Think Different: Rightbloggers Mourn the Death of Noted Conservative Hippie-Hater Steve Jobs
The death last week of Apple founder Steve Jobs was sad news for his friends, family, and the computer and design world in general.
Rightbloggers mostly took it as an occasion to tell the world that Jobs was right-wing -- or, if not right-wing in the sense of having actually expressed right-wing beliefs, then right-wing in the sense that he made a lot of money, which is only done by right-wing people.
Rightbloggers also denounced those damned dirty OWS hippies who had the nerve to denounce Wall Street while using products created by their new best dead friend.
Not all rightbloggers were warm for Jobs. At RedState, Ridiculous Pseudonym noted that "while most Apple people are profound liberals - smarmy, off-putting and creepy, Jobs managed to snare some prominent conservatives," e.g. Rush Limbaugh.
But Ridic Pseud wasn't fooled -- he considered Jobs "another smug Liberal who eschewed Capitalism and Commercialization publically while personally profiting handsomely... I darkly wish he had lived a good long life to become another self-loathing, ultra-rich lefty just so I do not have to listen to all the speculation about possible sainthood." (Ridic added "Rest in peace, Steve," probably to show that, like many assholes who rag on the newly-dead, he is a Christian.)
But most rightbloggers disagreed. "On a number of conservative talk shows, I've heard people say that Steve Jobs should not be admired because he was a political and social liberal," said Godfather Politics. But he wasn't going for that, because "Jobs may have been a liberal, but he worked like a conservative."
Some of you may be thinking: What, liberals don't work hard? What is he talking about? You have to understand that, while the death of Jobs was not a political event, rightbloggers have a condition -- possibly genetic, no one knows for sure -- that drives them to impose politics onto anything that happens, particularly if it's a popular news event, mention of which might draw traffic to their site.
When there isn't any obvious rightwing hook, they just turn to stuff they can connect to it, however tenuously. One of their Steve Jobs go-to themes was Occupy Wall Street. The kids on Wall Street have iPhones; Apple is traded on the stock exchange; therefore, your argument is invalid.
"While the Kamp Alinsky Kids ditch school to moan about their massive student debt, parade around in zombie costumes, and whine about evil corporations while Tweeting, Facebook-ing, blogging, and Skype-ing their 'revolution,'" skeined Michelle Malkin, "it's the doers and producers and wealth creators like Jobs who change the world. They are the gifted 1 percent whom the #OWS '99 percent-ers' mob seeks to demonize, marginalize, and tax out of existence..."
Malkin clutched Jobs' scrawny corpse to her bosom thus for hundreds of words, then suddenly turned it completely around: "The progressives who want to bring down 'Wall Street' will snipe that Steve Jobs was one of 'theirs,' not 'ours,'" she claimed, citing no sources. "[Jobs] belonged to no one." It's like Malkin grabbed the podium at Jobs' funeral, harangued the astonished crowd to vote Republican because the deceased -- unbeknownst to them -- was a Republican, and then denounced unnamed parties who sought to politicize his death.
Yeah, man, who's this "Steve Jobs" dude, anyway? P.S. Off the pigs.
Kathleen Gee of HillBuzz, deeply moved by Jobs death, declared "Anti-Capitalists, Bite My Ass," and while "crying" told readers that "Steve Jobs embodied everything these worthless Marxist losers gathered on Wall Street hate."
Dr. Paul Kengor of American Conservative Daily took up the theme:
"Steve Jobs has passed away," I heard a DJ remark. "That's a shame."
Yes, it is a shame. I was saddened to hear that.
I was equally shocked as I turned the dial and heard something even more deadly. [? -ed.] It was a comment from actress/comedienne Roseanne Barr, literally calling for the death of certain wealthy Americans.
He meansthis quote
, in which Roseanne called for the banksters' heads. "Steve Jobs was among 'the rich,'" answered Kengor. "It is the likes of Jobs that have given these folks the pleasures and creature comforts they enjoy minute to minute." And yet the hippies killed him with their pancreatic cancer!
Well, not quite, but their table manners are awful: the "ranting, raving, raging college kids" of Occupy Wall Street were "slurping Starbucks and staring into I-phones," asserted Kengor, "while angrily protesting the very system that made it all possible in the first place," that system being Mac OSX. And to make things worse, "the Wall Street 'occupiers' are exploiting the technology that [Jobs] helped create... Roseanne and the mob do not understand this country and its market system... Steve Jobs understood. May he rest in peace."
After going on at length about OWS (whose "complaints are all couched in moral language," he said, "that belies the underlying nihilism of the protestors"), Tony Woodlief of The World noted that "Steve Jobs prided himself on being counter-cultural, but in an important sense this adopted child who grew to be a tycoon is quintessentially American." That is, though he experimented with drugs and Eastern religions, said Woodlief, "what [Jobs] did not do was tacitly throw his fate -- and responsibility for his life -- into the hands of other people" -- unlike those "overprivileged, overgrown children occupying city streets" who "that they are owed something." So, basically, the life lesson of Steve Jobs is, get a job.
Others just went with their general love of capitalism, which they felt made them blood brothers with the recently deceased founder of Apple.
"While not known to be a supporter of the conservative cause," said Tierra Warren of The Heritage Foundation, "Apple Founder Steve Jobs was a living refutation of all the things liberals constantly tell us about our country." How so? "What Jobs and innovators like him... epitomize are the immeasurable qualities that the left somehow finds most abject -- American exceptionalism," she added.
Warren seemed to be saying that Jobs was, like America, exceptional, and liberals find people like that "abject" (which, assuming she consulted a dictionary, would mean liberals considered Jobs downcast in spirit or fortune), so we hoped the statement from Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner to which Warren linked would clarify.
Alas, Feulner disappointed: "The meme of the left is that drudgery and mediocrity is not just our future but probably also our just deserts," he explained, "for being too imperialistic, consumerist, wasteful, patriarchal, or what have you." Also, "consumers bought Apple products not because they were ordered to do so by central planners but because they saw them as magic." If those Occupy Wall Street hippies were in charge, you'd be forced to use clunky Soviet-style iPhones, comrades! And all of them would be bugged! (Not like now.)
Feulner concluded that "Steve Jobs may have given to liberal causes and politicians throughout his life, but his life proved the existence of the American Dream," which meant Jobs the alleged contributor to liberal causes was trying to destroy his own legacy, for some peculiar reason perhaps related to his Buddhism.
At The American Conservative, what Mark Nugent seemed to admire most about Jobs was that he "was unapologetic about the wealth he amassed as he built Apple into the Earth's most valuable company."
But then Nugent, being a paleocon, had to wonder aloud whether Jobs' creations had improved human life spiritually -- after all, Nugent wrote, "Russell Kirk condemned automobiles 'mechanical Jacobins,' and wasn't a big fan of television, either. If the Internet is slowly shifting our brains into a stupider gear, Apple's iDevices and their imitators are only accelerating the process."
There's a dilemma -- Jobs was a capitalist, yet his capitalist products were speeding the intellectual destruction of his capitalist society. Surely no one could have anticipated such a result.
Nugent finally conceded that "Apple has certainly made the gadgets that populate our daily lives far more elegant and useful than they otherwise would be," so if we were going to hell it was in a nicely streamlined handbasket. Take that, hippies!
Milo Yannopoulos called Jobs "The Greatest Conservative Icon of Our Time," even though he was allegedly a "darling of the Left." His reasoning: "some people forget what a old-fashioned family man he was, too," said Yannopoulos, because "he abhorred pornography, for example, making it exceedingly difficult for app developers whose products contained even hints of nudity to make it onto his devices." (For a conservative, Yannopoulos doesn't seem to know too much about brand image.)
Also, Yannopoulos found some guy who claimed Jobs went out shooting animals with him, so he assumed the famous vegetarian Buddhist enjoyed "blood sport." Yannopoulos deduced that Jobs "made idiotic hypocrites out of society's most obnoxious members without even really trying." What a contrarian rascal! We should see his bow-tied head atop a Washington Examiner column presently.
"In the wake of Steve Jobs' passing," said Michael J. Fell of Conservative Daily News, "it's important to remember that when companies like Apple and Microsoft were in their infancy, Ronald Reagan kept government out of the American computer business, while other countries' governments felt compelled to meddle in theirs." He has a point; look at that "Internet" thing the government made -- that was a total catastrophe! Stupid government!
"The lesson of the Steve Jobs story should not be lost on America," concluded Fell, that message being that green energy is communist and futile.
For the Christian conservative perspective, we may go to Crosswalk, which observed that while "Christians can learn from Steve Jobs and even admire many of his gifts and contributions," yet they "must also observe what is missing here... unerring taste, aesthetic achievement, and technological genius will not save the world. Christians know what the world does not -- that the mother tending her child, the farmer planting his crops, the father protecting his family, the couple faithfully living out their marital vows, the factory worker laboring to support his family and the preacher preparing to preach the Word of God are all doing far more important work." See ya in hell, Steve!
Now, those of you who are normal human beings might wonder why anyone would look at the death of a relatively non-political figure -- particularly one whose achievements have touched people of all political persuasions -- and try to make a political advantage of it, particularly with so little evidence to back it up.
The short answer is, rightbloggers are not normal human beings. We have followed them for years, and have seen that they view everything -- movies, wine, football teams, elective surgery, etc. -- through the greasy prism of politics. If a bird sings or a leaf falls, their minds calculate the political consequences of the event, and race to tell the world. It is to us grimly amusing that the truest avatars of the old hippie saying, "The personal is political," turned out to be conservatives.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.