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?

Does Zooey Deschanel fantasise about herself when she can’t sleep?

500full-zooey-deschanelIt’s 3.43am and contrary to my earlier predictions this evening, I’m apparently still wide awake.  I’ve tried all the obvious remedies – warm milk, reading, valium and sweet, sweet dreams of my eternal girl crush Zooey… all to no effect.

This is not a new phenomenon to me.  Usually it succeeds a hatred for my job, distress about a best friend who didn’t live up to promises made, or panic about an ever increasing credit card bill.  This time, I can’t really lay claim to major concerns on any of those fronts.  Life is good (credit card debt notwitstanding).  Work is, you know, ok.  An previously undeveloped friendship has magically worked its way into real connection and I no longer feel the gaping hole of my formerly disappearing BFF.  Husband is funny, charming and keeping the home fires burning (*snigger *).   I’m creatively inspired and excited for what seems to be a promising venture.

Perhaps therein lies the clanger.  Today I inadvertantly did the most mortifyingly embarrassing thing through sheer stupidity.  The sun was out and mother had lent me her convertible for a few days.  What is a girl to do?  Get in the damn thing and drive of course!  I wandered here and there, lapping up the luxury of a warm winters day on my seasonably pale visage (all hail tinted moisturiser!).  As someone who works from home the sun is a foreigner to me.  I’m daily cloistered in a cool garret with a candle melting fat drips of  wax as I toil and a thin worsted blanket loosely covering my shoulders to keep the cold from bruising my bones.  Ok I exaggerate.  It’s a lovely desk with a pretty view of a vast, hulking, deciduous green tree and central heating. And I wear my PJs and slippers to work.  Whatever.  The point is, to spend an hour or two drenching myself in the sun is unusual.  

Notice how long I’ve avoided getting to the actual point?   Yeah well.  I managed to completely and utterly lose track of myself and forgot a 3pm appointment which was really important to me.  To do with aforementioned future creative endeavours.  Till I got a politely innocuous sms at 3.30 reminding me where I was supposed to be.  At that point, I would like to have flayed the golden warmth from my face and arms and return to my cold garret in shame.  I of course was in Manly  so still obscenely far from where I should have been – in Rose Bay.  Mortification complete.  Did I mention I had already postponed this meeting from the previous day so I could frivolously see some ridiculous baby elephant?  Which didn’t eventuate after much waiting around.

So here I sit, vainly (god, please let me be wrong) hoping that this last ditch effort to expunge my embarrassment from my brain by sharing with others in writing will, at last, help me get to sleep.  Writing as therapy and all that.


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Fearless in Frisco (like Sleepless in Seattle, geddit?)

CORRECTION Japan Fearless MouseSome people are just fearless.  I’m not suggesting they don’t feel the fear but maybe they don’t feel it as much as the rest of us.  Or maybe they just don’t give a flying fuck.  One of my friends just quit her job so she could start a magazine.  Just like that.  She has no other magic job to go to that will pay the bills.  And yes, she has a mortgage.  And a fondness for nice shoes.  I’m in awe.

I’m completely and utterly bound by fear of poverty.  I couldn’t quit my job in the hope of future success.  I need to know where my next paycheck is coming from.  Frankly, my credit card bill and my mortgage would bury me otherwise.  Is there some secret knowledge I’m missing out on that allows other people to do this sort of thing?  Yeah, no credit card debt.  And no car loan maybe?  I don’t know.  It’s not fear of failure that paralyses me, it’s fear of having to struggle to pay the bills.  I hate money really.  I have zero interest in it.  What I do like, is not having to think about it ever. I’m terrified at the idea of returning to the days when it’s a constant struggle.

Are they all excuses for doing nothing?  Is it actually just my nature to be fearful?

I can’t even commit to putting my real name on this blog for fear of being found out by potential employers.  I’m not quite sure what it is they might find out but goddamit whatever it is, it must remain a secret!  They might not hire me and pay me a nice salary if they knew.  And we can’t have that can we?  (Again, I will remind you that I actually don’t have anything to hide.  Except perhaps a love of margaritas, expensive handbags and saying “fuck” a lot).

Is it time to face up to myself and follow suit?

Aarrgh!  All hail Saffy cos she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met.

Bring Back… Summer Holidays

When you are 10, summer holidays stretch on forever.  Everything shimmers.  Even the boredom.  There’s nothing on TV but Days of Our Lives and Huey, with his bronchial chuckle, cooking up a fatty, caloric mound of chicken & sauce. 

You’ve long ago read everything you borrowed from the library.  You sneakily polished off Dad’s sci-fi books, the ones you aren’t supposed to read because they’re too grown up with their topless aliens and leprotic humans, copulating and spawning freak babies… you’ve even, in your desparation, read the back of all the shampoo bottles – twice.  And if you even say “mu-“, let alone “muuuu-uum”, one more time you’re absolutely certain to cop a wooden spoon fair across the leg (clearly, long before ‘summer fun activities’ became de rigueur and a deserved thwak became passe).

A viscous slick of sweat runs down your back.   The air is stifling and thick with heat.  It’s hot.  The piercing wail of the sun hits you upside the head, like that moment when you have one more mouthful of tequila, you know, the one too many.

You sit in the fork of a tree eating sticky half-frozen oranges and dreaming of a grown-up life.  Imagine being able to do whatever you want.  Not being told what to do.  Never being bored.  Never waiting around.  Imagine being rich.  Living in a big house with a double-bed and modular lounge.  Imagine putting on make-up and going out to a restaurant, eating souffle and drinking champagne.   This is the adult-life you imagine that YOU will have. 

The heat of the day is still clinging to you when Dad finally comes home and succumbs to your pleading for a swim at Nana’s.  You pack into the car, sweat running down your neck, your back and onto the vinyl so you can slip around and along the back seat like a stubby water slide.   You refuse to allow the air-conditioner to be turned on and all windows must remain closed so that when you get to Nana’s you’re practically fainting from heatstroke but the water feels jarringly, teeth-achingly cold.  

You keep your head underwater and listen to the muffled sounds.  Water slapping, neighbours yelling, magpies growling.  Just like every movie ever made about kids on school holidays.  That glow and glisten.  That squeal and squelch. 

This moment.  This is the highlight.  This is the break in the agony of the summer.  It’s as good as it gets.  Tomorrow will be the same long, stretching boredom.

Torturous summer holidays are gone forever.  But nothing really changes.  You know that slow burn on a Friday afternoon from about 2 o’clock… when the day just won’t end?  Instead of 6 weeks or 8 weeks or even a day, now it’s compressed into an excruciating couple of hours.  When all you can think about is a glass of champagne and a bloody souffle!

Doing it in RL

I fucking HATE it when people acronymise phrases/words. (I realise acronymise is not a word however the verb form of acronym is in fact, ‘acronym’. How much does that suck? Hardly the punchy sentence I was hoping for.)

Right now my acronym rage is aimed at Triple J. We’re not doing fucking anything in ‘RL’ okay. Just fuck off. For that matter, we’re not doing anything in ‘real life’ either. Fucking losers.

For the record, Canadian Club CAN NOT be referred to as ‘CC & Coke’.

Travelling across the Harbour Bridge is not going ‘OTB’.

A woman is not UTD. Nor is she ‘up the duff’ for christs sake. It’s not 1989.

Cumberland University of New Technology may not call themselves CUNT.

(Actually, you know what, yes they can. That one I’m ok with.)

And this is not IMHO – I’m not LMFAO about this shit. Just stop it you weird acro-freaks!