society can somehow be reduced to “marketing” or “fashion” betrays a complete ignorance of the power and importance of great design.

Great design can and does change the world. Poor design can and does ruin lives.

Scott McCloud

"Unless you were a diehard

"Unless you were a diehard who started with Macs in their early years and stuck with them through the Tsunami of Dreck that washed o'er our world post-Steve, it's hard to remember what he walked into when he returned to the company, and what he did. In retrospect it looks like a genius master plan: revitalize the core product line by sweeping everything away in favor of the striking iMac, then adding the iPod, then the iPhone, then the iPad. Each gets thinner and faster and better. Everything moves away from physical media until everything migrates to the ether. That's what we all wanted 15 years ago - that Star Trek stuff. That crazy sci-fi stuff.

"Well, we got it. I get a little tired of people who jest 'where's my flying car' when discussing the disappointments of the future once it became the present. We take as commonplace things that are absolutely miraculous."

--James Lileks

Grass Stains

Church's picture

Surely, my mind raced, surely he has more than one pair of those shoes. He could afford to buy the factory that made them. Why wear this grass-stained pair for the keynote, a rare and immeasurably high-profile public appearance? My guess: he didn’t notice, didn’t care. One of Jobs’s many gifts was that he knew what to give a shit about. He knew how to focus and prioritize his time and attention. Grass stains on his sneakers didn’t make the cut.

John Gruber

He sure has inspired some touching eulogies.

Goody Two-Shoes

Republibot 3.0's picture

It's stupid and inane, but I read these comments here and elsewhere, and the whole time some Adam Ant lyrics keep coming to mind:

Don't follow fashions
that'd be a joke
instead we're gonna' set them, set them
and everyone can take note, take note

Of course that belies the fact that Steve wasn't just about the fashion, he was about actual real stuff, but I think his obvious aesthetics made his actual real stuff more palatable, less frightening to people who maybe were a little timid coming into the market. "Well, they say it's easy to use, and it's kinda pretty..."

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0

As someone else (I think on

As someone else (I think on Ace of Spades) pointed out, Steve's technical and aesthetic innovations actually helped EVERYONE in the computer market. Every other designer and manufacturer had to get more competitive in order to keep from losing customers to Apple -- he FORCED them to get better at what they were doing, and so even people who don't use Apple products at all have benefited from his work in the field. If the iPhone hadn't been such a success we wouldn't have the Android.


SheldonCooper's picture

>>he also founded Pixar and hence played a somewhat tangential role in Science Fiction over the last quarter century<<

Pixar was founded by George Lucas in the 70's as a division of LucasFilm, around the same time he founded ILM. Lucas sold Pixar to Apple in the mid-80's. Steve Jobs then revolutionized the company, turning it into predominantly an animation studio, as opposed to a graphics studio. Under LucasFilm, Pixar did early CGI work for live action movies, including the Genesis animation for TWOK and the stained glass knight from Young Sherlock Holmes.

Not to take anything away from Mr. Jobs, it was under his leadership that Pixar teamed with Disney on all those great animated movies before being sold to Disney outright just a few years ago. Also, if I'm not mistaken, the name Pixar came from Jobs. I believe the division was called something else under Lucas, but most Lucas documentaries just call it Pixar when they talk about his involvement in creating it, so I could be wrong on that score.

One lab accident away from being a supervillain! Bazinga!

Oh Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Republibot 3.0's picture

Oh, yeahhhh, right. I only vaguely knew that, and I'd completely forgotten about it. Wasn't it just a department of I.L.M. at the time? [checking] Wiki lists it as just "Lucasfilm" and IMDb lists it as "ILM," so probably just an overlapping department.

In any event, that doesn't take anything away from the man. Started with embers, ended with a blaze. Only a hair less impressive than starting from nothing.

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0

Completely Agree

SheldonCooper's picture

Oh and I completely agree that nothing should be taken away from Mr. Jobs on the Pixar front. He built that company into what it is, no doubt about it. Just, you know, setting the record straight and whatnot. But yeah, all props to Steve Jobs.

One lab accident away from being a supervillain! Bazinga!

didn't take it any other way

Republibot 3.0's picture

>>Just, you know, setting the record straight and whatnot.<<

Yeah, I didn't take it any other way. No sweat.

The Artist Formerly Known As Republibot 3.0