The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 29 June 2007]

A dark and hungry god arises

The hype about the iPhone mystifies Nic.

So. The iPhone. Yeah. Today is June 29th and the iPhone hits the streets. Chaos, mayhem, and commerce.

Without having actually seen the product itself, it does seem like a very cool gadget, just to get that out of the way. This is not one of those “I is a hedge fund guy and teh iPhone is teh suck and teh oh, hey what did you say I just ran out of coke” posts.

It seems lovely, really. The kind of device that would be nice to have.

But with the current level of froth and madness, we’re not talking about the kind of device that would be nice to have. We are talking about the end of cancer, the end of world hunger, the end of All that is Bad.

Of course, the iPhone is a device. Really. A gadget. Just a thingy. Not a shred of cancer-curing in sight.

It is very interesting to watch from the sidelines as a gadget, a manufactured piece of electronics, goes from “Hey, that thing could certainly make my daily existence a little bit easier and thus it is worth spending some money on” to “OH MY F**ING GOD THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVAR.”

So the question becomes, why are so many otherwise sane people deciding that spending hours and hours in a line to shell out $500 for a piece of plastic plus two years of at minimum $60 a month bondage to AT&T a rational thing to do?

There are three options, and they are presented here in descending order of depressiveness:

1) The iPhone will heal the emptiness in my soul. It is expensive and has a big marketing campaign, and thus spending time waiting for it will help me feel less wounded and hopeless. Once it’s in my shivering, shaky, sweaty hands, it will turn my life around. Nobody will ever know what Father Tim did to me!

Yeah, that’s the most depressing one. But look around you. How many people do you think fit into that category? As Yoda would say, “Hmmmm?”

2) Homo Sapien is a herd animal. We base what we do on what everybody around us is doing. Once the iPhone made the leap from computer-nerd-thing to mass-market-thing, we all needed to get on board, because oh my Lord everybody else is jonesing for it and it must become mine. What if that guy down the street has one and I don’t?

Slightly less depressing, but still, not something that makes you want to sing kumbaya and fire up the cigarette lighter.

And, finally, the most uplifting alternative:

3) Some people (arguably, a lot of people) really, really like being with other people. Once the iPhone made the leap from computer-nerd-thing to mass-market-thing a whole lot of people twigged to the idea that there would be lines, and that lines are a good thing. If there’s a big line, there must be something worthwhile at the end, and as a bonus, the other people who are in that line must be cool people, so standing in line with them must be a good thing and the experience will be awesome with all these people in line for the thing I’m in line for and that must mean we’re all friends and we all want the same things, and we’re all one, and we should all wear flowers in our hair when we go to get our iPhones….

So, to all those who went, stood, and paid, enjoy your new gadget: feel its smooth surface, relish its connection to the Internet, fill it with your music and movies and perhaps wonder what else you could have done with those lost hours.

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