In a world of narcissistic, overpaid CEOs, Steve Jobs stands alone. Steve knew it was not enough to produce a good product at a good price—that wasn't going to cut it. To really lure the suckers in, you need to create a religious cult whose central belief system centers around veneration of & unquestioning faith—is there any other kind?—in your products & perfection. And who would lead that cult? Why Steve would, of course!
And Jobs has succeeded, but not beyond his wildest dreams because these are unlimited in scope—he is a narcissist, after all. In a waning Empire with a Consumer Culture, stuff is the answer to everything. But not just any old stuff—it's gotta be the Right Stuff. Jobs made sure that whatever iShit he produced would always be perceived as the answer to what ails us, regardless of the question.
- Question — Manufacturing jobs are leaving the United States like rats fleeing a sinking ship. Apple itself employs 10 times more people in Asia manufacturing iShit than it does here in America. How will we secure good-paying jobs for Americans in the future?
- Answer — Buy an iPhone 4.
Etc. Any nascent religion needs a mythological framework to support it. Naturally, scholars are working hard to describe Apple's central myths. Thus we get The Varieties of Religious Experience: How Apple Stays Divine from Atlantic Magazine blogger Alexis Madrigal —
There are scholars who study Apple's consumers as religious devotees. Consumer behavior specialists Russell Belk of York University and Gulnur Tumbat of San Francisco State, even put together a framework for assessing Apple's mystical mythology. The company was built on four key myths, they argued.
Here are the four narratives, as summarized by media scholar Texas A&M's Heidi Campbell, who distilled their work for her May paper "How the iPhone became divine":
- a creation myth highlighting the counter-cultural origin and emergence of the Apple Mac as a transformative moment;
- a hero myth presenting the Mac and its founder Jobs as saving its users from the corporate domination of the PC world;
- a satanic myth that presents Bill Gates as the enemy of Mac loyalists;
- and, finally, a resurrection myth of Jobs returning to save the failing company...
The stories they identified aren't myths in the sense that they aren't true, but more in the Joseph Campbell sense of being a story that helps people make sense of their relationship with the world...
Did the recent iPhone 4 antennae fiasco change the belief in the infallibility of Mac technologies and Jobs himself? Fuck, no! How could it? — it's a consumer cult!
But after last week's press conference quelled questions about the company's practices and this week's iPhone sales report, Jobs not only seems like a hero again, but he reinforced the resurrection myth too.
Jobs even let media representatives into an inner sanctum at Apple, the antenna testing center. Fans responded with appropriate enthusiasm at being shown one of the powerful shrines to Jobs' dedication to perfection...
"This resurrection myth, and the belief in the infallibility of Mac technologies is going to keep people still invested," Campbell said.
Who said materialism can not be a religion?
Occasionally the question arises as to whether Americans will wake up & smell the coffee. Will they realize just how bad things are? Will they rebel? Will there be riots in the streets? A revolution? Will the young figure out that they have been sold down the river? That the future doesn't work, no matter what we do on our current path?
I believe the answer to these questions will always be more or less the same: buy an iPhone 4.
Both The three videos below are worth watching if you want to understand the Apple Cult. The first, called Apple iPhone Mania Is Actually A Profound Phenomena, features a discussion by Tech Ticker's Aaron Task and Henry Blodget describing the hysteria surrounding the release of the iPhone 4. The second is brought to us by tinywatch productions at YouTube. This video speaks for itself.
Update: I won't likely be returning to this subject anytime soon, so I've added another informative video from the Onion News Network.