Apples and flowers and candles and notes littered the sidewalks in front of Apple stores around the world Thursday. In a rare show of emotion for an American CEO, the world reacted to the death Steve Jobs with an outpouring of devotion.
Some complained it went too far. Jack Schafer at Reuters wrote, “My problem isn’t with Steve Jobs but the sloppy veneration of Steve Jobs. He made computers, pretty good computers. Isn’t that enough?”
Part of the reasoning for the coverage of his death can be attributed to continuance of the coverage of Jobs’s life. As The Post’s Paul Farhi notes: “For a man who could be as pushy, manipulative and at times downright prickly with the press as he was with the engineers who designed his products, Steve Jobs enjoyed almost worshipful media coverage.”
The media definitely suffered at being “Apple’s original fanboys (and gals),” as Farhi writes. Stephen Colbert aptly portrayed the rapid fandom of journalists, saying in his farewell tribute, “Most people have to pay for that kind of product placement.”
It wasn’t just the media full court press that drove the excessive tributes. It was powered by hundreds and thousands of people offering up a small creative touch in honor of a man who inspired them, such as this anonymous street art trompe l’oeil:
Although Schafer correctly asserts that Jobs fostered a quasi-religious experience for his customers, he errs in his final assessment. Jobs did not make computers. He hired great, smart employees to make computers. He made a myth out of himself. He fiercely controlled his image, as photographer David Walker recalled. Jobs as a photography subject was not “not just run-of-the mill difficult, but the archetype of difficult.”
He sold his customers the idea that the “crazy ones” should be celebrated and idolized, and by buying his products they could consider themselves a little crazy, too. It was a tantalizing promise.