iPod, Annotated

An itinerant inkster bites Apple in NOHO—and the public bites back

Sometime last week—Wednesday night, maybe—an anonymous scribbler took a marker to a block-long row of iPod posters, adding a penetrating spin on Apple's pitch for "10,000 songs in your pocket." People walking by on Thursday slowed to consider the dozens of new messages stretching down the east side of Lafayette, from Great Jones to Bond: The "i" in iPod "stands for isolation," the writer had scrawled above one silhouette of that annoying lone figure dancing. "The 'i' stands for insecure," for "irrational," for "inibriated" and "inebriated."

Apple's digital answer to the analog Walkman is corking the ears of the world at a rate of more than 700,000 pairs every three months. A cheaper version, the iPod mini, offers room for only 1,000 songs but already has a waiting list of customers. "The 'i' stands for 'I want one,' " read the graffitied line on one billboard. With an urban cry reminiscent of Barbara Kruger's graphic exploits or the Missing Foundation's upturned cocktail glass, whoever did this hasty work turned an ad campaign about being cool into a commentary on being alone. With their own markers, viewers answered back. "The 'i' stands for the person who did these comments 'is totally cool,' " one wrote. Another complained, "The I stands for impatence [sic] you idiot." A third dispensed with the "I" business completely and just stated, "Your notes are stupid."

By Friday morning, the game was over. Rain had washed most of the marks away.

photo: Staci Schwartz

Details

The Reflecting 'i'

The Inkster's conclusions about the i in iPod:

insecure
impolite
income (not yours)
isolation
"in touch"
"I want one"
income
"I love you"
interesting
intimate
insurrection
ignorance
illiterate
inadequate
intercourse
indominable [sic] human spirit
indifference
"in crowd"
impolite
incommunicado
"I can't stand the silence"
"I don't want to talk to you"
individual
incoherent
idiot
impunity
indict
investment
impossible
inspiration
infantile
id (Freud)
immoral
inibriated [sic]
inebriated
inoculate
incubate
incapacitation
"I don't care anymore"
irreconcilable
ignorance
intersection
incompatibility
incomplete
"I give up"
idol
icon
iPod
insulting
imaginary
intoxicated
insane
instrumental
irrefutable
X
"in touch"
infinity
inconsequential
individuality
introvert
isolated
irrational
"I need"
incorrect
impulse
intent
inside

All Photos: Staci Schwartz
 
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