It’s safe to say that Maureen Tkacik is exploring a new form of hate journalism with this piece on Steve Jobs. It begins like this:
Steve Jobs smelled so foul that none of his co-workers at Atari in the seventies would work with him. Entreating him to shower was usually futile; he’d inevitably claim that his strict vegan diet had rid him of body odor, thus absolving him of the need for standard hygiene habits.
It continues like this:
In 1982, he was so repulsed by the “messy and inelegant” sight of so much “work being done by hand” in a Tokyo Sony factory that he refused to order their disk drives. His underlings circumvented this particular decree by hiring a Sony engineer whom they banished to the closet whenever Jobs visited.
And it ends like this:
But like all the other internal contradictions that seem to endlessly fascinate the punditry elite about Steve Jobs, this apparent conflict between Jobs’ profound affinity for technology and his bizarre unwillingness to allow it to save his life is another pointless straw man that only serves to further elide the very Jobsian simplicity that lies beneath:
There once lived one of those really obstinate assholes who will constantly tell you he couldn’t change his assholic ways if it killed him. It killed him.
And you know what? I read every word. It ran in the blog section of Reuters’ site, so I guess it didn’t have to be “balanced” or anything. It most assuredly isn’t. But most of the hagiography we’ve been reading since October isn’t very balanced, either. So here’s some balance, a piece that throbs with life, if a bile-infused form of it.
She says some mean things about Phil Knight, too. Now that I can get behind.
It does raise the question, though: Why are we so intent that people who do one thing well have to be “good,” too? Miles Davis played trumpet like a dark angel when he wasn’t bouncing Cicely Tyson off the walls. We all know how Bill Clinton blew off steam. One of the things I admire about Apple is how it doesn’t sit around waiting for a focus group to tell it what comes next. No, you don’t need a floppy drive, it told us, and gave us a floppy-less iMac. Now it’s saying you don’t need a CD drive, either, and voila, MacBook Air.
Jobs was an asshole, for sure. (Or maybe he just had “assholic ways,” a phrase I’ll be stealing, I think.) But he moved the game forward in a significant way. We don’t have to like him, but we should give him that.
Another day, more Truth Squad-ery. The Club for Growth is really pounding that “he voted for the bridge to nowhere” thing in ads these days. I understand the boys mixed it up on the very same in the CNN debate. I’m going to write a blog about this for 42 North, I think, but let me just break the sound barrier here first: I agree with Rick Santorum on this. The bill that contained the BtoN was SAFETEA-LU, a giant highway appropriations omnibus, loaded to the roof with cash, trundling around the country leaving piles of it for local projects. OK, the BtoN wasn’t the wisest way to spend $368 million, but it was never built and besides, who should decide where Alaska should spend its federal highway money? Washington, or Juneau? Rick Santorum, on this we can agree. This one thing. Maybe there is a god.
Any bloggage? How about this: I love it when I read a headline that tells me, you need not waste another second of your time reading more. In this case: Will a dash of bitters do anything at all? Thanks, copy editors.
In Fort Wayne, an antidote to Cookie Bob: Man saves 11-year-old from double dog attack, using a discarded bottle. What a mensch. And a nice job by my former colleague Ellie Bogue, who got the story, got the pix and even included one of the dead dogs.
But here’s a live one. Because not all pit bulls are bad. From the Dogs Against Romney pack, who bring the energy of a thousand terriers to their work:
I ride inside, too. Snowstorm tomorrow night. Finally!