Why Steve Jobs Needs a Punch in the Head

steve-jobs copyRecent stories about the factory worker who committed suicide because he lost one of the new iPhones have got me in a tizz. At first I was my usual oblivious self but then I started to think about it.  For me, and probably you, to play around with that sexy little gadget in my pocket, many people have to suffer terribly.

Contrary to most media, I’m not all that fussed about Apple et al requiring so much secrecy.  That’s their right.  The guy didn’t kill himself because he lost a phone.  If he had, well, his brain isn’t quite adjusted to the real world.  Can’t blame anyone else for that.  But if he killed himself because he lost a phone, he knew the reprisals from his employer were going to be extreme and the impact on his family would be significant, well that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish now isn’t it?

This factory has a history of treating it’s staff like animals – if I may be so sensational.  In August last year, an organisation called China Labor Watch released an exhaustive report on the company in question, Foxconn, who build iPods and iPhones for Apple (amongst other things).  The norm is insults, physical abuse, compulsory overtime, unsafe conditions and not being properly paid eg work starts at 8am but they are required to be there at 7.30am (unpaid).

It would be great if someone could actually come up with an idea, a way of shaming them into action.

The usual response amongst my left-leaning peers is to say “don’t buy the product”.  I hear what you are saying but I don’t think that is a real solution.  Most people don’t care or don’t know what’s going on so there isn’t going to be a big dent in revenue really.  But let’s pretend for a moment that there is a significant drop in sales, what happens?  The company, in this case Apple, stops selling the product or goes bust.  The contract is canned so those workers are now out of a job and when they do get another, chances are it’s not all that different to the last one.  No-one wins. Not me the consumer, not Apple, not the factory and certainly not the worker.  The only way to get action on this is for those CEOs and board members to be unwilling to buy from suppliers of this ilk.

Why aren’t the board or CEO of companies like Apple and Sony that use these factories held accountable?  Why aren’t there laws that require a company to immediately cancel a contract if it is shown that a supplier is mistreating its staff?  Is it such an extreme expectation really?

I do wonder though, how can the men on the board of Apple sit idly by?  How do they live with themselves?  They are human beings after all.  And, why aren’t they being shamed by us into making a change?

If you’re old and grumbly write a letter goddammit!

Apple Board of Directors
Bill Campbell
Millard Drexler
Albert Gore Jr. (Former Vice President of the United States)
Steve Jobs(CEO, Apple)
Andrea Jung
Arthur D. Levinson, Ph. D.
Dr. Eric Schmidt

What would be really great though, is if someone could actually come up with an idea, a way of really shaming them into action. Obviously it would need media coverage and lots of it… ideas anyone?

Is Gael the hottest of the latinos?

Matt has been away for 6 days now.  The house is so quiet.  I haven’t really had a spare millisecond all week so haven’t had a chance to miss him yet.  Technology goes a long way I guess.  With the wonders of skype and SMS we’re still offering up to each other that running narration of our day…

Sometimes I wonder though. If we’re constantly getting real time updates of what’s happening, what are we supposed to talk about when he gets back? And, are we giving each other the opportunity to be missed?  Then I wonder, am I over-analysing this and who really gives a shit?

Supposed to be going to see Rudo Y Cursi tonight – a movie starring Gael Garcia Bernal.  And who doesn’t want to see a movie with he of the hotness, latino style?

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But I’ve already seen one film in the past few weeks where Gael was sufficiently hot (Limits of Control by Jim Jarmusch – snooze fest).  Besides, another movie about 2 poor blokes trying to make a living playing soccer (although, at least these ones will be hot – as opposed to those buddhist chaps in The Cup – and men – as opposed to say Bend it Like Beckham).  Bah!  I think I’d rather stay at home, alone and do nothing. Maybe I can visit Gael in my head without bothering about the film (*snigger*)?  Perhaps give myself a little time to remember to miss my husband.

I wonder if mum is doing the same?  Matt and Dad are skiing together – it’s “man week” at the Burgess family ski lodge at Perisher.  So I’m not the only one home alone.

I had lunch with mum on Sunday, seeing as we both had all this free time on our hands, and she told me that they have been somewhat at loggerheads of late.  Marriage counselling etc.  It’s funny how even as a grown adult, with a marriage of my own (of more than 5 minutes), it still gives me a little ugghh in the guts to hear my mum talk about that stuff.  I KNOW that marriage is up and down and all over the place. I KNOW that sometimes you really drive each other nuts. But they’re my parents.  Don’t think I’ll ever stop being their kid.  Don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling a bit sick when they are having a hard time.

Perhaps over the years, the source has shifted though.  You see, I’m too much like my mum and Matt is somewhat like my dad.  I suspect there’s a little bit of fear that if they can’t work it out, then we won’t either.  I know we’re not the same people and we make our own choices etc but still.  Besides, noone is even suggesting they won’t work it out. That’s just my gurgling guts.  Nobody ever said fear is rational!

Tuesday Timeshift #14: Red Cliff

red_cliffCan’t be bothered reading an entire review? Check out my Haiku Film Review. Otherwise keep reading!

Let me commence by saying, I’m a girl.

Look call me sexist if you want, but this is a guy movie through and through.  That’s not a bad thing – but I’m not a guy so it really wasn’t for me.  So for the purposes of this review I will be channelling my partner in crime  – lets call him Batthew – as much as is humanly (and legally) possible without having anything surgery added and/or removed.

When I saw this, I was all a-flutter – and not just because I actually lob around a set of boobs wherever I go in reality.  Director John Woo intro’d the film.  In person.  In front of me.  If I stretched my little girly fingers out I could have groped him inappropriately.  John Woo!  Face Off, Broken Arrow, Mission Impossible II.  John Woo goddamit!  Lost in Space!  Oh, wait… Some might call these boy movies too.  Well, I cannot agree good sirs!  Fun is fun even if you are nut-free.  And this film had the largest budget EVER for a Chinese movie.  When those credits rolled I sat back all prepared for fun.  Thrills. Grandeur!  All round craziness.

Grandeur yes.  Thrilling fun? Not so much.  Strategic, warring, man-pride.  Chest-beating all round.  Ok so I still haven’t really found my inner manhood yet have I?  Look, Batthew loved it.  But he adores Battleship Potemkin, The Great Escape and Toy Story, for christs sake!  Damn men.

Don’t get me wrong.  I did enjoy much of it.  Just not all of it.  It was beautiful to look at, some great CGI scenes  and the sound was phenomenal.  I’m glad I saw it on the gigantor screen with super-sound-max-3000.  It’s a chest-thumping grand experience.  Batthew tells me all that war-ry stuff was great – you know, the hamster-style attack formation and the backward-scissor-lift defence formation and all that…  let me quote The Guardian “some of the best battle scenes since Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers”.  Frankly, I snoozed towards the end of that bit in LOTR too.

Yeah, go see it.  It’s fun.  And Red Cliff II will be out next year.  Take your nut sack and go see that sucker too. For those of us bereft of said sack, how do you feel about seeing Coco APRES Chanel instead?

Manboob Monday #16: Sweaty Tits

Today I’m delighted to bring you a little scent of manboob… essence de boob…

One Giant Nerd Speaks for an Entire Generation

teenagers2I love the way the media portray young people. Oh yeah, that was sarcasm.

15 year old called Matthew Robson is apparently a “work experience whizz kid” at banking giant Morgan Stanley in London.  As reported in The Times online “Today he is the talk of Tokyo, Wall Street and the City. Fund managers, CEOs and analysts are poring over his report, How Teenagers Consume Media“.

So this kid, who did work experience at a merchant banking firm has some opinions about media.  Ok, sure I’m down with that.

What does confuzzle me is the idea that Matthew, who tried to get work experience at Lloyds and Morgan Stanley (*cough * nerd! * ahem *) , is considered to be a voice for his generation.

Who at 15 had a clue what they wanted to do?  Particularly, who at 15 thinks to themselves, I know – banking~  That’s the ticket for me!   Do you know who?  Seriously, think back.  Remember what you were like.  Think of your friends.  Who had the slightest clue?  Noone. Not a bloody one.

“The first day was quite scary,” [Matthew] said. “But it was really interesting. By the second week I felt I understood what a bank did.”

Yeah right.    So what were the pearls of wisdom this briliantine mind had to share…

  • Teenagers don’t read newspapers.
    No shit sherlock.  I’m a grown adult and I ain’t readin’ ’em either.  I imagine the newspapers count how many they sell and have a pretty good idea of that already.
  • They are reluctant to pay for music
    Ummm…. is this supposed to be news?  There was such a thing as tapes and blanks CDs before MP3s you know.  Music is expensive on a teenagers salary (ie zero) and we rarely paid for it either.  This is not new behaviour.
  • Directories aren’t used because the information can be found on the internet for free
    Pretty sure the grown-ups have worked that one out by now too
  • Teenagers find ads on websites annoying and ignore them
    Who doesn’t?
  • Sony Ericsson phones are superior because they have a walkman
    hahhahaha walkman… how quaint! Gazillions of iPhone and iPod owners around the globe would disagree.  Clearly Matthew and his few friends that he “texted for ideas” don’t have any disposable income.  And why would they, they’re 15!

His supervisors thought the report “one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen” and published it.

You have got to be kidding me.  Thought-provoking? How?  Matthew’s points are all valid.  However you’d have to be Captain Oblivious to learn anything new or insightful here.  I’m not suggesting what he’s saying is incorrect.  Merely that it is (a) blindingly obvious and (b) in some ways specific to his particular social niche.  He’s not speaking for all 15 year olds, he’s speaking for male 15 year olds in his particular part of the world, of his particular socio-economic segment.  That’s all.

Matthew, meanwhile, finished his internship and went on scout camp.

Still doubt that he’s a nerd?

To be entirely cynical about it for a moment, does it really matter what this kid has to say?  He has zero income anyway.  If you’re in marketing or advertising, do you really care about this kid?

And yes, in case you were wondering, that photo is meant to be ironic.