Sunday, May 29, 2016


The Apple Cult

About 25 years ago I was a computer technical assistant at a large public university. I remember then being struck and puzzled by the cult-like loyalty of my boss and two of my co-workers to Apple and its products. The Macintosh GUI was superior to what Microsoft had on offer at the time but the devotion to Apple exceeded what such a difference could rationally command.

Having recently watched Alex Gibney's excellent documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine I now have much greater insight as to why so many Apple consumers have invested themselves into the products of a huge multinational profit-making entity. Steve Jobs and his PR team deliberately and deftly branded Apple as a countercultural corporation (an oxymoron, to be sure) and the siren call of this manipulative marketing (a redundacy, to be sure) seduced tens of millions and helped changed society for the worse.

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The only father who came looking ...

There are some real flaws in this film but it's still well worth watching.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016


Happy Malcolm X Day

Malcolm Little, better known as Malcolm X, was born on this date in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska.
I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.
Source: Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz a.k.a. Malcolm X as quoted in The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Grove Press, 1965) p. 366.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016


Grazing in the Grass

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016


Quotable: On Presidential Candidates

By the time a man [sic] gets to be presidential material he's been bought ten times over.

Source: Gore Vidal, Newsweek, Nov. 18, 1974, as quoted in America in Quotations (McFarland, 2003) by Bahman Dehgan, ed., p. 177, entry 3138.

See also: Ambrose Bierce's definitions of "politics" and "vote".

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Quotable: Questions & Answers

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers.

Source: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (Penguin, 2000) p. 255.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016


Quotable: The Military Threat to Liberty

A standing Army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the Liberties of the People. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a Body distinct from the rest of the Citizens. They have their Arms always in their hands. Their Rules and their Discipline is severe. They soon become attachd to their officers and disposd to yield implicit Obedience to their Commands. Such a Power should be watchd with a jealous Eye ... Men who have been long subject to military Laws and inured to military Customs and Habits, may lose the Spirit and Feeling of Citizens. And even Citizens, having been used to admire the Heroism which the Commanders of their own Army have displayd, and to look up to them as their Saviors may be prevaild upon to surrender to them those Rights for the protection of which against Invaders they had employd and paid them. We have seen too much of this Disposition among some of our Countrymen.

Source: Samuel Adams, "Founding Father" and American revolutionary, in his letter to James Warren (January 7, 1776) in the Warren-Adams Letters: Being Chiefly a Correspondence Among John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Warren, Vol. 1, 1743-1777, (Massachusetts Historical Society, 1917) pp. 197-198.


Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded ... War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. ... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

Source: James Madison, "Father of the US Constitution" and 4th US President, from his pamphlet entitled Political Observations (April 20, 1795) in the Selected Writings of James Madison (Hackett, 2006) p. 236.

See also:  "John Adams on the Military Threat"

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