With its debut of three new iPhones, Apple continues its descent from a great awakening of light to a grand distraction of 30 million lights.
Having smashed the image of Big Brother, having had a Nordic goddess hurl her enchanted hammer against a giant screen, what supposedly followed was the disinfectant of truth in the form of a flash of divine revelation—the end of “1984” and the rise of Macintosh. It was a visual with a voice-over, watched by 77 million Americans and replayed almost every day since it aired during a break in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. It was a utopian pledge against a dystopian backdrop. It was no less a distortion of light—it was no more an emanation of godliness—than the godless world it sought to displace. In its place? A veneer of beauty and the veil of virtual reality.
Perhaps the pixel is mightier than the pen, pistol, or sword. Perhaps knowledge of Apple’s practice of planned obsolescence is the forbidden fruit of a corporation whose headquarters encircles the razed fruit orchards of the past. Perhaps a trillion-dollar corporation takes precedence over war and peace.
Perhaps all else pales before this unholy communion between a congregation of reporters and a clergy of marketers and a reverend of design.
Lost in this hymnal of a press release is irony. Lost, too, is how easily the most secular of people sanctify the least sacred of things; as if the light within this windowless chapel comes from the lifting and spreading of hands; as if every hand holds a strip of stained glass, depicting not the trials of Job but the triumphs of Steve Jobs.
The light is bright but soulless.
It is unnatural and unable to nurture the spirit of mankind. It beguiles us with its colors, while it bedevils us with the charms of its creators.
It blinds us to what matters most.
Photo credit: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/S3studio/Getty Images