Imagine All the Fanboys… Over my shoulder the other day, I barely saw a snippet of a segment on CNBC about two guys who were organising some kind of birthday celebration thing for Steve Jobs who, sadly, won’t celebrate anymore real, earthly realm birthdays. After grumbling under my breath about how stupid that seemed, I recalled the scene from the John Lennon docu-pic “Imagine” where a dirty, young hippie was caught sleeping (stalking?) in the garden of Lennon’s gigantic mansion: Tittenhurst.
The “security detail”, who look like they could’ve been in his band at the time, nab the scraggly kid and bring him to Lennon on the porch. Obviously, the kid is an obsessed fan and when he comes face to face with his messiah, he presses Lennon for the deep, mystical, inner meaning behind his songs. John, ever the cynical realist, bursts the kid’s bubble with a plain “I’m just a guy who writes songs.” I’m sure the former Beatle was playing up the working class hero thing for the cameras before he hopped into his Rolls Royce to be whisked to his waiting private jet. But whether Lennon saw himself as “just a guy who writes songs” or not, he was trying to put things into perspective for his young visitor.
After putting that all together, It kind of makes me wish that Steve Jobs had done the same for the legion of Apple fan boys or the market for that matter. Granted, Jobs was a genius on the level of a Thomas Edison (and consequently and equal SOB as well). He helped change the way we do a lot of stuff and made himself and many others obnoxiously wealthy in the process. But when you break it down, he was a guy in a black mock turtleneck and jeans that sold computers.
But wait? If Steve had kept it real for the fan boys he would have lost his slavish army that would help to hype product launches and insure that the shiny, happy people would line up in the freezing dark around the block to buy the newest shiny happy gadget. Couldn’t John Lennon have done the same thing? Convince the kids that the Beatles were still bigger than Jesus so they’d keep buying the shiny happy records? Sure he could’ve and he could’ve probably pulled it off. But he didn’t. And they still bought the records. And to think that Steve Jobs was so into the Beatles that he named his computer after their record label.
Again, I’m not knocking Steve Jobs. The guy helped change media as we know it. But just like John Lennon said that he was a guy who just wrote songs. Steve Jobs was just a guy who sold consumer electronics. And now he’s gone. Remember him, if you like, but let it be.
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