If an award were given for most Orwellian speech by a tech CEO – a highly competitive category – Apple’s Tim Cook would have a near lock on this year’s blue ribbon.
I am not pleased to bust Apple. I bought my first Mac right off the assembly line in 1984 when the 24-year old Cook was still working in the fulfillment department at IBM.
I have been using Apple products ever since. I am typing this on a Mac OS Sierra. That said, if there were some sane place in the tech world I could safely flee, I would be gone tomorrow. But there isn’t. For now, I’m stuck with Cook.
On Monday in New York, Cook received the Anti-Defamation League’s first ever “Courage Against Hate Award.” Cook putatively won the award “for his work as a champion of unity, diversity and social progress.”
One suspects Cook actually won the award because Apple can write the ADL much bigger checks than can, say, the Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice, the Lower East Side Girls Club, or any of the hundreds of leftist do-gooder clubs in New York alone.
If Cook’s speech were to be graded on promoting “unity,” however, it would receive a low D. In a sanctimonious few minutes, he managed to annoy, if not frighten, me and most thinking Americans.
“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence,” said Cook with all the fervor of a Puritan divine preaching infant damnation. “You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here.”
On hearing Cook’s next sentence, I actually burst out laughing. Said Cook with delusional pride, “From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today, we have always prohibited music with a message of white supremacy.”
Upon catching my breath, I replayed the clip. Did Cook actually say, “music with a message of white supremacy”? Yup, he did.
No wonder he won the courage award. Under Cook’s leadership, Apple boldly turned its back on the billion-dollar white supremacy music industry. He made sure that groups like F.W.A. – Fascists With Attitudes – had “no home” at Apple.
Why did Cook ban those great white supremacy standards from the Apple play list? Said he without a hint of self-awareness, “because it’s the right thing to do.”
In truth, other than perhaps “Dixie,” I can’t say I have ever heard a song that promotes anything even tangentially supremacist. If I need a daily dose of hate, I turn to hip-hop.
Although the $10 billion per year hip-hop industry wallows in division of all kinds, Tim Cook chooses not to listen to the songs his company promotes. It is quite possible that Apple has never banned a single rap song or artist. Ever.
N.W.A.’s “F*** tha Police” (asterisks added) is easily downloaded from the Apple Store. Youngsters can dance to lyrics such as “Punk Police are afraid of me/ Huh, a young nigga on the warpath/ And when I’m finished, it’s gonna be a bloodbath/ Of cops, dying in L.A.”
For variety, there is T.M.W.’s “F*** Tha Cops.” (asterisks added) This catchy tune goes, “Hey, yo/ I’mma kill a cop or two/ I’mma whack them off their department office seats/ And you’ll Origan’ll help me too.”
I suppose that Cook could make the social justice argument that killing cops is somehow an anti-hate gesture, but it would be hard to make that same argument when it comes to abusing women.
The Apple play list features, among others, “X Is Coming”by DMX. “Tryin’ to send the b–ch back to her maker,” sings DMX. “And if you got a daughter older then 15, I’mma rape her/ Take her on the living room floor, right there in front of you/ Then ask you seriously, whatchu wanna do?”
Apple promotes literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of songs that celebrate the physical abuse of women. “Now I gotsa to give your mother–kin a– a beatin,” sings Kool G in “Hey Mister Mister.” “I punched her in the ribcage and kicked her in the stomach/ Take off all my mother–kin jewelry, b–ch runnin/ I stomped her and I kicked her and I punched her in the face.”
In May, Cook and his colleagues had an opportunity to show their commitment to unity, diversity and social progress after singer R Kelly’s chronic abuse of women became too public to ignore.
Chances are Cook and pals would have done nothing if Spotify had not embarrassed Apple by announcing it would no longer promote Kelly’s music on its curated playlists. Prodded by Spotify’s gesture, Apple announced it too would no longer feature Kelly’s music.
To be sure, Kelly would still have a “home” at Apple. Apple would just be quiet about it. Discretion, as they say in the courage business, is the better part of valor.