You’re (still) making a(nother) big mistake (again)

Seriously, this story first came up in what, 2012? You’ve had 6 years to hire some brilliant strategist to plan a response, and this is the best you could do? Even though I am just nobody, let me do you the solid of a prepared statement.

“The family story of my grandparents getting married despite parental opposition has a lot of personal meaning for me, even though there’s no evidence it’s true. I was wrong to claim Native American heritage based on that story, without investigating first. I compounded that mistake by being defensive when it was pointed out to me, and by refusing to listen to some women who wanted to help me understand the issues involved more deeply. Unlike some of my colleagues on the left, I do not believe that a person can claim any biological or cultural identity they’d like. And unlike some of my colleagues on the right, I do not believe that Native people get special advantages because of their ethnicity or tribal affiliation — quite the opposite, in fact. I won’t be discussing this issue in interviews or answering questions about it going forward, though I will consider all communications about it from my constituents as I work to represent them all to the best of my ability.”

Now was that so hard?

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Beg to differ.

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All the Steve Jobs worship has been making me a little sick the last couple days, so I was actually kinda glad when I saw this headline which, at first glance, appears negative. Ah-ha, I thought, the ugly side is turning up at last!

But, no.

Reasons to differ with this tiny snippet from Yahoo!:

  1. Steve Jobs is hardly the “last tyrant.” I’m sure there are tons of bosses out there who subscribe to his “management style.” Not to mention, you know, actual tyrants, the kind who execute people and stuff, not the petty kind who feel entitled to yell and scream if they don’t get their way.
  2. What is a “great” tyrant anyway?
  3. I reply to my own query with the suspicion that the answer lies in the final tag line: “But it worked.” Well, sorta, I guess; Jobs made shitloads of money, some other people did too, and upper middle class Amerikans who already had too much stuff got a few more cool gadgets to play with. What a great tyrant!
    But, shall we ask, did it “work” for the subordinates he routinely “chewed out,” when they got ulcers or had nervous breakdowns from trying to please such a ginormous asshole? Did it “work” for the people who went blind or got lung disease assembling iPhones in factories in Mexico or Asia? Did it “work” for Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter whose paternity Steve Jobs denied for her entire childhood? How about for Lisa’s mom, who had to go on welfare when Jobs refused to pay support for Lisa?
  4. How do you know, Yahoo!, that it wouldn’t have “worked” better if Steve Jobs had run his empire by inspiration instead of fear? How do you know that he and his partners and subordinates wouldn’t have achieved more that way? Actually, Yahoo!, how do you know that humanity was not in fact cheated out of some lifesaving invention by Jobs’ insistence on behaving like a dick his entire life?

I can’t help but wonder if some of those people for whom it didn’t “work” quite so well may be feeling even sicker than me watching all this laudatory coverage of the “great man.” I mean, come on people. It’s not like he achieved world peace or cured cancer or something. He just invented some fancy overpriced techno-toys. Maybe we could tone down the fawning a notch or two.