‘Carthage must be destroyed’

Psychology researcher Phillip Hammack has made a significant contribution to the literature on gay men like himself. He’s published his work in a few forms, including peer-reviewed papers and at least one presentation. Upon my request, Hammack sent me a copy of one version, entitled “Gay Men’s Health and Identity from a Life-Course Perspective.”

Heavily excerpted below, Hammack sees five generations of gay men:

  1. The Stigma Generation:

    Men of this generation were born in the 1930s and experienced early adulthood in the 1950s, just as the gay civil-rights movement was getting underway but before [Stonewall]. Today, these men are in their 70s and 80s….

    They have been witness to the gay and lesbian civil-rights movement from its birth to its height and [have been witness to] its triumphs and setbacks. They saw the transformation of gay identity from a diagnosable mental illness to a legitimate social identity. They have been witness to the entire AIDS epidemic, and of course lost many to the disease. But they have survived. They carry with them the psychological and physical legacy of these experiences. They navigated cultural stigma, the hostility of health and mental-health practitioners, [and] threats to their individual and collective well-being too numerous to count. They are our gay elders; we hear their voices far less than we should.

  2. The Stonewall Generation:

    Born in the 1940s, experiencing early adulthood during the 1960s, and today [aged] in their 60s and 70s, many men of this generation were active in the gay and lesbian civil-rights movement and benefitted from experiencing gay liberation at the height of their adulthood…. Hence unlike members of the Stigma Generation, they experienced an even longer period of their [lives] significantly more free from stigma and criminalization. But also like the Stigma Generation, they experienced the devastation of AIDS and the major setbacks to the movement that it brought with it, as well as a complete reframing of gay sexual culture away from the days of liberation toward the fight of AIDS through safer-sex practices.

  3. The AIDS 1 Generation:

    Born in the 1950s and 1960s, hence experiencing critical periods of adolescence and early adulthood during the 1970s, following Stonewall but before the AIDS epidemic emerged. Today they are in their 40s [through] early 60s. Members of this generation experienced tremendous losses… [but] they were perhaps the hardest hit by AIDS. Those who have survived are significantly traumatized.

  4. The AIDS 2 Generation:

    Men of my generation were born in the 1970s, hence experienced their childhood and adolescence with the AIDS epidemic, making a strong association between their emerging realization of same-sex desire with inevitable disease and death. But we did not experience the personal losses of [the previous] generation. We grew up at a time when health and mental-health practitioners were increasingly supportive, when gay youth programs began to thrive in major urban centers, and when information about gay health and identity was increasingly accessible (even before the Internet). We grew up at time when we worried enough about AIDS to be vigilant about condom use….

    We saw the discourse shift from AIDS to marriage equality, bypassing other important civil-rights issues like nondiscrimination legislation and transgender rights [sic]. Now approaching midlife, we no longer see our life course as inevitably abbreviated. We are not universally sentenced to a premature death.

  5. The Post-AIDS Generation or the Marriage-Equality Generation:

    Born in the 1980s and 1990s, members of this generation are now mostly in their teens and 20s…. [This is] the first generation to now experience their same-sex desires absent the same fear of AIDS that consumed members of my generation when we were beginning to have sex…. They are not “post-gay,” but their understanding of gay identity is different [from that of] their gay brothers of previous generations. We are only beginning to hear the voices of this generation on their own terms rather than through the lens of paradigms constructed with gay men of prior generations.

For a while I thought Hammack was blind to the current generation. I thought there were six generations of gay men, not five. Instead I now fear that Hammack is unaware of what this current generation actually believes. Those beliefs add up to the complete eradication of gay as not just a concept but a population of men.

What he should be calling the Queer Generation believes:

  • They are not “gay,” merely sexual, or, in their terminology, queer. Intercourse between members of the opposite sex, if definitionally possible at all (see below), can be and is queer if its participants say so.

  • Since gay does not exist for them, homophobia functionally does not exist either. Hence their concerns are more putatively global or humanistic, which is another way of saying the thing that most morally offends them is racism. Every human-rights transgression is racism in some guise.

  • Men had a good run but women are better, obviously. Manhood either does not exist or is a toxic character flaw to be remedied. A queer man has no masculine traits whatsoever and considers those a dead giveaway of racism when encountered in other males.

  • Since men should be more like women, it follows that anyone can be any gender they claim to be. A penis is a female organ and fathers can give birth. They believe there actually are two kinds of people, cisgendered and transgendered. (Intersexed persons are transgendered.) It stands to reason that transgenders can be as gay as cisgenders.

  • Given all the above, there is no such thing as fixed gender, sex, sexuality, or sexual orientation. All of those are mere labels with no objective reality past or present. All of those labels can be detached, reattached, and mixed and matched at will.

To emphasize, there are two unforgivable traits in the eyes of this generation. One is to be racist, and they will indeed be the judge of that. The other is to be masculine, unless you are a “transman,” in which case more power to you.

This generation treats its beliefs like a loyalty oath that is a package deal you must sign (no exceptions). If you so much as quibble with any of the Queer Generation’s precepts, let alone challenge them out loud, you’re a racist.

Family hatred and AIDS did not kill gay men off. But have some patience: The Queer Generation is just getting started.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.01.31 13:12. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/01/31/gay5g/

From my friend in an Xtra comment that is essentially impossible to link to and is as fungible as, say, the job security of a Pink Triangle Press Web developer or journalist:

Michelle, if you were savvy enough to detect the sad undercurrent in these posts by gay men over and across the blog world, the reason is that white gay men over 45 have had three holocausts thrust onto us:

  1. Family and society rejection, which historically went without saying when people 45 and older were young (unlike youth in the last 10 years or more).

  2. A death plague that destroyed our entire fledgling social experiment in open homosexual maleness, which collapsed into death and loss and horror (with the survivors struggling about trying to make sense of our second life holocaust).

  3. And now the third… homonational pinkwashing – the theoretical positioning of white gay men as the enemy of all queer and trans peoples around the world, the oppressors of all queers and trans of colour and gender.

Once again a societal bully has selected gay men as the target, as the bad guys, as the oppressors, cissy racist sexist hegemonic collusion with power and privilege over people of colour’s colonization. Has a group ever been more targeted as the fall guy for hate and envy and attack? There it is. Read it and weep.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.01.28 13:54. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/01/28/gayholocausts/


The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience by Perry Halkitis is an academic volume that was long awaited by some of us. The context was this sequence: How to Survive a Plague ☞ Spencer Cox dies ☞ ACT UP reunion ☞ ACT UP Alumni ☞ this coïncidentally-well-timed book.

The book was and is in no appreciable demand at the library and I got it immediately. The AIDS Generation reports on Halkitis’s interviews with 15 long-term gay-male HIV survivors. In general they were interviewed in two-hour-long conversations and in group settings. This is the strength of the book: Direct survivor testimony.

But the book is a mess. It’s badly typeset (a book set in Times Roman in 2014?), badly structured, and above all badly edited. I don’t just mean the endless typos, most of which any spellchecker could have caught. I refer especially to the intentional choice, much discussed in the front matter, to use what Halkitis does not even understand to be narrow phonetic transcription for interviews. Every goddamned um and ah and interjection is rendered on the page, sometimes incorrectly. This is not how you transcribe an interview! You use a reasonably broad phonetic transcription and include ums and ahs only when they are actually meaningful. Yes, you the transcriber are expected to know which ones are and are not meaningful. Narrow, direct transcription does not give you a flavour of the spoken word. A book does not contain the spoken word.

Hence the quotations are borderline incomprehensible, and the sequencing shows that nobody really knew how to edit this thing. I read the whole damned book and almost the only quotes of value came about in a few pages near the end, in which eldergays accurately describe their complete estrangement from gay culture, which they suspect no longer exists. (In fact, they don’t realize it’s been intentionally destroyed by queers and LGBTs.)

I had to severely copy-edit these excerpts just so you could actually read and understand them. The originals really were that bad.

  • Patrick:

    I’m in a relationship with someone [who’s] a little bit younger than I am. I really enjoy my apartment. I like being home. I come home from work and I enjoy being home…. I’ve done the gay-bar thing. I’ve done the circuit parties. I’ve done all that stuff….

    “Come on. It’s good for you to go out!” So we went out a couple of weeks ago – we went out to a bar on 9th Ave. and [I] said, you know, we did that a year ago and I hated it because… they’re all so young. I was bitter; I’m a bitter old queen. And I thought “This is terrible.” [...]

    There are some men that love to see the youth. That revives them. [Me,] not so much. I like to be around people my own age… with similar experiences.

  • Tyronne:

    The younger ones, I think they’re not nice to the older gay men, but the older gay men are nice to the older gay ones. I see that a lot now, especially around the ages where I’m at. I guess maybe because we have a group, and we’re always talking about how gay people need to start being a little bit more concerned for each other, a little bit more caring, you know, and not trying to knock a girl down…. [W]e’re always trying to do something, so the older ones do [that], but not the younger ones so much, and they seem like they’re hard to [give advice to] and teach now.

  • Kerry:

    I think the gay community came together in a way in the ’80s like it never had before – but I see it as completely splintered now and I don’t see any focus on anything anymore. And that saddens me a little bit. Because there is no history anymore. All of our history died. [...]

    The loss and devastation were matched in slightly later years by the disbanding of the gay community. We got a pill. “Stay away from them and you’ll be fine.” We totally left lesbians in the dust – just turned on them after they held our hands while we died. I do yearn for the community of the past in the very worst way and hope in my lifetime to see it again under much happier circumstances. I feel that I don’t fit in anywhere in the gay community now. Then we were all one, accepting of each other, and that is no longer the case.

  • Hal:

    It seems there are plenty of single older gay men yearning for company and sitting lonely. We have the desire of sexual appetite but far fewer opportunities. Yearning becomes a way of life. It’s sad to see and sad to be.

Further, I was shocked to read Halkitis completely dismiss, and I do mean completely dismiss, the work of Walt Odets with HIV-negative gay males. Halkitis and his quoted subjects dismissed our lives completely. Shouldn’t they know how that feels?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.01.24 14:56. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/01/24/halkitis/

I’m not sure I backed a winner with Fabrice Neaud. (It’s “No” [one syllable] not Néaud [two]. And even a perfectionist like me has trouble typing his deceptive surname properly.)

Assortment of books (and slipcase)

Since the summer, I have variously sat there with a PDF Webcomic on one monitor and Google Translate on the other monitor (sometimes Bing – each has its strengths), or lying down with either of those services on one’s iPhone. (Once or twice, I was in fact that guy on the subway reading a graphic novel in French.) I put in this much effort to read the original because I discovered Fabrice Neaud in translation. There were two points of introduction.

  • YAG Tragix: Ugh!! Flagrant heterosexuals am flaunting their lifestyle! Take it back to straight ghetto! Months ago I lined up with wall-to-wall nerds to enter the marketplace of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival at TRL. There indeed stood tall Justin Hall, editor of the compilation I had heard so much about, No Straight Lines. (I quizzed him on the origin of the Gay Comix [Yag Tragyx] cover I barely remembered: “Him not even nelly!” Of course Justin could rhyme off every fact and figure.) I chatted him up about how I had put in a blue suggestion form for his book, which was taking forever to show up. I’ve got the last hardcover copies here, he said. But days later, my TPL hardcover copy was in hand.

  • On a slow Sunday morning at my haunt, I turned a page in No Straight Lines and found a strange gripping nearly-dialogue-free autobiographical piece entitled “Émile.” It feels a lot like La Jetée, a recherché reference I am allowed to make given the context and the accented letters. (It turns out there’s an English translation of “Émile” available online, but it’s terrible. Read the version in No Straight Lines.)

    First pages of original translated and ‘No Straight Lines’ versions

Representational art

It’s easy to be impressed by highly representational and lifelike drawing skills, but I know that lifelike illustration is hard to do.

Seated young fella in bomber jacket and Doc Martens

In “Émile,” every hair on every nape of neck is right there in photographic detail. But Neaud writes in as much detail as he draws. After I started reading Neaud in the original I had a hard time believing the vocabulary. The last time I read French this recherché (again) was from Adrian Frutiger.

“Émile” is ostensibly about an infatuation with a soldier. Soldiers, for Neaud, are an archetype. He happens to live near a military training garrison. He sees these guys around, and sometimes they see him.

Soldier glares, and another soldier looks askance over his shoulder, at Neaud

Fabrice Neaud is an archetypal skinny intellectual who lives for, who just cannot get his head around, big strong masculine guys. He especially can’t believe it when, once in a blue moon, they go to bed with him. [continue with “Fabrice Neaud” →]

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.01.19 13:45. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/01/19/neaud/

Local journo isn’t quite as clever as she thinks she is.

Update

(2014.01.21) Let’s ask another nisei Chinese journalist, Jennifer 8 Lee, where the 8 comes from:

The number 8 has a near-mystical following in Chinese society. License plates with 8s are auctioned off for astronomical prices (which almost always contain an 8) in Hong Kong. In Taiwan, phone numbers with an excessive number of 8s can be purchased from the phone company. Chinese-American businesses are bouncing in glee at the toll-free 888 numbers that were recently introduced.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.01.16 22:32. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/01/16/ho/

Natalie Horbachevsky and Brooke Carey. They’re the editrixen listed in the acknowledgements to Leander Kahney’s Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products.

Rather defying the model I used with Design Is a Job, another unedited book, I actually took notes on the lack of editing in Jony Ive. (Or I could have done what I increasingly do: Take a picture of the first mistake, mail it to the author asking for an explanation, get none, close the book, return it to the library, and mark it unread.)

I gave Kahney a chance to read and comment on my error list. I did the same to one of the editrixen – the one who is vaguely reachable via Facebook. No response. (Kahney didn’t respond to an earlier E-mail about the error on pp. 80–81.)

There is an expectation that authors turn in clean, accurate copy. Few do; some simply cannot (Peggy Atwood can’t even spell, Jan Wong discovered). That’s why we have editors. When they turn out to be incompetent, as these two are, you the reader pay the price. If I can spot these mistakes and, with relative ease, keep note of them, how did they survive at least four sets of eyes – Kahney’s, the editrixen’s, and those of “the boss” at Portfolio Books, Adrian Zackheim?

  • 27: “When he arrived, [Clive] Grinyer was amazed to find the apartment filled with more than a hundred foam model prototypes of Jony’s project…. When most students might build half a dozen models, Jony had built a hundred.”

  • I don’t believe the book’s three separate claims (that means one claim incompetently edited) that Apple did and still does use outside model shops.

    • 57: “Today, even a company as big as Apple uses external shops for finished models.”

    • 119–120: “Jony consolidated the model shop into the design studio.”

    • 168 (verb tense sic): “Before presenting ideas to Jobs or another executive, the making of realistic mockups are outsorced to a model shop…. Jony’s group frequently uses Fancy Models Corporation…. ‘Apple spent millions on models made by that company,’ said a former designer,” but there is no fact-checking whatsoever with Fancy Models. Again, I call bullshit.

    Similarly (174), “[a]s was usual for such exploratory, blue-sky projects, Apple went looking for an outside consultant” is a baldfaced claim on which I also call bullshit. (The next paragraph explains how that outside consultant was Tony Fadell. I don’t see how that history is distinguishable from simply hiring Fadell, which is what ended up happening. The idea that Apple as a matter of course farms out the most imaginative projects is absurd.)

  • 69: “talented, ambitious designers were more inclined to go to firms with a strong creative history like the Bay Area’s Ideo…. Over time, Brunner recruited a team of talented designers.”

  • 80–81: “Christopher Stringer… had been raised in the North of England. He attended North Staffordshire Polytechnic…. The impression that they are close friends is enhanced by their shared history; [semicolon sic] both hail from Staffordshire and studied in the north [lower case sic] of England.”

  • Color Classic: “One of [De Iuliis’s] early projects was the Macintosh Color Classic, an update of the original Mac that exuded character and was avidly collected by fans for years” (70:5). “One of the first Espresso products was the Macintosh Color Classic, an update of Steve Jobs’s original Mac, for which De Iuliis is given credit…. Enthusiastic users went crazy for it and turned the machine into a highly collectable [sic] machine” that was probably a couple of things, but chiefly a machine (84:2).

  • 77: Gosh, even the Dutch don’t use the florin anymore.

    On top of all this, Jony was under an extremely tight deadling with enormous pressures to delivƒer.
  • What’s Marj Andresen’s name? Is it Marj Andresen (117, index) or Marjorie Andresen (126, 150)?

  • 154: “The Ice iBook was made of transparent polycarbonate, with a white coating of paint applied to the inside surface…. [T]he Ice iBook cemented the shift in Jony’s design language from multicolored plastics toward plain black-and-white polycarbonate designs…. Jony would transition most of Apple’s consumer products, including the iMac and iPod, to black-and-white polycarbonate casings.”

  • 156: “Customers loved,” indeed, “[s]ome customers went crazy for,” the G4 Cube, except “the public reaction to the new machines was cooler than Jony and Jobs had hoped.” (And Kahney doesn’t deal with the fact the computer would turn itself off if you covered its capacitive power switch.)

  • 159: Yes, we know where the design studio is [on Valley Green Drive “(across the road from Apple’s main campus)”] because you told us that way back on 68.

  • 160: Ive’s favourite chair is the Supporto. “Jony… selected it for the new Industrial Design Centre in Cupertino, California, and for his designers, all of whom sit at Support desks with leather chairs.” In what respect did Apple ever have an Industrial Design Centre (sic)? Isn’t this whole chapter about that? Then why do we have to be told “in Cupertino, California”?

  • I would put the discussion of security at the Industrial Design Center on one page, not spread it over 160 and 163.

  • 160:2: “To the left of the entrance is a well-equipped kitchen with a large table where Jony’s team conducts their biweekly brainstorming sessions.” 166:2: “Weekly meetings ensure the design process is collaborative. Two or three times a week,” hence not actually “weekly,” “Jony’s entire team gathers around the kitchen table for brainstorming sessions.”

  • 167: “Sketching is fundamental to their workflow.” The rest of the page explains how and why. 168:2: “A lot of sketching happens in these weekly sessions.”

  • If you’re going to write in American English, at least commit to it. Perspex is Plexiglas (178, 183). A spirit level is just a level. Aluminium (endlessly discussed: 204, 241, 255:4) is aluminum (198:3). The term anglepoise lamp is, first of all, ridiculous, but is comprehensible only outside the U.S. and Canada and has no analogue in American. (A phrase like “the design of a classic Tizio lamp” [86] is necessary.) Apple’s awarding Ive “a big pay rise” is a claim obviously made by a Brit.

  • Also, Leander Kahney is Irish and, while he may think of people’s heights and weights in Imperial units, for almost everything else he’s used the metric system all his life. Hence what’s an “oz.” (195)? Can Kahney tell me what 0.4 of an “oz.” feels like? (But could he tell me what 100 grams feels like?)

  • 228: Yards of Gorilla Glass? (Furlongs wide? How many “oz.” does it weigh?)

  • 192–193: I’m just wondering if Jony Ive’s Bentley Brooklands is fast and powerful and what its zero-to-60 time is. “It’s another powerful machine, capable of reaching sixty miles per hour from a standing stop in five seconds. As well as being fast and powerful, Aston Martins are known for their innovative production methods. Their cars are built from unusual, lightweight materials like aluminum, magnesium[,] and carbon fiber,” not a one of which is unusual in any way in automotive manufacture. (243: We know about Aston Martin, thanks.)

  • TBWA Chiat Day is just TBWA Chiat Day. Maybe – maybe – it’s TBWA/Chiat/Day (193). It isn’t TBWA\Chiat\Day (128).

  • 194: “Within two years of launch, the iPod was made Windows[‑]compatible (it [sic]) would have been quicker, but acquiescing to Windows was a big psychological barrier for Jobs).” Yes, we know: “The iPod sold only modestly at first and didn’t take off until two years later, when it was made fully compatible with Windows” (185). Yet nowhere are we told about the switch from FireWire, which Windows machines did not have, to USB, which essentially all computers were equipped with by that point.

  • Kahney can’t quite get his head around the idea that a magazine may call itself ICON but is actually Icon, and that the iPod (and Mac) Mini, Shuffle, Nano, and Classic are all written thus (and not in lower case; “iPod Classic” was never lower case). The Duo Dock was written thus (60). (And “split keyboards” did not catch on. I should know.) A Lightning cable is not a lightning cable (239).

  • Semicolon is wrong (194:4); look it up. 196: “no beige please, we’re British” (quotes in original) is mispunctuated no matter how many times you’ve seen it rendered that way. Kahney et al. somehow think it’s classy to write every possible number as a word (and not just in discussing zero-to-60 times): Frog’s “Apple billings rose to more than two million dollars a year” (63).

    Similarly (236), writing out the expansion of ABS (as in plastic) doesn’t make you look smart. ABS is a word, just like JPEG, GPS, and HDPE are.

  • 195:2: “Eventually, Apple was selling a player at every $50 price point between $50 and $550.” Yes, Horace Dediu told us that in 2011: “Including all the pricing options, it’s a very regular pattern. It reminds me of the iPod, which at one time was sold at every $50 increment point from $50 to $500.” I guess that’s not quite plagiarism (and Biz Stone did the same to me once).

  • Massive senior square:

    • 199: “Jobs promoted Jony to senior vice president of industrial design, elevating him to the same senior level as Rubinstein.”

    • 203: “Over the years, Cook fine-tuned the system until it was capable of delivering millions of products in secret just in time for massive product launches, accounting for much of Apple’s massive growth.”

    • 205:2,3: “The Mac Mini looked relatively simple, but its case was surprisingly complex. The Mini’s square case was made from sheet aluminum extruded into a square shape.”

  • Actually, going back to 203–4: Explain how Apple actually can manufacture millions of units of unannounced products in secret. (You can’t.)

  • And going back to 205: Who was the U.S. “manufacturer” or “supplier” of aluminum? (Both terms are used.)

  • 204:2: The TiBook G4 “had to be coated in a metallic paint to protect against scratches and fingerprints, but the paint had a tendency to flake off.” Actually, it wore off, and we know that already because you told us on 153:2.

  • Page 209 is repetitive and contains another of the book’s endless unverified anecdotes.

  • 210: At least the fourth statement that Ive spends weeks or months at a time in China.

  • 238: Unibody manufacturing is so famous we won’t bother to explain what it is for two more pages.

  • 244:3: The paragraph in question is barely intelligible and relies on Jony Ive’s favourite expression from the world of industrial design: “This step is followed by a series of increasingly precise milling operations that create the finished part. The key caps and input ports are cut out. Screw bosses are cut and internal struts and ribs are shaped.” Among other things, you’re saying the Vietnamese, Thai, and Russian “key caps” are “cut out” at this stage? Is that how the keyboard is really manufactured?

  • 256: You keep telling us about CBE and its hierarchy in the Queen’s awards.


I gave up completely at 260, and so should the author have. But I suppose I’m not done yet.

  • Should I even bother asking why a book published in late 2013 acts as though its designer (Alissa Amell) used a leftover PostScript Type 1 font, ITC Giovanni, with nothing but and as ligatures?

  • By far the worst structural failing of this exercise in celebrity biography is the fact that all quotes from Ive derive from previous publications. Kahney had no access whatsoever to Ive, a fact he refuses to actually disclose. (Unless he did so after page 260. I kid: On 274 he blithely states “Apple did not respond to several requests for comment.” This is not a statement of the fact that Jonathan Ive would not talk to Kahney.)

    What neither Kahney nor his incapable editrixen realize is that every single quote from another source, irrespective of whom it’s attributed to, must be fact-checked anew. You have to call up every quoted source and verify that they actually said that (without reading the quote back to them). This will come as a shock, surely even to you. Combined with Kahney’s blandishment about Apple and his “requests for comment,” I contend neither he nor his editrixen actually know how to carry out full, thorough verification of a nonfiction book. That’s why they did not verify this book, according to all indications I can see.

  • How many of the newly-reported facts are even true? Kahney almost plagiarized Horace Dediu; Dediu quoted Kahney while I was putting this list together. The line Dediu quotes from the book (203) refers to Apple’s enterprise resource planning system, which I, a fan of hyphenation, do not think is hyphenated (Kahney does). Here it is: “Later, the ERP was extended into Apple’s own retail stores and became so precise it tracked and reported sales every four minutes.” Citation needed.

    In retrospect, I don’t trust half the “facts” I read in this book, which packs in more malapropisms than Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. (That book was well and truly eviscerated by John Siracusa, but he did that in the evanescent medium of a podcast. He might as well have been talking to somebody on the phone, or muttering in his sleep.) What repetitiveness and warmed-over quotes are to Kahney fundamental technical incomprehension is to Isaacson. (And that carried through yea unto the audiobook, which mispronounced OS X as Oh Ess Eks. “OSX” is how Isaacson wrote it. His editors were incompetent, too.)

  • Also, a question about accuracy in quotation. How many times did sources utter the acronym “ID” instead of saying “industrial design”?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.01.16 14:39. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/01/16/kahney/

If you need a new iPhone and you buy anything but the iPhone 5S, your wang might as well be a mangina as far as Silicon Valley nerds are concerned. If you don’t need a new phone but simply want one and the one you want is a “pink” iPhone 5C, you must be either a Japanese schoolgirl, or some other kind of girl, or some kind of homo.

It is just axiomatic and obvious to everyone who writes a technology blog (that’s the first problem right there) that features trump all else. The same nerds who snigger at Android, Wintel, and “FLOSS” apologists for their lame-ass arguments about superior clock speed walk right into the same open manhole with the 5S, except in this case it’s more like a portable hole with Touch ID functionality.

The tech specs of the 5S are used like a weapon. Conveniently, the 5S gives nerds the cover story of appreciating good design. (It’s an Apple product. Jony Ive designed it.) If we accept that people who buy “Android” phones either are befuddled, were swindled by a salesman, or simply have bad taste or no taste, let’s now finally accept that Apple supremacists can exhibit the wrong taste – a valourization of functionality and rationalism that is actually an Aspergerian deficit of emotional intelligence. Ten years after the Bondī-blue iMac, nerds’ rejection of colour comes off as asinine and immature.

Pink it is not

My esteemed colleague bought a 64-gig 5S. (Using every trick in the book, he got it for a song.) He has it loaded up with the same “content” his 4S had – birder apps, Grindr/Scruff and analogues, and hundreds of well-categorized fatso, bear, and musclebear nude selfies and dick pics. And many, many reptile and baby-animal photos. (As you do.) Because he isn’t a superstitious Chinese woman who scatters 8s everywhere, he didn’t buy the golden 5S. He has an excellent phone and uses the shit out of it.

Meanwhile, we moved up from two horrendous cellphone plans (inconceivable outside Canada) to a new one with unlimited everything and a shared 10 gigs of data for the price of 3 gigs. It was no trouble at all bartering down the Indian-call-centre salesmen – who have a much peppier style than long-suffering tech-support agents – to give me a free 5C on contract. I now have a phone I can actually use as a telephone and with which I can indiscriminately engage the Internet.

Obviously I got the pink one.

Me and Saatchi before the Christmas tree. I’m holding the phone upside down

Saatchi is so disgusted with my holding the phone upside down that he can’t even look at me

Except it manifestly is not pink. I know that is how it is described in Apple’s own SKUs, but pink it is not.

5C, which is not pink, on a pile of Post-It notes (emblazoned Rosé), which are I saw and touched the 5S and 5C shortly after they went on sale. I fell victim to propaganda and examined the 5S first, especially the golden one. I felt nothing. They were all a complete blah. Viewed from the rear of the display case, the 5Cs looked awesome. Every colour was great even from a distance of six feet with a gold 5S in my hand. The pink colour is more coral or salmon; its defiance of categorization stands it in good stead. There is no way this hue was influenced by the Color Marketing Group and last year’s fad for tangerine cars.

The blue is OK; the white is not exactly nothing (the 3GS and 4S were always better in white); the green is quite nice. The banana yellow, difficult to hit without veering into greenish chartreuse, is excellent. But there was never a question which colour I wanted; “pink” is the winner. People forget that the best colour of the 5G iPod Nano was the purple.

Then I put down the 5S and picked up a 5C. Game over. [continue with “Nerds as if manfully reject the 5C” →]

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2014.01.06 11:59. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2014/01/06/notpink/

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