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Steve Jobs dead

Unfortunately, it seems that the news of Steve Jobs' death has not been greatly exaggerated. I'm sad in a general way (news of a fairly young death, reminders of mortality, etc.) But mostly I have this sort of bemused boredom going on. I don't mean to insult his family or even Apple afficionados, but it just strikes me as... odd. Steve Jobs had a huge effect on defining my generation, after all. And he was very individual in the way he did it. Compare that to the reaction I feel and see others express when movie stars and musicians die.

It makes me think that we humans really are story-writers. Or story-hearers. Or story-something. It is the people who tell us a story, whose art gives our lives structure, that really affect us. Or at least really affect me. Interestingly, this reminds me of a piece I recently saw in The Guardian, about how Roman Polanski deserved his lifetime achievement award in spite of his past immorality. The argument goes that art is supposed to be distinct from the artist. That was supposedly why we forgave Amy Winehouse's drug use, T.S. Eliot's antisemitism, and Einstein's affairs. But as I read that, I found I couldn't agree with her. A hundred years ago, art may have been separated from the artist. Maybe it still is for some less publicized portions of the entertainment industry. But with art we know the artists. And with narrative art - film being the ultimate example for my time - where we are inviting someone else to give us a frame of reference for shaping our lives, we have to trust the artist. Narrative art is intimate.

Which is why I think I'm ultimately not too upset about Jobs' death. Perhaps I should be. And I am sorry for his family; I just don't feel like the loss of him affects who I am. I think it's because technology is much less internalized than art.

Btw, I actually started caring about Jobs a lot more when I found out he was integral to the art I love: he was a major player in Pixar!

Anyway, I find it interesting to think about these occasions at times like this. How did Jobs' death affect you? And how do you usually relate to celebrity deaths? Is there such a thing as being too affected by the death of someone you don't know?

This entry was originally posted at http://fidesquaerens.dreamwidth.org/10563.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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