OFF THE GRID

Steve Jobs Lives (or Is Not Dead, Apparently)

Jun 24, 09 | 9:09 AM   byMichael Wolff
Get posts from Michael Wolff via email (Sample)

Follow him on Twitter @MichaelWolffNYC

Well, is he in the building or not? Is he all better? Why won’t they tell us? And does it matter?

Now, it very well may be that many successful public companies are run by crazy buggers—secretive, paranoid, and contrary to a fantastic degree. It may be that Steve Jobs is actually a breath of fresh air. While he may have tried to hide his health issues, he’s certainly open about his peculiarities.

Anyway, he very well could be back at work, and, according to mysterious sources, with a new liver (a hospital in Memphis is now claiming to have supplied it). Indeed, in Jobs’ continuing campaign to turn corporate transparency on its ear, various members of the press seem to have been told certain things under certain conditions designed to further cloud the situation. Not just to turn transparency on its ear, but to mock it.

At virtually every step of Jobs’ illness there’s been a pattern of misinformation and subterfuge and pretense and prevarication. And for what? None of this obfuscation seems to have been to any clear point. There certainly doesn’t seem to be a business advantage to this grand deception. The point seems to be just deception itself—how much can Steve Jobs get away with? And even here, it’s a little odd because what has been most clear is Jobs’ intent to deceive everybody. Perhaps this is what has helped the company avoid the kind of SEC scrutiny that such deception at such a grand scale at a public company would seem to deserve—that is, it’s hard to accuse a company of hiding material facts when it’s obvious what material facts it’s hiding. In other words, it isn’t so much an intention to deceive, rather it’s just weirdness and eccentricity, and there aren’t SEC rules against that.


(AP Photo)

So perhaps it’s time to look at the way Steve Jobs has handled his illness, not from an uptight regulatory and shareholder view, but from a more heroic angle. The way he has handled his illness has been a calculated fuck you to compliance ritual and propriety and to every investor and geek and subscriber to Silicon Valley mythology who thought they had a claim on him. If he was going to die, he was going to die his way. If he was not going to die, perhaps his way was what was going to keep him alive.

Or, if he was going to die, then he was going to make it as difficult and as stressful as possible for everyone around him. Or, if he wasn’t going to die, he was going to do it in such a way that he’d be able to say one helluva I-told-you-so.

Genius has its privileges and he was going to take advantage of all of them. Anyway, if he did have to die, he certainly wasn’t going to be generous or gracious about it. And, of course, maybe he still is dying and this being in the building and back at work is just a terrible tease—the final fuck you.

Somewhere in this weirdness there are probably secrets about what makes certain businesses uniquely great. Jobs, however, is still a prick.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com.
COMMENTS
You need to Log in to Newser to comment. Don't have an account yet? Sign up now!
2 comments
RECENT POSTS
Oct 20, 10 | 1:52 PM

I Have an Afghanistan Solution

Oct 19, 10 | 9:28 AM

The War in Afghanistan Is Over

Oct 14, 10 | 10:22 AM

How to Tax the Rich

Oct 6, 10 | 8:54 AM

Founding Fathers Version 2.0

Sep 30, 10 | 11:40 AM

Here's Why Google Needs To Buy Twitter Immediately

FeedRSS
ABOUT

OFF THE GRID is about why the news is the news. Here are the real motivations of both media and newsmakers. Here's the backstory. This is a look at the inner workings of desperate media, the inner life of the publicity crazed, and the true meaning of the news of the day.

 

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!