Monday, November 21, 2011

The Lord vs. the iPad

Post removed due to clarification from Rabbi Sacks' Office.

Chief Rabbi: I admire Jobs and Apple and use my iPad daily (more here)

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36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not to rag on about.com, but that article does not at all explain where the "i" in iPod or iMac came from.

It only gives theories and then rejects them, giving no credible alternative.

The idea that the i refers to "me" because it's personal isn't far fetched.

Also, what does "lach" mean in Yiddish?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

From WIRED
http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2006/10/71956?currentPage=all

The iPod name was offered up by Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter who lives in San Francisco. Chieco was recruited by Apple to be part of a small team tasked with helping figure out how to introduce the new player to the general public, not just computer geeks.

During the process, Jobs had settled on the player's descriptive tag line -- "1,000 songs in your pocket" -- so the name was freed up from having to be descriptive. It didn't have to reference music or songs.

While describing the player, Jobs constantly referred to Apple's digital hub strategy: The Mac is a hub, or central connection point, for a host of gadgets. This prompted Chieco to start thinking about hubs: objects that other things connect to.

The ultimate hub, Chieco figured, would be a spaceship. You could leave the spaceship in a smaller vessel, a pod, but you'd have to return to the mother ship to refuel and get food. Then Chieco was shown a prototype iPod, with its stark white plastic front.

"As soon as I saw the white iPod, I thought 2001," said Chieco. "Open the pod bay door, Hal!"

Then it was just a matter of adding the "i" prefix, as in "iMac."

Chieco declined to mention any of the alternative names that were considered. A source at Apple confirmed Chieco's story.

Athol Foden, a naming expert and president of Brighter Naming of Mountain View, California, noted that Apple had already trademarked the iPod name for an internet kiosk, a project that never saw the light of day. On July 24, 2000, Apple registered the iPod name for "a public internet kiosk enclosure containing computer equipment," according to the filing.

Chieco said the internet kiosk is probably a coincidence. He suggested that maybe another team at Apple registered the name for a different project, but because of the company's penchant for secrecy, his team wasn't aware what the other had done. And neither, apparently, was Steve Jobs. Chieco said neither Jobs -- nor anyone else -- seemed aware that the company had already registered the iPod trademark.

"The name 'iPod' makes much more sense for an internet kiosk, which is a pod for a human, than a music player," said Foden.

"They discovered in their tool chest of registered names they had 'iPod,'" he added. "If you think about the product, it doesn't really fit. But it doesn't matter. It's short and sweet."

Foden said the name is a stroke of genius: It is simple, memorable and, crucially, it doesn't describe the device, so it can still be used as the technology evolves, even if the device's function changes. He noted the "i" prefix has a double meaning: It can mean "internet," as in "iMac," or it can denote the first person: "I," as in me.


While the "i" could mean, "I" as in first person, everyone routinely uses "i" to denote internet.

"lach" in Yiddish, as I wrotein the post above and provided the Wikipedia hyperlinked article, means diminutive plural.

Shlomo said...

Um, you really think names like Bisli and Prili are not related to the customer's feeling of entitlement? Perhaps "My Computer" in Windows is a better example of self-centeredness than "iPod", but you're deluding yourself if you don't think much of contemporary advertising and culture revolves around that theme.

And while we're on the subject of dubious catchphrases used to promote good causes, I think "I-Pod" is a much better pun than the "Ama reika" (America) one that I keep hearing used to promote aliyah.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shlomo: Bisli and Prili are fine -- that doesn't mean Israeli society is now rotten to the core, having left the values of kreplach.

Yes, Amareika is a stupid catchphrase to promote aliya.

Aliya doesn't need a catchphrase -- its a mitzva. The Rambam wrote: Living outside of Israel is like worshiping idols. He wasn't writing it as an advertising sound bite, but as halacha.

Juniper in the Desert said...

This is the man shameful enough to be our chief Rabbi!! :((

He is the Jewish equivalent of the Imam of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. These people may be good inside a yeshiva but not as the public face of and promoter of Jewish values. And considering half the contents of the iPad was invented by Jews!!

Independent Patriot said...

Obnoxious and stupid quite frankly. The amazing good that Apple and Steve Jobs has done for the disability community with their products is unquantifiable. Shame on Rabbi Sacks. A rabbi s supposed to be more educated.

Read http://asd2mom.blogspot.com

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Jameel, maybe the rabbis' humour or sarcasm was just a bit too subtle for you.

It seems quite apparent to me that Rav Sacks' complaint is more about the selfish attitude of the consumers than it is about Jobs. More about the market's response and exaggerated veneration, than it is about the inventor. Oh, and have you not noticed that more and more people are paying attention to their earphones and portable screens than they are to their surroundings and neighbors on the buses and in public places?

As for Rav Cardozo, you really think that was a mistake based on ignorance of language? Really? From a philosopher, of all people? I rather see that it was quite a cute play on the words cross-culturally, which allowed to create a witty message. Maybe it is only an older generation who used to be so facile with language in Israel; but I saw it right away as the sort of pun that I have heard many times over the years. I still hear them occasionally in Hebrew, but only from an 80-something year old gentleman who speaks about 15 languages. I think it just went over your head, in this case.

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Jameel, you are right that living in Israel is a mitzvah. Literally. But you misrepresent the Rambam. Look again at M'lachim 5:12.

He opens by saying that a person 'should always live in the Land of Israel...and should not live outside of the Land...that everyone who leaves to hutz la-aretz is as if a 'foreign worshiper' (my preferred term since idols are required to make it forbidden).

So Rambam's comparison to avodah zarah isn't for any and everyone who merely lives outside Israel. That would indict even those who had little choice and were raised outside Israel. Even his own holy forbears. His comparison is pointed at those who actively abandon the Land of Israel having already been there.

Rambam's language is always carefully chosen. He changed the verb from 'live' to 'leave' when he made his comparison to idol worship. It must have meaning. What's more, Rambam changed the language of the g'mara. The g'mara in Ketuvot says as you say - anyone who *lives* outside Israel resembles someone who has no God...anyone who *lives* in hutz la-aretz is as if he worships avodah zarah. So Rambam's slight change of the verb when he wrote the Mishnah Torah has to tell us something; either about how he reads the g'mara or about the version in front of him. Either way, you missed the care with which that halacha is written.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shalom R' Mordechai: You are correct that the Rambam changes the Gemara in his codification of the mitzvot to make "leaving" Israel, as if one is worshipping avoda zara.

I could have just quoted the Gemara exactly which states that it is better to live in a city of mostly idolators in Israel than a city of Jews outside of Israel, and that anyone who lives outside of Israel, it is if they have no G-d...and if they live outside Israel it is as if they worships false gods:

ת"ר: לעולם ידור אדם בארץ ישראל אפילו בעיר שרובה עובדי כוכבים, ואל ידור בחו"ל ואפילו בעיר שרובה ישראל, שכל הדר בארץ ישראל - דומה כמי שיש לו אלו-ה, וכל הדר בחוצה לארץ - דומה כמי שאין לו אלו-ה, שנא' (ויקרא כה): "לתת לכם את ארץ כנען - להיות לכם לאלהי-ם".
וכל שאינו דר בארץ אין לו אלו-ה?! אלא לומר לך: כל הדר בחו"ל - כאילו עובד עבודה זרה; וכן בדוד הוא אומר: (שמואל א, כו) "כי גרשוני היום מהסתפח בנחלת ה' לאמר לך עבוד אלהים אחרים", וכי מי אמר לו לדוד לך עבוד אלהי-ם אחרים? אלא לומר לך: כל הדר בחו"ל - כאילו עובד עבודה זרה.
מסכת כתובות דף קי ע"ב

Its interesting why the Rambam would have changed the text of the Gemara.

(btw: this is a much better explanation for Lord Sacks' interpretation -- one who lives in Chul ends up worshiping false gods...such as the iPad and iPhone :)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

R' Mordechai: Regarding R' Cardozo's statement...

As for Rav Cardozo, you really think that was a mistake based on ignorance of language? Really? From a philosopher, of all people? I rather see that it was quite a cute play on the words cross-culturally, which allowed to create a witty message

It is really simply a witty comment, or a scathing critique of the alleged decline of subconscious, interpersonal relationships in Israel?

These all end with the Hebrew word lach (to you), and that is not accidental. All emphasize the relationship we have with other people. While those who created these food names may not have been aware of their choice of words, their subconscious revealed inherently Jewish values.

With all due respect to R' Cardozo, his interpretation flies in the face of pshat.

Neshama said...

Maybe he is echoing the Mashgiach of Lakewood who held a gathering 21 Sept in condemnation of almost ALL the new techie inventions that help, truly help people function in our present days. Besides, what will they all say when Mashiach's arrival is revealed on all media of the world, including iPad, iMac et al. For even the non-Jews need to know. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said Moshiach's arrival will appear in the newspapers, which i believe would include all news sources.

See Lakewood
and Asifa

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Jameel, regarding Rav Cardozo, ein shoelin al hadrashot. ;-)

Neshama, Rav Cardozo isn't the fellow I expect to echo very much coming out of Lakewood.

Anonymous said...

Wo, easy there, big fella.
It is a metaphor for selfishness that Rav Saks is suggesting, not a literal attack on the iPad. When he reverts to i,i,i, he in no way is suggesting that this is what Apple meant.
He is not attacking computers, or iPads, he is attacking the consumer culture in which we live.
Speaking as a big fan of Rav Saks, perhaps you should consider your phraseology and Kavod Harav when you blog. Nastiness begets nastiness, you know.
I believe it was Andrew Carnegie who defined the consumer culture as getting people to consider luxuries as necessities.
Chill out there, J.

Shlomo said...

"Aliya doesn't need a catchphrase -- its a mitzva."

Just because something's a mitzvah means that everyone will automatically want to do it? I see you object to all mussar, not just these examples.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous (fan of R' Saks):

As the owner of some of R' Saks's books, I was disappointed that he used the "i" in iPad to get to his "i,i,i" point of attacking consumer culture.

Personally, I found the metaphor not becoming of the intellect of R' Sacks, nor befitting the general public. This is the new level of discourse?

Walid said...

I wonder if those rabbis you've cited are any happier with YouTube. :-)

Anonymous said...

"While the "i" could mean, "I" as in first person, everyone routinely uses "i" to denote internet."

According to apple, the "i" in iMac stands for 'individual'. 'internet', 'instruct', 'inform' and 'inspire'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BHPtoTctDY

Anonymous said...

""lach" in Yiddish, as I wrotein the post above and provided the Wikipedia hyperlinked article, means diminutive plural."

No, that is not what the word 'lach' means. That is what the suffix 'lach' means.

I asked because according to google translate, 'lach' means 'you' in Yiddish as well.

yoni r. said...

In perhaps one of the most asinine attacks on modern society I've come across lately, the Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, Lord Jonathan Sacks has come out swinging against the late Steve Jobs, Apple Corp, and modern day consumerism.
[...]
The "i" in "iPhone" is not intended to be "possessive" any more than an ophthalmologist is a label for a selfish physician who cares more about getting your money than caring for your opthamological
[sic.] health.

I wonder how long it will take for Rabbi Sacks to come out swinging against a popular and ordinarily intelligent Jewish blogger who mistook an obviously pedagogical jumping-off point for etymological substantiation of his premise, thereby totally ignoring the valid point he was making.

Perhaps he'll conclude that the blogger was so focused on dinging him for not encouraging Aliyah (at an interfaith reception attended by the Queen of England!) that he was scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for some context for misplaced criticism.

Far be it from me to say it, I'm just wondering if the Chief Rabbi will.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yoni: The Chief Rabbi's office has already started with spin control :-)

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/58670/chief-rabbi-i-did-not-attack-steve-jobs-or-apple

yoni r. said...

Jameel,

Too bad you didn't see the clarification first. It could have saved you the trouble of publishing a misdirected attack on the Chief Rabbi.

I have a feeling that the clarification was due to the reaction of millions of angry Apple fans. Ironically, the day before Jobs' death, many of those fans were spewing venom in his direction over the perceived (in their eyes) shortcomings of the iPhone 4s. Jobs' demise magically turned Apple's failure into a technological marvel.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yoni: Too bad he posted his clarification AFTER I posted my article!

:-)

yoni r. said...

Jameel,

Maybe because of your article.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yoni; Probably because of the 693,000 other articles on the Web talking about Lord Sacks and Steve Jobs...

https://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&safe=off&site=&source=hp&q=Lord+Sacks+Steve+Jobs&pbx=1&oq=Lord+Sacks+Steve+Jobs&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=1810l5377l0l5590l21l17l0l1l1l0l251l2750l0.12.5l18l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=a2761fc5b398cc1a&biw=1280&bih=616

The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

Rabbis are drawn to that initial "i" of iPod like moths to a flame. I expect that if you were to look for them you could find examples in contemporary Christian and Islamic homiletics as well.

Homiletics is not linguistics. More often than not, it is not even exegesis. It's purpose is to edify while amusing. We find this sort of stuff all over aggadic midrash, and all over the gemara, so why deny it to Sacks?

OTOH, it may be construed as poor taste to make an example of him so soon after his death, and there is no shortage of consummate marketers to choose from.

But, if you read Neal Stephenson's "In the Beginning was the Command Line," you will understand why Jobs is a natural choice.

Lurker said...

yoni r.: I wonder how long it will take for Rabbi Sacks to come out swinging against a popular and ordinarily intelligent Jewish blogger...

Whoa, it looks like you were right; it certainly didn't take R. Sacks long to "come out swinging". (I hope Jameel ducked.)

That's assuming, of course, that one considers R. Sacks contrite spin-control "clarification" and flip-flop regarding Steve Jobs to be an example of "coming out swinging"...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your post was removed, but the fact is, it all comes down to Kavod Harav. Would you have written a post like that if Rabbi Soloveitchik or Rav Moshe Feinstein were the person with whom you objected? I would tend to doubt it. You wouldn't have called their words asinine.
I also doubt you would have written that if you weren't an anonymous blogger. If you actually had to put your name where your hurtful words were, you wouldn't have the courage to criticize an internationally respected rabbinic leader so brazenly.
Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising,Rabbi Sacks made it on this list way back when he supported the tragic Oslo Accords.
http://www.masada2000.org/list-S.html

Lurker said...

Anonymous @ 3:47 PM: Would you have written a post like that if Rabbi Soloveitchik or Rav Moshe Feinstein were the person with whom you objected? I would tend to doubt it.

(1) With all due respect to R. Sacks, he is not nearly of the stature of R. Soloveitchik or R. Feinstein.

(2) Would R. Soloveitchik or R. Feinstein have made a statement as foolish as the one made by R. Sacks (which, to his credit, he has since retracted)? I would tend to doubt it.

Anonymous: I also doubt you would have written that if you weren't an anonymous blogger. If you actually had to put your name where your hurtful words were, you wouldn't have the courage to criticize an internationally respected rabbinic leader so brazenly.

Hmm, I wonder what makes you assume that, Mr. ...
Oops, never mind -- I just noticed that you're an anonymous commenter.

Anonymous: Grow up.

Chill out.

Anonymous said...

Why would an internationally respected rabbinic leader say something this asinine to the BBC?

"He also told the B.B.C. that Israel's self-defense against a two-year war of Palestinian terror makes him "feel very uncomfortable as a Jew."

Lurker said...

Anonymous @ 5:09 PM, : Why would an internationally respected rabbinic leader say something this asinine to the BBC?
"He also told the B.B.C. that Israel's self-defense against a two-year war of Palestinian terror makes him 'feel very uncomfortable as a Jew.'"


Thanks for pointing that out. If you google that particular statement by R. Sacks, btw, you will find that it is quoted gleefully and incessantly by thousands of viciously antisemitic web sites -- so much so that Google feels compelled to accompany the search results with a disclaimer.

To call that repugnant statement "asinine" is an understatement. Kol HaKavod, Lord Sacks.

Statements like that from R. Sacks demonstrate very clearly why it is absurd, to put it mildly, to compare him to R. Soloveitchik or R. Feinstein. Unlike R. Sacks, they were proud, not uncomfortable, about being Jews. And they certainly would never have publicly denounced the Jewish state for defending itself against those who seek to destroy it, especially to a antisemitic audience -- as R. Sacks did.

Anonymous said...

I clicked on the disclaimer from google, and it's not about that google search results but rather the fact that you searched for the word 'jew'..

In that link they provide a link to a fascinating article which reads...

"According to the "Philologos" (word lover) column in the Jewish newspaper The Forward, the word "Jew" is unique in the English language. In English, there are two rules of thumb for using nouns as adjectives when referring to ethnicity or geographic origin.

In one system, the noun and the adjective are the same. "Russian," "German" and "Greek" are interchangeable as nouns and adjectives; you say, "he's Greek" and "he's eating a Greek salad." In the second system, the noun and the adjective are different. You drink "Turkish" coffee, but no one says "he is a Turkish."

"There is, to the best of my knowledge," according to Philologos, "only one consistent exception to this rule: the word Jew." You can use "Jew" and "Jewish" interchangeably. The column contends that using "Jew" as an adjective is therefore offensive because it inherently suggests that Jews are "unlike all other human beings.""

Sounds like we should stop calling people Jewish and start being a unique people in the world :)

Anonymous said...

I guess you see no irony in Dati Jews defending their attack on a Rabbi whom many respect, though obviously they don't.
Factionalism is what will destroy our present status quo, much as it did at Churban baiyit sheini.
Is it that he's too liberal for you?
Do you just not like his views?
To me, your position is indefensible, but we'll just let your readers decide.
BTW, attacking the Rav for other things he's said with which you disagree as a justification for your previous offensive remarks is kind of pitiful.

Neshama said...

M.Y. Scher, I was referring to Lord Sacks, not R' Cordoza. That should be obvious, because of the Mashgiach's history.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous:

Factionalism is what will destroy our present status quo, much as it did at Churban baiyit sheini.

Ah, the ultimate conversation stopper. Factionalism -- or the inability to criticize anyone for the sake of the klal, regardless of the issue at hand.

Tell me, I am allowed to write I found Rabbi Sack's drash on the "i,i,i,iPad" immature and anti-intellectual? Since "asinine" is wrong, am I allowed to disagree with his viewpoint at all?

Rabbi Sack's has no issue dishing out criticism in his "Traditional Alternatives" book, where his stereotypical "Kipa Sruga" character is painted in radical wing wing colors.

Yet to call his "i,i,i" remark asinine is wrong?

His office found it necessary to do spin control after hundreds of thousands of people found it insulting that he (appeared) to be attacking Apple Corp and Steve Jobs.

I found his speech distasteful. However, I also removed the post after deciding that my language could have been written differently.

At the end of the day, he clarified his statements in an apologetic tone, and I removed my post.

Regardless of the post, his previous statements about Israel were offensive to many Israelis, many Jews, and your kneejerk defense of everything Rabbi Sacks says is kind of pitiful.

PS: Here's a good Dvar Torah for you: There is a whole breed of internet commercialism, based on altruism.

Youtube videos; upload files for everyone to view...for free!

Yousendit: it lets you send large files, with a free trial period!

yourway.co.il: lets YOU plan your vacation to Israel.

Mankind today must adopt the good things from the internet and help all of humanity. Amen.

Neshama said...

"Mankind today must adopt the good things from the internet and help all of humanity. Amen."

I agree ... Amen V'Amen

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