Must Obey Apple

Hey you. Yes you. I wanna sex you up. DUM? DUSL? IF/IB?

Sorry. That was awfully forward of me wasn’t it? In future, would you like to prevent the distribution of these sickening, sexual slurs?

Fear not fascist parents of the free world – there’s an app for that. Once again it’s Apple to the rescue. For never again shall we be exposed to the toxic indignity of forbidden inflections and the radioactive sickness of sexual syntax. Thanks be to Jobs. Amen.

Apple filed a patent in 2008 for software that prevents users sending text messages that contain ‘inappropriate’ language. Within the last few days the patent has been granted. The concept is to attempt to restrict people, particularly young children, from sending sexually explicit messages.

Enforcing set standards for grammar and language, it is thought that the technology will compare the text against a list of ‘offensive’ terminology and prevent the propagation of the message if the standards are not met. Causing the user to have to rewrite the message. Worse still, the message could be intercepted by an ‘administrator’, who would presumably ‘administrate’. Which is clearly a clandestine term for – obliterate, and refers not just to your text, but to you. Apple will obliterate you.

Apple hope to tailor the tech to cover deliberate spelling mistakes such as – vagani, which sounds like an Italian shoe company, and common ‘sext’ acronyms, of which there are more than you can comprehend. Q2C anyone?

Working titles for Apple’s software include – iAmSteveJobsandI’mScaredofSex, iForbidYouToUseDirtyWords and iWithdrawYourFreedomofSpeech.

Thankfully the technology will not be installed as standard. Instead parents could download and enforce the tool upon their children’s phone themselves. Apple claim they’re “enabling control”. They are enabling parents to withdraw control from their children, the user of the technology in question.

Fortunately for members of the UK who value their right to talk dirty [most do], the patent was granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, meaning this technology may not yet reach our humble – if a little high on the teen-pregnancy rating – shores.

What’s the problem with ‘sexts’ anyway? Does Steve suppose it will quell teenage pregnancies if horny kids can no longer send and receive “i wana fuk u hard lolz”? Sure their time would be better spent reading a book, but if kids get a kick out of poorly articulated messages with broad sexual connotations, who is Jobsworth to stop them?

I suspect the true motives are more sinister than a simple anti-porn campaign. Cunning capitalism and an attempt to shift stock seems more likely. Then again, I’m a professional cynic. Make you own mind up. But it’s clear the iPhone has become an iconic piece of hardware, amongst adults and teens alike.

Teenagers live increasingly aspirational lives. They believe a cool phone reflects their cool personality. But kids cannot afford anything from Apple’s magical land of shiny white plastic. They can’t afford an iPhone. They can’t even get jobs. There’s a recession or something. So who pays? Parents pay. And what’s the parent’s worst nightmare? Sexually explicit text messages apparently. Not hard drugs or paedophilia, but virtual penetration manifested in an amalgamation of insignificant lettering.

Control-freak parents are already salivating over the prospect of limiting their little angel’s lexicon. But at what age do they allow their child the blessing of linguistic liberty? At 16 when they’re legally allowed to copulate? At 18 when they’re legally allowed to view pornography? At 35 when they get their first girlfriend? What is ‘sexting’ anyway? Is it porn? Is it sex? No. It’s neither. It’s just words like all the above. Aimless, pointless, useless words.

The patent is but another piece of evidence of Steve Jobs’ anti-porn propaganda. What’s wrong with this guy? I suspect he was once caught in a furious act of self-appreciation by his grandmother, who simply entered to check if little Stevie needed help with his homework. Which was apparently an in-depth study of BDSM.

So King Apple has already outlawed sex. It’s inappropriate. It’s not like it maintains the survival and longevity of our race or anything important. Y’know what else isn’t important? Cannibalism. Necrophilia. Rival companies. They’re all inappropriate too. Anything that doesn’t directly affect Apple’s sales figures is pretty inappropriate really. So why stop at sex? Why not censor any mention of their rivals? BlackBerry? Google? Microsoft?

Who? Sorry never head of ’em. I hear Apple are cool though.

Why not just censor everything? They could begin shaping your every iPhone conversation. Maybe in the future I’ll send this:

“Hey friend. Fancy going out for a few drinks tonight?”

And my intended contact would receive this:

“Buy Apple products. Steve Jobs is my Lord and Emperor. I must obey Apple.”

Maybe this entire article is just one big piece of subliminal advertising. Maybe this isn’t what I typed at all. Maybe I must obey Apple. Must obey Apple. Must obey Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/Apple/AppleXInfinity

`\|||||…[-][=][+]… – ///- – Error: Sext Message Not Sent = Send Error Report?

Ah yes, I’ll take a first class ticket to Dystopia please. Yes, one way.


Article first published as Sext Message Not Sent on Technorati.


5 thoughts on “Must Obey Apple

  1. Dear Mac,

    Thanks for this thought-provoking and responsible piece. It’s more serious than I’m used to reading from you, but it proves you can work both sides of the crowd.

    I’m a zealot of anti-censorship, so your sentiment rings true in my ears. I have much optimism on the topic of censorship, though, because here in the ‘States, where we’ve institutionalized Freedom of Speech and national censorship simultaneously, censorship has never been able to keep up with the rolling, rollicking power of language to circumvent the prejudices of a few pathetic readers or viewers.

    All Jobs can do is make a token gesture with this product. Kids wanting to sext, so-called, will merely create new, chimerical words which will spring up like superviruses responding to widespread use of antibiotics. There’s no company in the world that will ever keep up with the development of new slang, which is why I can still say things like “Dirty Sanchez” to my grandparents without them falling over backward.

    Nice piece, Mac. One of my favorites.



  2. Cheers Both,

    I’d read about this in the free paper on the way to university and thought it was an interesting topic and it’d be a great way to drive up traffic if I tackled it immediately. Intending to knock up a piece when I arrived home, I unfortunately fell asleep and slept through the whole night. When I checked the net the next day I found it awash with all manner of ‘Sext’ relating opinions, all very popular. So, lesson learnt there. If you want to capitalise on a current topic, stay awake.

    As with most of the stuff I write, I think it started off less serious and steadily became more resolute as I wrote. I imagine it will end up in the UK too. But as you said, due to the ever-evolving nature of language it’s not a huge problem. It’s more the attempt that bothers me, rather than the item itself. I also seem to inadvertently make links to a Dystopian future in everything I write…

    Your ‘Dirty Sanchez’ point was proven instantly as I, a generation down from yourself didn’t quite know what it meant. To me, and I would’ve thought most kids my age, Dirty Sanchez are primarily the Welsh equivalent of Jackass, rather than scatophilic smearing. I’d heard some of the colloquial variants, but not this. I fear I’m straying off topic, and making myself slightly sick.



  3. I agree with you up to a point. I think parent’s should closely monitor their kid’s phones. NOT because I believe in tyrannizing your children, but to protect them, because of this…I’m working on my Masters in criminal justice, and in one of our classes our professor told us about a case where these two girls (around 12 and 13) sent nude photos of themselves to some boys in their class and the police picked them all up and charged them with distribution of child pornography AND they have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. Unbelievable. I think since then they’ve remedied the situation, but it’s still scary nonetheless. Those kids lives could have been ruined, their whole lives. So because of this I say a parent should watch closely what their child does on the internet and on their phoens.

  4. That is truly, absolutely outrageous. Incredible.

    I think if kids are doing this though, the problem isn’t that they have the ability to send these messages. The problem is clearly deeper. More should be done to stem their friends and influences before we begin tackling the ways they facilitate the problems they have. Not that they’re psychologically damaged or whatever, that’s absurd. But they need to know they shouldn’t send messages like that. It’s education they need not censorship.If you bring up your kids in a decent way I’m sure they won’t do anything like this. But I appreciate nobody knows what they’re children are doing at all times. And children are rebellious, cacophonous and generally awful. I’m fairly sure I was, and it’s what I think of most kids younger than myself. Ha, I’m 19 and I’m already against the kids of today. Ridiculous.

    I suppose what I’m saying is it shouldn’t have to get as far as people having to restrict a child’s language freedom. They just shouldn’t send naked photos of themselves around. But maybe I’m simplifying the problem too much. I’m not sure.

    Just make sure when you get your Masters, stuff like this doesn’t happen. Ever. It’s difficult enough to comprehend that it happened in the first place.

  5. You definitely have a valid point. Parent’s should teach their kids about such things, Lord knows I did, and for the most part I didn’t have to worry about them, AND if a situation arose, they came to me for help. But,not all parents do this, some, for lack of a better word SUCK. I just don’t think the kids should suffer (in this case for instance) because their parents were morons.

    I’m going to, hopefully, teach criminal justice when I’m finished with school…I’ll probably work on my doctorate while I’m teaching. Anyway, one of the things I lament, now, and hope to do my part in correcting, is raising up future law makers, L.E. officers etc. with common sense. I’ve heard some horrendous things while taking these classes, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. The very fact that the prosecutor let that go one is unbelievable, although I doubt it would have stood up in the Supreme Court. Having said that, I know a lot of officers, detectives etc. and they are the most down to earth, sweet people, and all it takes is a few nutjobs like the ones involved in the story above to ruin the reputation of all of them.

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