I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’

Mad About U2, Part II: Electric Bugaboo


But the inordinate amount of actual anger directed at Apple and U2 over this is so disproportional to the actual event, I’ve started to wonder about the mental state of some of those complaining. It’s really been off the charts.

If you fall into that camp, let me speak very plainly: I have no sympathy for you. I have trouble thinking of a more self-indulgent, “first world problem” than saying “I hate this free new album I’ve been given.”

Perhaps I can help you think of a more self-indulgent “first world problem.” 

How about “I hate these people’s opinions, which I have freely chosen to read. I must tell them how to feel.”

I believe the term, in Tumblr parlance, is “THIS^^^!”.

Why do we get to judge what people should and shouldn’t feel angry about? What they should and shouldn’t feel was a breach of their privacy1?

What I’m seeing here is the same argument as “American women shouldn’t worry about being told to smile on the streets because they don’t get acid thrown in their faces like some women in the Middle East.” People can be committed to multiple causes, even if some of them are more trivial than others.

People can be good citizens, keeping abreast of global issues while working to effect what change they can in their local communities, and still be pissed that Apple put an album on their phone that they didn’t want.

Especially in the wake of the international “scandal” of the stolen photos from iCloud. Smartphones are increasingly an extension of ourselves. Except now the news is telling us that not only can someone steal things from your smartphone; now they can also put things onto your smartphone without your permission.

I can see how it’d be jarring.

It didn’t jar me enough to complain about it on the internet, but watching people I respect try to elect themselves arbiters of who gets to feel what about which thing certainly did.

  1. I do agree that “violation” was an extremely poorly chosen word by dwineman. That undermines his credibility somewhat but much of the rest of his argument remains sound. 

However, a win for gays, on the whole, shouldn’t twist the fact that even within our own diverse enclave, some gays are still losing. For someone who’s bisexual or older or overweight or transgender, exclusion isn’t unusual. The takeaway point: It hasn’t gotten better for a lot of GLBT folks.