All jobs require very different skills. For example, to work in retail you need to be able to smile on cue and finish every sentence with an upwards inflection. To work on a bar you have to have the cheery outlook of a cat living on a catnip farm and to work in politics you have to be able to look slightly less ridiculous than your opponents while trying to complete normal people activities like eating a bacon sandwich, riding on a zipwire and articulating an original thought.
Recently I’ve been driven to madness thinking about politics a lot by a brief and mostly indirect encounter with a particular British politician. I won’t mention his or her (what am I saying? When would a woman get into a position of power in the British government?) identity but let’s just say he’s often pictured as being as happy as Nick Griffin in a Mosque and has the power and influence of Brazil without Neymar. For the purpose of this post we’ll refer to him as Mick. Now, Mick taught me so many things about the workings of politics in this once by nature, but now only by name, Great Britain. He taught me that politics is not, as it once was, about changing things, not for the better, not for the worse. What politics is about is convincing people that they are valued and agreed with by the people in positions of (relative) power. People want to know not only that their representatives share their views but also that they’re down-to-earth, that they’re really no different from anyone else. But the sorry truth seems to be that they see themselves as above everything, and they have to work ever so hard to repress this feeling when they’re slumming it by listening to their ignorant supporters ranting about this and that while they nod their head mumbling ‘mmm’ ‘yes’ or ‘you’re right’.
They wouldn’t dare disagree with vital support, and as a result they end up being little more than reflective surfaces when they’re actually with the underlings of the party, the proles. No progress is made, no ideas are challenged, and thanks to the monstrous ego of the politician, no possibility of their own ideas being altered is entertained, even in the realms of imagination. There’s a theory that there’s a infinite number of parallel universes yet I still can’t fathom one where politicians’ ideas could be impacted by the words of their loyal party grunts. This rejection of taking to heart the concerns of the ordinary people highlights the shift in politics that’s occurred in recent times. Politics isn’t something one gets into in order to change the nation to help the majority but rather a career path where games are played and people are manipulated almost as much as statistics in order to gain votes. Whoever gets the most votes, whether they’ve been completely above board or not, wins the game. It’s chess, with an election clock and plenty of disposable pawns.
Mick tried to come across as caring and understanding when faced with his potential votes but had a remarkable sense of entitlement. I was frankly a little taken aback at that. For someone to have such a blatantly inflated opinion of his own importance after years of being the media’s whipping boy was admirable. Satire has failed us. I shudder to imagine the level of self-worth needed for people to rise to the top of the political toilet.
Apple have been a company at the forefront of new technology for the past few years, with Steve Jobs seemingly not only the figurehead but also the driving force behind the consistent innovation they’ve come out with. Recently though, I can’t help but feel Apple have lost the plot somewhat. From the face of it you’d never know, they’ve got the same shiny customer image and they word their product descriptions in such a way that would have you believe they’re doing something really special. At the moment though, they’re far from that. Recently there’s been another Apple product announcement to inform the world of their new updated version of the iPhone.
Apple have always held their events in September, not at the same time as other competitors, for example Samsung and HTC. This is obviously a ploy to set them apart from direct competition, and it’s a successful strategy. But if the new product is less than impressive, there are no distractions from it. Take the new iPhones, firstly, the iPhone 5c. With all new technology comes an exciting USP. A reason to buy that one rather than an alternative. What’s the iPhone 5c’s USP? It comes in different colours. That’s pretty much it. Of course Apple don’t want you to realise that that’s it. Go on the Apple site, and you’ll be met with the flowery argument that “Colour is more than just a hue. It expresses a feeling. Makes a statement. Declares an allegiance. Colour reveals your personality.” I hate to hastily dive into floccinaucinihilipilification, but that means absolutely nothing.
First of all, no, colour isn’t ‘more than just a hue’. That’s exactly what colour is. The presence of a hue distinguishes colours such as red and green from black and white, the main distinction between the iPhone 5 and the 5c. As for it expressing a feeling, feelings are quite changeable. Unless it has the colour changing ability of a chameleon, it will almost never express a feeling. You don’t see someone wearing a green jumper and assume they’re envious do you? You wouldn’t do such a thing; you probably possess a modicum of intelligence. Declare an allegiance? Without context, colours don’t signify anything of the sort. Lenin probably would’ve picked a red phone over a white one, but a sales executive talking on a red one probably isn’t a Bolshevik. All this nonsense just emphasises the fact that they haven’t got any worthwhile selling points for this new iPhone and have instead resorted to a strategy as outrageously ridiculous as Derek Acorah’s source of income. Even the section of the Apple website dedicated to this new lump of allegiance-declaring rubbish feels overworked. They’ve added a page orientated scroll with pointless showy animations to impress the easily amused and overly wealthy. Instead of persuading me to shell out £470 it just feels clunky and slow. Less is more, Apple.
This would all be very biased if I didn’t also give my opinion on the 5c’s brother, the 5S. The 5S isn’t entirely based on colour luckily, although they do make a bit too much of an overly-flashy gold edition. No, it’s slightly more focused on specification. The 3 main points seem to be “A chip with 64-bit architecture” (sounds good but won’t mean much to many), “A fingerprint identity sensor” (Not at all necessary, will quickly lose novelty value) and “A better, faster camera” (Good, but the camera was fine already, and anyone with a real interest in photography would buy a dedicated camera). Apparently “Any one of these features in a smartphone would make it ahead of its time”. That’s just a flat-out marketing lie. There’s much more I could write about the new iPhones, especially the 5S, but I don’t want this post to be excessively long. So you can go and make up your own mind about it. Just remember, just because it’s green, doesn’t make it worth 500 pounds. Grass is green too, and you can probably find some of that for slightly less.