Monday, May 21, 2012

Hang On To Your Egotism

Recently the Apple Computer folks have rolled out the next "gen" of TV ads. Here's one for the iPad, which you, the consumer, will find really helpful because it tells you not just once, but over and over again, that the product is really really good.

“When a screen becomes this good, colors are more vibrant . . . everything is more brilliant.”

You know, that is vibrant! Though I have no idea how it'd look on the actual iPad—what I'm seeing is filtered through my TV, which lacks the "stunning Retina display." Which makes me wonder—when a screen becomes "this good," is it sharper and clearer than an HD television? Because I’m really not sure how much further into the local newscasters’ pores I want to see.

Meanwhile, Apple is simultaneously pushing the new “Siri” iPhone 4S:

This commercial features Zooey Sevigny, or Coco Deschanel or whoever. Sorry if I'm a bit out of touch—I just can't keep up with these damn hippies and their screwy names. Anyway, in the ad what's-her-name basically talks to herself while holding a phone. I guess it's aimed at lonely single women who want some company but who are allergic to cats.

Another iPhone ad depicts a teenager who is so inept that he can’t do any of the typical things that teenagers do without a pricey device guiding him every step of the way.

How do you play "London Calling"?

He can't figure out where to buy a guitar, how to play a guitar, or even how to talk to girls without the aid of his digital mommy. And yet he insists that his talking phone address him as "Rock God"? If this wide-mouthed little narcissist spent half as much time practicing as he does talking to his iPhone then eventually his band might learn to play a song. Not that it matters—even if his band impressed those girls enough that he found himself with a chance to have sex with one of them he'd just blow it by asking Siri how to use the condom.

I can't help but wonder, how does a teenager end up like this? Must be his parents' fault—it's a pretty sure bet he's a product of the affluent-absentee method of child-rearing: parents working endless hours at high-caliber jobs and atoning for their neglect by buying the kids everything they want. I mean, it’s obvious that Terence Trent Dumby here isn’t paying for his new guitar or his Siri-enabled phone himself; before he got the talking phone he never could’ve figured out how to even look for a job.

Between his parents and his iPhone, this kid is so spoiled he'll never have to do anything for himself.

Well, this has all been fun, but I still can’t say I understand the appeal of these ads. I’m supposed to want the talking phone because, what, I’m too entitled or stupid to operate the internet for myself? Or because I’m lonely? They're certainly not convincing me that it’s worth shelling out something like $600 for a faux-sentient device to keep me company. Besides, there are already much cheaper and cuddlier options for that:

He really enjoys talking to people.

Anyway, as with most things that confuse me, just because I don’t get it doesn’t mean nobody else does. Apple must know what they're doing, since their devices sell like hotcakes (whatever those were). I guess the American Dream isn’t about just making a decent life for yourself anymore. It’s about the fantasy of living like a rock star—only without having to really work for it. Sorry, I meant rock god—like I said, I'm out of touch.

Damn hippies.

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