An Open Letter To Apple

Submitted by C B Wright on

Dear Apple Sons of Bitches:

Mark Fiore, in case you weren't paying attention (or you had your collective heads so far up your collective asses that you were too comfortably ensconced in your collective cocoons to bother noticing) is a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist. Apparently he thought it would be a good idea to create an app for your iPhone, so that his fans could, I don't know, browse whatever it was he was doing from the comfort of their own battery-welded-to-the-chassis, walled-in-for-your-protection phone.

It's not a bad business decision, I guess. Unfortunately you geniuses pulled his app from your store. According to an article on Wired.com, you did so because it violated Section 3.3.14 from the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement:

Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.

Congratulations, Apple. You decided to come out against satire.

That's right: because Mr. Fiore is a cartoonist who makes fun of public figures-- pretty much the stock-in-trade of every humorist who comments on current events -- he is no longer welcome in the iPhone community.

Don't get me wrong, I know perfectly well that Apple is a company, not part of the government, and that therefore it has absolutely no legal obligation to meet any kind of standards for protecting free speech or opposing censorship. Technically you're not doing a damn thing wrong. On the other hand, you're still engaging in censorship, which in my book is a social evil that is damaging to the public good, which is why the government is constrained from engaging in it in the first place.

I've never particularly understood the iPhone "We Must Protect Our Racial Purity At Any Cost" model of App Store Cleansing, but this should be held up as your crowning achievement, because at the end of the day you assholes are selling a phone: a device that is intended to allow people to communicate with each other. While you can argue that iPhone applications are "other" things that are tacked on to the phone itself, you are selling a communication tool that blocks people from communicating with each other in specific ways and on certain types of content for the sole reason that you don't like it.

That's no kind of phone I would ever want to own... but that's not far enough for me. Despite the many problems I have with Steve Jobs, your current Lord and Master, I've always respected your products. The iPod, the Mac Laptops, yes, even the iPhone itself are marvels of engineering. But you've guaranteed that I'll never consider buying one again, not for myself, not for my wife, not for my daughter. If Apple is behind it, I want no part of it.

I won't be urging my readers to boycott your products. They're all individuals, perfectly capable of making their own decisions. But for my part, I guaran-damn-tee that I won't even use the iPod I already have.

Oh, and while I never intended to create an iPhone App to publish my comic, I'd like to gleefully point out that any iPhone App out there that can view my little comic is in violation of Section 3.3.14, since I have been known to satirize public figures, including -- gasp! -- Steve Jobs. So I recommend doing an immediate audit of your apps and disable any web-capable iPhone application, including the Safari browser.

Or, if you want to do it the easy way, just block these domain names:

  • Eviscerati.com
  • Eviscerati.org
  • Eviscerati.net
  • Ubersoft.net
  • Ubersoft.org

That should take care of it. Now go back to doing whatever the hell it is you do. And try to get that block in place before Monday, because next week is going to be fun.