Talking the cult of Apple on ABC Gold Coast

ABC logoToday the iPhone 6 went on sale, and of course the Apple fanchildren went into their usual semi-crazed state waiting for the Apple Stores to open — even on the Gold Coast.

ABC Gold Coast morning presenter Nicole Dyer decided to give me a call to explain the phenomenon, and here’s the recording.

She asked me about Stephen Fry’s review of the iPhone 6 for The Guardian. I was not complimentary. I referred to it as “one of the most embarrassing pieces of technology writing in the history of electricity”.

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The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The 9pm Edict #21

The Australian government continues to use the world’s most vulnerable people as political footballs. We discover the ultimate Ayn Rand porn. And Stephen Fry is a patronising racist who should be thrown off television. Not really news, but it’s time people understood.

In this episode of the Edict, you’ll also hear why political strategist Mark Textor pisses me off. And I mention this cartoon by First Dog on the Moon.

Continue reading “The 9pm Edict #21”

Talking regulating social media on ABC Radio National

On Thursday 9 August I had the very great pleasure of discussing the regulation of social media with the ABC’s Waleed Aly.

As I’ve been writing these catch-up posts today, I’ve become aware that there’s been quite a bit of media commentary on this topic lately. People are seeing Bad Things happening online and want to Make It Stop.

Even my own small media involvement has seen this topic come up, since the beginning of July, at Crikey, ABC Local Radio, Balls Radio and probably elsewhere. It almost makes me want to use Gerry Anderson’s special machine.

Actually it’s all been fun. But what makes this conversation stand out is that Mr Aly is a bloody intelligent bloke, witty and incisive all at once. As just one example, here’s the observation with which he ended the interview.

Anyone who wanted to have the power to read people’s minds, I think, has the internet and now realises that power might be something more of a curse.

While the conversation took as its starting-point the outrage over the discovery of a Facebook page full of offensive jokes about Aboriginal people, we also talk about Facebook’s inconsistency in enforcing their own rules, and I call for Stephen Fry’s program QI to be taken off television.

ABC Radio has posted their version of the audio at Regulating social media, where for some reason they fail to mention my involvement. Here’s mine.

Both versions start off with a brief interview with Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Helen Szoke. My interview starts at around 6 minutes 40 seconds.

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The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Links for 22 October 2009 through 27 October 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 22 October 2009 through 27 October 2009, published after far too long a break. I really, really do need to work out a better way of doing this…

Smartphones as sexual display

On one of my recent visits to NSW Parliament House on Macquarie Street the security guard who X-rayed my bag noted that while it contained plenty of Apple kit, such as my MacBook Pro, I carried a Nokia phone rather than an iPhone. “That’s because I haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid,” I replied. “Plus they’re all just tools for a job.”

Many people do seem to choose their devices more through brand identity than practical value. I was going to write more about that, but that renowned bastard Stephen Fry has beaten me to it. It’s all about sexual display.

When two businessmen drop down in neighbouring aeroplane seats and each gets out a smartphone an electricity will crackle between them like that between two sexually heated adolescents whose thighs have accidentally touched in the backseat of the school bus. If one businessman fishes from his shirt pocket a BlackBerry while the other gets out an iPhone a whole range of complex thoughts will begin to boil in the brains of each: resentment, contempt, insecurity and irritation are merely the emotions bubbling closest to the surface: deep down, dark and primal forces stir. We do not possess antlers, horns or tusks, we cannot display fans of feather or manes of fur, the best we can do is express our personality, aspirations, beliefs, outlook, sexual potency, status, right to breed and place in the hierarchy through the choices we make in our possessions: and no possession, here in the early part of the twenty-first century, speaks quite so loudly as our smartphone. Once upon a time it was our motorcar and in the future it may well be a robot, a rocket-pack or a hoverpenis that defines us, but for the moment it is, for good or ill, a smartphone.

Many women reading this will detect that the foregoing is an issue almost entirely for males, who remain the prime sufferers in this kind of tribal status war. My suspicion is that women are, if not immune, far less emotionally bound up in the business than men. I may be wrong and welcome clarification either way on this point.

I do realise that quoting Stephen Fry doesn’t make up for writing an original piece, but at least it means I’m trying to keep up to date with my writing.