Tuesday Talk ~ Politics, tech and uncertainty


25042013 News Photo: John Kirk-Anderson / The Press / Fairfax NZ
The NZ Army band marches onto Cranmer Square during the ANZAC Parade, Christchurch.

When I was growing up in New Zealand, I was told never to talk about politics or religion. Boring, since these were two things I was already interested in. I remember explaining to someone in Holland that you could know a New Zealand for six months or more before knowing who they might vote for. He thought this was absurd – certainly for the forthright Dutch. He was right, of course.
It makes it easy to believe New Zealanders don’t like to talk about politics because they’re not very sure of their convictions, or that they’re informed-enough to be ashamed of them. (Reticence about religion is, I suspect, because it makes people feel guilty, one way or another.)
Apple is of course, not ‘just’ a tech firm. Steve Jobs had political and spiritual opinions and they weren’t hidden. His replacement, Tim Cook, has championed LBGT rights and other social issues. In the age of Trump, and of fake news, politics of people and companies will inevitably come into more focus. If we ignore unpleasantnesses like Trump, we risk tacitly endorsing them.
Plenty of people just hoped Hitler would go away, too …

Bryan Chaffin and Chuck Joiner talk about how politics affects Apple in a podcast. They contend Apple has to be political simply because it’s so big. I’m not sure I agree; I think it’s different. I mean, IBM and Ford were ‘political’ and huge, but this came from the top down in both cases (right-wingers running things). Apple was an outsider company during its genesis and formative years, attracting outsiders to its products. This rippled down into its workforce, which assisted it to carry on being ‘disruptive’. To simplify, the computer world was firmly for technocrats until Apple came along: if you couldn’t type code, you couldn’t use a computer to even print a document. Apple changed all that.
It used to be you’d literally only see people who were ‘cool’ using Apple stuff. Obama, for example, was mystified that he’d have to stop using his beloved iPhone once he became US president (this didn’t last). Now of course, it’s everybody using them.
Even Donald Trump.

If my spouting things about politics upsets you, you can always stop reading. If my politics don’t agree with yours, you can stop reading. I mean personally, I believe in knowing about things I dislike, but it’s your choice. Because Mac NZ is a free service. I do a lot for you, for free, which means you’re not bound to read it. I curate the Apple news and serve links to brilliant Apple commentators, and I give you excellent tips and, hopefully, helpful advice, and I’m happy to carry on doing that as it keeps me informed about the products I love to use – but with the rise of Trump, I can’t sit on the fence when it comes to politics.

We’re coming up to ANZAC Day. We honour those who fought to resist tyranny in World War Two, as well as those who fought for … I’m not quite sure what, actually, in World War One.
Let’s not forget.

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3 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk ~ Politics, tech and uncertainty”

  1. It’s not only in New Zealand Mark, it’s here too, especially in the generation about seventy and above. But perhaps you know that already. And add not to talk about money either, especially never tell another person how much money you have and that’s even more imperative if it is quite a bit. To say it would be more often in the Midwest is a stereotype I can’t substantiate myself…But everyone I know, and that’s Northern California, talks about politics. But recently there is an immense difference: people speak very carefully if it is to a stranger until it becomes clear what that person’s allegiance is. And if that allegiance is different in this now very divided society, then the conversation is likely to stop. And your point is about how important it is to discover the discourse of those from whom one differs is very stark now. One can probably identify accurately how people vote just by learning the media they follow. The announcers have become icons for or against Trump.

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