While most took the recent story of Victoria Campbell, the 99-year old whose first computer is an iPad, as a heartwarming tale of the benefits of technology, one pundit saw the insidious effects of Apple’s closed and DRM-ridden platform.
Open source and digital rights advocate Cory Doctorow — author of not one but two screeds detailing why anyone who buys an iPad is a terrible, terrible person — flew to Lake Oswego, Ore. to personally chastise Campbell.
“Apparently Ms. Campbell is happy inside Apple’s walled garden,” Doctorow said after being ejected from the Mary’s Woods Retirement Community for haranguing the nonagenarian for a full 45 minutes on the moral imperative of open systems, digital rights and steampunk subculture.
“I hope she’s happy in the infantile world of apps only approved by Apple’s jack-booted thugs,” the author of Little Brother said. “I hope she’s happy being forced into being a content consumer instead of a content creator. And when I say ‘I hope she’s happy’ I’m being sarcastic because people like Campbell really are the worst people in the world. And that includes pedophiles.”
Doctorow believes Campbell should avail herself of any one of the numerous open systems that are just as good, just as easy to use and have just as much content as the iPad.
“I explained to her how easy it is to compile and install Debian on a steampunk casemod of a tablet built by a Japanese company I know of that’s run entirely by bloody nurse cosplayers. You have to reset some jumpers and the sound card isn’t compatible yet, but you can run GIMP on it. Try that on an iPad.
“Anyway, she pretended not to understand what I was talking about. Way to buy into the ugly stereotype of the technophobic nonagenarian with glaucoma in a nursing home, Ms. Campbell.”
The staff of Mary’s Woods was beside themselves.
“This is just awful,” said director Patricia Hershey. “We’re not sure exactly how he got in. We think he might have crawled in through a heating duct that’s only a foot and half across. Although he would have had to dislocate his shoulder in order to fit in it.”
Hershey shuddered. “The staff and the residents are all terribly frightened and confused.”
Doctorow, who will be signing copies of Little Brother at the Bloomington Linux Users Group next week, was unapologetic about his methods.
“Digital rights is the most important thing ever,” Doctorow said flatly. “Way more important than cancer or genocide or child slavery. It’s not even close. They’re like way down on the graph.
“If you are not part of the solution — which is open systems using standards-based formats that allow everyone to freely create and consume openly licensed content while wearing brass-rimmed goggles, leather dusters, tightly-laced bodices and gauntlets — then you’re part of the problem. And Virginia Campbell is part of the problem.”
Hershey said that the incident has forced her to rescind her invitation to have Doctorow conduct a dramatic reading of Little Brother next month to the residents.
“That’s just typical of an organization that promotes closed systems,” Doctorow noted, slipping a copy of Little Brother into the basket of a Mary’s Woods resident’s mobility scooter as she left the facility.
Campbell and Hershey have declined to press charges against Doctorow, stating they don’t think they could bear to listen to him testify.
“I already heard him testify for 45 of the longest minutes of my 99-year life,” Campbell said, not looking up from the poem she was inexplicably creating on her closed, proprietary and DRM-ridden iPad. “That was more than enough for me.”
[Crazy Apple Rumors Site is satire. Added for the irony-impaired who are apparently sending hate mail to Cory over this piece. Seriously, people. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell to do with you.]