Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Man in the Machine (movie review)

I was pretty sure I'd seen this.  I've eschewed the dramatic version.  Docu-dramas are less my thing if real documentaries are available.  Not that it has to be either / or.  I've seen Aung San Suu Kyi's story done with actors too.

Anyway, the director was amazed at the global outpouring of both grief and respect for Steve Jobs when he passed.  The wake was reminiscent of the one for John Lennon, or Prince.  Princess Di even.  "Why?" the director asked; hence this movie.

The episodes from Steve's life that he chooses are indeed choice.  He bangs on his Japanese guru's door, lonely with his own dread.  He's saddled with a burden:  a form of enlightenment.  His first real girlfriend (as in, mother of his first child) only sort of agrees:  enlightened yes, but still with the burden of ego, so in a sense "he blew it".

Of course any film even momentarily entertaining such a thesis would be controversial, given Jobs was the icon of success. How could bachelors be married?  How could the Pope not be Catholic?

The director allows those who idolize Steve to have their say.

Both Glenn and I remarked how much Jobs looked like Tom Cruise as a youth.  This director also went after Scientology, in another movie I've seen.  He's not one for putting mere showmen at the top of his totem pole, and I think in this director's opinion Jobs was a tad pretentious.

He did live and breath his machines.  He did sit quietly in Zen gardens and seem serene.

As for me, I could see where the Think Different campaign would be moving to Jobs and expressive of his values.  What values?  I think giving space to freaks to invent the impossible in a short window. Like Alan Turing did.

He galvanized people to produce in ways we maybe thought only a war to the death really could.  Or was that what this was?  We all face mortality, so it's not like the wartime theater is any more lethal, given morbidity is 100%, eventually.

The film is a trip down memory lane and a quick review of the territory we've covered, since well before the personal computer.  Recommended.  Well made.  Kristen is a serious Apple fan.  There's a religious dimension.  Ray Kroc also understood how customers would be loyal to what had been loyal to them.  The products pleased people, still do.

Full disclosure: I forked over $300 for a use (good condition) MacBook Pro yesterday.  Good thing, because had I done my taxes first, I'd probably have felt too much the mendicant to have continued in my business.

As luck would have it, I went from Glenn's to get my taxes computed afterward.

Some ruthless stranger wants to extort money to blow up children, or send me to jail.  If I were brave and more honorable, I would refuse to pay a dime to the DC gangland oligarch hijackers of a once Constitutional government.

But I'm reconciled to life in the gulag.  Post USA North America, still pumped up with illusions, is a strange place to be.

Probably because of my dark mood regarding the farce my taxes pay for, I really wasn't that disturbed by Apple using Ireland as a tax haven.  Any way to keep the money from feeding these warmonger bozos was all right with me.

I'm used to people saying Buckminster Fuller was a failure, never mind all the patents, awards, honorary degrees.  A showman, a popularizer, and look, the world is still a mess, so Bucky was wrong about our human potential.

Maybe judging people isn't the real work, nor our calling as viewers of these films.  We're putting together a model of reality and taking in what happened.  We need the stories.  We don't need verdicts.  Life is not a court.  Who's naughty and who's nice might not be the whole point.