Patrick on OWS and Steve Jobs

You can go read the OWS stuff yourself; I want to highlight this:

Escaping on the R train from Rector Street, we got home to discover that Steve Jobs died. And that my Twitter feed is full of people wanting to wag their finger in my face for caring too much, in the wrong way.

As John Emerson said on Facebook, “I would hate to use a product that I loved so much that I would mourn its creator the way I mourned a family member.” Otoh, some of us have been using Macs since long before we were married (even if there was that period of, you know, trial separation and dalliances with Ubuntu and RedHat). And even John finished that statement with “I have guarded carefully against that possibility by using Microsoft products (damn him to hell).”

The other half of the backlash was summed up by Michael Moore on Twitter:

Devices made in sweatshops. We all use them. We use them at times for the greater good. Don’t think about where they come from.

He later amended that with:

Correction: FEW PEOPLE think about where these devices come from. We ignore this at our own peril. R.I.P., Steve Jobs.

but the point is clear: all the people talking about the miracle of “cheap technology” are ignoring that it’s only cheap because people price their lives and their health too cheaply in the “labor market.” Or, as Erik Loomis noted of a similar technological marvel, ” I’ll tell you one thing for damn sure—the cotton gin made the lives of slaves a hell of a lot worse.”

So I’m guessing those are the types of things Patrick was seeing, though probably more stridently. And his response—again, a few paragraphs at the end of a long, informative post that you should go read the whole thing—is worth quoting here on this “slightly left of center economic commentary” blog, or whatever we are today:

He was complicit in many of the sins I just got home from marching against. He gamed the inequities between labor in the First World and labor in the Third. He was probably a lot of people’s boss-from-hell.

He also made a world in which people like me and Teresa—computer users since 1988, when we got our first Mac SE—are technologists rather than passive victims of someone else’s vision of technology. Selfish though it may be, I have to acknowledge that this means a very great deal to us.

The world is complicated. Late capitalism sucks. Our systems don’t work. Our futures are controlled by people who don’t give a crap for anything we care about.

Steven Jobs cared about something. Without him, our lives would have been different, and probably worse. We’ll miss him. Anyone who wants to take this as the occasion to wag a reproving finger is invited—not entirely cordially—to comprehensively plobz the frap off. You may quote me, in this life or the next.

I’ll let Steve Jobs have his night, and note that the local Fox News station just posted this:

What was once a protest of powerful Wall Street financial firms and banks is growing into a larger movement about the working class, employment, poverty, education, and more.

As they say, a liberal is just a conservative who got maced and batoned by police.