In the shadow of his death, more and more it’s looking like this is a Steve Jobs world – we just live in it. If you don’t believe me, just be alive and conscious in the past year (or even since Jobs died last October, really). A biography is one thing – and a best-selling biography at that – but that’s no surprise because lots of people get that treatment. But then there was the strange gang-saluting statue, the Flaming Lips tribute, the Grammy award and the so realistic-it’s-creepy action figure. Now, as if last year’s comic book wasn’t enough, there is another one in the works: The Zen of Steve Jobs.
JESS3 and Forbes magazine are publishing the graphic novel later this year and offer up this preview:
The story’s plot focuses on Jobs’ life less celebratory during the middle of the 1980s, a period which JESS3 founder and CEO Jesse Thomas describes as “the lost years.” To get through the dark period of his life of the 80s, Jobs turns to buddhism and the study of Zen that eventually prompts his triumphant return to Apple in the aughts.
I’m not really sure I have a word for the emotional reaction I have from listening to the three men (or should I say three votaries?) in that video as they make Jobs sound more like a T.H. White-scribed samurai than a man who merely helmed a successful technology company. Fan-fic is nothing new, for sure, but so much of that productive energy has gravitated towards Jobs since he died. The worship of Jobs’ legacy of an inventor is unnervingly similar to how Henry Ford was revered as a new god in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Maybe all of this feverish hagiography is because it’s still a fairly recent event (if four months ago can be considered “recent”) and it will ebb later this year. Then again, maybe this is Huxley’s prescient cue where we learn to mutter “Our Jobs” when referring to a creator.
I hope I’m only extrapolating a cynical conclusion from an innocuous fad that is happening right now as well as I hope that my sentiments aren’t dismissed as crude effrontery toward someone’s contributions to how society is structured. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have to re-learn how to do a lot of things right now if I suddenly didn’t have an iPhone to tell me how to do lots of things. I’m just at the saturation point with Jobsians that I could either be brackish or I could enjoy it. For now, I’ll enlist myself in the cause of the latter and hope certain works of dystopian fiction stay on the bookshelves and don’t come spilling off the page into our reality.
So then, let’s play: What Steve Jobs tribute would you like to see next? Possibilities that would in one way or another delight me to see: a Pez dispenser, sky writing art, and a commemorative Jelly Belly flavor. If you’ve got any contributions you’d like to suggest for memorial Steve Jobs tchotchkes, leave them below in your comments.