Tuesday, June 08, 2010
2000 Years of Art but Apple Knows Best
Steve Jobs is getting a track record for hypocrisy. In 2008, on commenting on the Kindle he said, "It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore... The whole concept is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore.” Yesterday he claimed that Apple lives at the intersection of Technology and the Liberal Arts.
Everyone knows that James Joyce's Ulysses is a classic novel, one of the most important works of 20th centenary literature. Any rendition of the work will contain explicit language and scenes. These put the book in 1932 in the US dock and it won that famous court case. In 1933 United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, U.S. District Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that the book was not pornographic and therefore could not be obscene. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the ruling in 1934. However, outside of any court it has fallen foul of those ‘big brother’ censors who control Appleworld and a comic book adaptation of the classic has been rejected by Apple for containing cartoon nudity!
Would these same ‘McCathy’ or Mary Whithouse censors remove great swathes of art from antiquity to today on the same grounds? Would great cartoonists and illustrators such as Rowlinson, Gillray, Crumb would be banned? Would the majority of the photography of the likes of Breton, Newton, Bressai, Sieff, Weston and of course Mapplethrope ever make the cut? How will these consors deal with the many films have nudity in them.
Apple’s strict guidelines and a rating system is geared to prevent ‘adult’ content, but appear to only see black and white and clothed or unclothed and ban nudity irrespective of age!
So as the illustrators pixel over the bits Apple deems to rude to be seen, one questions whether they have gone too far and in whose interest they are acting? Perhaps Disney has a say perhaps not? The stupidity of Appleworld is that you can see the cleansed version in its purist form on the iPad and go to the website to see the uncensored rendition.
Will we black penned out words in the text of books or will a significant volume of written work be rejected? Will we have to those censor bleeps on music tracks?
Rated 17+ by Apple, Ulysses Seen is currently only available behind the censor’s cuts on the U.S. iTunes Store.
Some would say that the real shame is that Apple makes great products and bad moral judgement. Perhaps Applespeak is double entendre for Orwell's 'Doublespeak'.