Fuck the iPod

Will somebody give me one good reason why I should own a fucking iPod? Will somebody explain why I should give Steve Jobs 350 hard-earned George Washingtons to apply the Apple logo to my hip?

Sure, it’s a handy little device, I suppose. But then so is a garlic press. The garlic press, however, is much cheaper and will actually do something beneficial. Such as saving you some time when you’re cooking some pasta.

Frankly, I don’t get it. The little bastard doesn’t even allow me to record onto it. (To its credit, the Zen, Creative’s response to the IPod, does.) The least one can expect for this kind of money is a consummate fuck from a second-class Hollywood hooker. But from where I’m sitting, I’m looking at a bunch of teenagers and twentysomethings on the subway not really enjoying themselves, plugged into earphones and passing the time in the same banal way that non-iPod riders are.

Would someone explain why it’s so important to be completely out-of-touch with the waking world around me? If the iPod is about control, why don’t these folks use Nero to burn a custom CD for their pre-existing Discmen?

I’ll confess that music is important and that I listen to a lot of it. But who knew that one out of 10 Americans view the iPod as their fucking savior? Did we learn nothing from Ridley Scott’s 1984 commercial? We’re supposed to throw a hammer to the evil corporate overlords, right? Funny how the iPod has been airbrushed into a new version of the commercial. Never mind that this “Greedo shoots first” version is no longer available at the Apple site.

I’d like to chalk the iPod phenomenon up to a “kids these days” benediction. But I’m too young to be a scolding old man. Even so, I’ve seen grown men fucking around with this thing, as if the Apple Click Wheel was some technological justification for revisiting Billy Squier. Why subsidize some half-baked mofo who doesn’t even know how to spell “tonight?”

And what’s with this whole bullshit notion of the iPod empowering you? Am I missing something here? You mean to say that if I go into a Universal Unitarian church with an iPod strapped on and start talking with some slinky blonde that I’ll take her home and ensure her at least six orgasms? Wow, who knew? The iPod as muscle car. Throw the basic aspects of mutual attraction out the window, my friends.

I’m utterly convinced that historians will view the iPod in the same light that people remember the Olympus Pearlcoder: a half-baked technological tool that suggests something personal and refined, but that is ultimately about taking advantage of people’s inability to figure out the technological tools they have on their Dell computers. Namely, these things called CD burners, BitTorrents and MP3s, the latter being a format that isn’t particularly bad for something coming through your headphones.

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17 Comments

  1. I think what you “are missing’ may be itunes. The ipod is the glamorous front man, but i think it is the simplicity and clarity of the software behind it that really makes people enthusiastic.

  2. Annette, and a Unitarian February 22, 2005 at 6:51 am

    Actually, there aren’t too many slinky blonds at Unitarian churches — just a precaution for you, in case you decide to go forth and try your little experiment.

  3. Whoa there, son. I share your Apple antipathy. But there’s no need to throw the Billy out with the bathwater. Crank up a little “Everybody Wants You”, play a little air guitar, and thank God you’re an American.

  4. Don’t hate the iPod, hate the iPodder. Seriously, while the whole trendiness of it is nauseating, the thing itself is not deserving of hatred. I don’t own one, because I really have no use for any kind of portable music gadget, but my roomie does, and I have to say that it’s pretty impressive, for the following reasons:

    1. 20-40 gigs on a device that can fit easily in a shirt pocket is a good thing. Maybe it’s just because the last portable music player I owned was a Sony Walkman, but the idea of being able to carry, I don’t know, 100? albums around with me is just cool. And not just music, but audiobooks, which is probably what I’d use it for if I had one.

    2. The integration with iTunes is also a good thing. ITunes itself is pretty cool for a number of reasons. It’s not like a “lightning bolt of godliness” kind of thing, but a dozen subtle elements of ease-of-use and elegance that make for a satisfying experience.

    3. The iPod does support voice recording, it just doesn’t have a built-in mic. If you get the accessory, it’s also pretty cool. It’s all about the accessories.

    4. You can also use it as a portable hard drive.

    I don’t know of any feature of the iPod that you can’t get elsewhere, but again, it’s the ease-of-use and elegance of design. If you like intuitive interfaces and minimalist design, the iPod can be extremely alluring.

    To my way of thinking, if there’s anything inherently wrong with the iPod, it’s the fact that it’s yet another consumer toy designed to lure people into the illusion that buying something will make you happy and bolster your shaky self-esteem. But it’s far from the worst offender in that regard. I think we need to stay focused on the real enemy, which is of course monster SUVs.

  5. because they are soooo cute!

    (ok, i really like mine because it is easy to use, sound quality is good, can be a portable hard drive in a pinch, and oh yeah, is cute.)

    And I get twitchy if I have to listen to people yammer on their cell phones, so it helps me filter them out.

  6. Re:
    “MP3s, the latter being a format that isn’t particularly bad for something coming through your headphones.”

    95 percent of tracks on iPods are, in fact, MP3 files. The iPod and iTunes completely support MP3. You’re not locked down to DRM’ed songs from the iTunes Music Store, and you don’t have to convert existing music to another format (as with Sony’s ATRAC players).

    If you buy something from the iTMS with DRM, you can copy it to four other computers, and an unlimited number of iPods hooked to those computers.

    If you’re fitting thousands of songs on a CD-R, I can’t imagine the sound quality’s all that great…. :-)

  7. THEY ARE SO THE MIDDLE-CLASS PACIFIERS OF THE EARS!!!!!!! WHY NOT JUST DRAG AROUND A GODDAMN BLANKIE AND GUM CRACKERS ALL DAY????????????????

    I hate iPods for the same reason I hate Wegmans. They are probably glorious, but no one deserves to choose between seven kinds of salmon and forty imported block chocolates every day.

  8. I’ve pretty much given up on new expensive toys.

    But I do agree that iTunes is way cool

  9. Wow. Um, ok, so you haven’t worked out all your issues in therapy yet. Maybe your anger is just displaced. It is just a little box after all. Turn off the TV, ignore the guy with 14 earrings and tatoos on his eyebrows and talk to somebody who intrests you. The benefits of the technology will filter down to useful things, the i-pod and similar devices find their place, and Bono’s silouette on TV will go away. Like disco, bellbottoms, cigarettes and hip huggers, this too shall pass (two or three times). In the meantime have a cup of coffee, laugh at the guy who spent a weeks pay on a piece of plastic (with Apple inside), and if you run into that slinky blonde, give her my e-mail address.

  10. Thank you. Finally, someone is talking some damn sense about this ipod nonsense.

    Isn’t it just an mp3 player? I picked one up (not apple, clearly) for 80 bucks and it works like a charm. Fits more songs than I could possible listen to at one time, anyway.

    So WTF?

    Thanks again.

  11. So WTF! More postings for this dumbfuck ipod than the suicide of HST? What kind of world are we living in?

    Materialistic bullshit must stop. how can you people not post anything about the lovable crank-addicted mind bender who wrote some cool shit? Okay, I know you all love your ipods, but it’s fucking senseless piece of electornic shit. let’s talk about HST and less about IPOD.

  12. Lets talk about Cabrera Infante.

  13. The Ipod will only last as long as there is something that can be added to it hense the seperate mic and iPod tatoos.

  14. If thats true does that mean thet there will be an Ipod condom dispenser? If so that would be awsome I’d always have music and protection.

  15. You need an iPod because chicks dig it!

  16. Bravo! I certainly believe Newsday’s quote that you are “bitterly funny”; that’s the best kind. I would love to hear you rant about those crazy iPod apologists, or even all the banner ads and spam which seem to solely be offering iPods now.

  17. I have an ipod mini and i love it . And about the price if you ever checked it latley its droped(if you been spending your weeks pay one and ipod which is $299 and a mini which is $199 you need a better job.

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