The Washington Post

Jobs tributes: Excessive?

In the segment above, CNN’s Howard Kurtz asks journo-watcher Jeff Jarvis if the media’s tributes to Steve Jobs went “over the top.”

No, replied Jarvis, though in more words: “It’s hard to be too hyperbolic about Steve Jobs. Consider that he is our Gutenberg, our Galileo, our da Vinci, our Einstein, our Edison. . . . In so many ways, these over-the-top metaphors work for him.”

That’s what I found last week following Jobs’s death. I spent considerable time combing all the obituaries and tributes out there. And, just as Jarvis says, most of the gushing look-backs were indeed justified by the ample record that Jobs left behind.

Wired magazine, however, did push the language:

Behind any human being is a mystery: What happened to make him . . . him? When considering extraordinary people, the question becomes an obsession. What produces the sort of people who create world-changing products, inspire by example and shock by justified audacity, and tag billions of minds with memetic graffiti? What led to his dead-on product sense, his haughty confidence, his ability to simultaneously hector and inspire people to do their best work?

And this:

After what seemed to be a successful initial surgery, Jobs would vary from his circumspect stance just once, in his address to the Stanford graduating class of 2005. That speech, by the way, might be the best commencement address in history. When designing computers, Jobs and his team built the one they wanted for themselves. And now he gave a speech that Steve Jobs would have wanted to hear if he had graduated from college.

Bolded text added to highlight what could be perceived as a slight exaggeration of Steve Jobs’s legacy.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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