Notable Items

The passing of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple.

I don’t have an iPhone or other Apple products, but Steve Jobs – he was an original (Pixar! technological revolution! not perfect guy, but he changed society!).

Via the Slatest over at Slate: “From his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford: ‘Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked; there is no reason not to follow your heart.'”  I have to say: that was a great speech.

Time’s obit by Harry McCracken was interesting to me for how it covered the man and the company he made.  Plus, a nifty feature about those Apple commercials; the one on innovators (“Think Different”) would surely include Jobs himself:

Also, Time’s James Poniewozik posts on how moved he, an Apple user, felt about the news of Jobs’ passing; great writing and analysis, as Poniewozik notes, in review of his iPad/iPhone/Mac/Pixar films with kids: “Which is why I’ll spend much of tomorrow, too, inside Steve Jobs’ idea: that a computer should be an elegant, simple frame, and we should fill it with the things that matter to us.”

Just a thought: instead of buying flowers and leaving it at an Apple store, donate that money to cancer research. I think even Jobs would like that.

Also: the passing of Arthur C. Nielsen, Jr. – the man who transformed an industry, in the development of the Nielsen ratings – the stuff that makes our television shows rise or fall.  As Poniewozik notes on his Time.com blog, “Tuned In,” Nielsen helped make tv a business.

Also: the passing of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, civil rights pioneer; I link to the NPR obit, which had an interesting subtitle of “History Meets Hope” regarding one of Rev. Shuttlesworth’s last public appearances at a celebration of President Obama’s inauguration.  I thought the obit about him in the NY Times by Jon Nordheimer was fascinating:

When he tried to enroll his children in an all-white school in 1957, Klansmen attacked him with bicycle chains and brass knuckles. When a doctor treating his head wounds marveled that he had not suffered a concussion, Mr. Shuttlesworth famously replied, “Doctor, the Lord knew I lived in a hard town, so he gave me a hard head.” [….]

In 2009, in a wheelchair, he was front and center among other dignitaries in an audience of about 6,000 at the city’s Boutwell Auditorium to watch a live broadcast as the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, was sworn in.

He had encountered Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, two years earlier, along with former President Bill Clinton, during a commemoration in Selma of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches. As a crowd crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where demonstrators were beaten and tear-gassed on “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, Mr. Obama pushed Mr. Shuttlesworth’s wheelchair.

When I’m getting really cynical about the state of civil rights these days, it’s good to remember that the previous generation fought a real battle to get us to a certain point and the battles continue.

History Meets Hope, indeed, in an age where I wonder where the hope went.  Let’s not forget the innovators and the fighters; let’s be like them.

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