back to article Chief rabbi: Steve Jobs' Apple lust spreads misery, despair

Steve Jobs has created a consumer society that makes many of us sad because we don't have the latest iPhone, said the UK's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Speaking at an interfaith gathering attended by the Queen, Sacks compared the iPad to the tablets of the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from the mountains. “The …


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  1. MrCheese

    Not entirely accurate

    Jobs' and Apple have neither started nor brought about consumerism but the company is the epitome thereof.

    Many people would agree that beyond the "superior" hardware quality and their "it-just-works" UX, the vast majority of customer demand for Apple products is borne out of marketing and PR, touting their products as "magical" and "revolutionary" and instilling among some of those customers a sense of superiority over rival products.

    Apple have managed to make people evangelise their brand, they've done very obviously and very successfully and that's why this chap has singled out Apple as the best example but consumerism has been around for years and attributing it to one company isn't all that fair.

    1. FanMan

      Yes but

      The iPhone is massively useful and so far each iteration has brought significant improvement.

      1. Jedit

        "The iPhone is massively useful..."

        I'm not going to dispute that, but the iPhone is really not better or more useful than any other smartphone and it *is* a lot more expensive than most. That people still want Apple's branded shiny as opposed to any other type is undeniably a function of marketing.

        1. Sean Baggaley 1


          "but the iPhone is really not better or more useful than any other smartphone"

          Why on Earth do people like you insist on spouting this rubbish as if it were some kind of scientific fact? Have you never heard of Cognitive Science? There are plenty of universities and professors who will explain to you, in no uncertain terms, that user interfaces *matter*. They're NOT optional. And the details play a huge role in the overall experience.

          So, no, the iPhone really IS better AND more useful than many other smartphones. That Apple went from zero to major player in such a short time is proof enough.

          Apple's original iPhone—which didn't even support MMS and 3G technologies—clearly showed that there's no damned point including a technology in a device if it's an absolute pig to use. People simply won't use it.

          Witness all those VCRs throughout the '80s and much of the '90s that spent their entire working lives flashing "00:00" (or "12:00") at their users, because those same users couldn't work out how to set their clocks via their arcane, very confusing, user interfaces.

          Apple won their position in the industry fair and square—which is a lot more than can be said for some of their rivals. Stop making excuses for your pet corporation having been so blatantly caught with their knickers around their ankles. They *deserve* their second or third place. As long as they persist in this treating design as their unwanted ginger step-child, they'll stay there.

          Good design is crucial. The days when features alone were all anyone cared about are over. The sooner the IT industry's old guard groks this, the better. It's staggering just how often poor design in this industry is applauded, while good design is derided as "dumbing down" for "n00bs". The industry needs to grow up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > So, no, the iPhone really IS better.

            Cite your source please.

          2. Jedit

            "Why do you keep spouting this rubbish as if it were fact?"

            Well, it's a lot more factual than the insulting drivel you call an argument. "The iPhone isn't like the other phones in the market that all have the same features, it is better BECAUSE it is shiny! Apple's design is a lot better than the design practices of your pet corporation - who I am completely unable to name or identify, BTW, I'm just throwing this out as a generic insult to everyone who isn't Apple - and you must be a fanboi for some other corporation because you're not a fanboi for Apple... (continues for 73 pages)"

            On the off chance that a fact may penetrate the solid bone that constitutes your head, here's a few things I didn't say but you claim or imply I did.

            1) I did not say the iPhone was inferior to any other phone. I said it was equivalent, because other phones have the same features.

            2) I did not say that any other company was better or worse in the field of design than Apple. This is an extension of 1.

            3) I did not say that Apple did not win their leading position fairly. All I said was they are ahead NOW due to superior marketing, which is undeniably true - they've been marketing the iPhone for longer than any other smartphone manufacturer has been seriously doing so, which has established them as the leading brand.

            4) I never argued that bells and whistles incomprehensible to the layman made for a better product. I do, however, find your example of VCR clocks to be both specious and risible. If the iOS clock worked the same way and didn't auto-update then 90% of iPhones would have a flashing 12:00 on the screen - and before you think this is an Apple-bash, so would 90% of other smartphones if their OS did likewise.

            Now, stop claiming I said things I did not, and try forming a coherent argument based on sense. You are doomed to failure, but it's always worth the attempt.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            There are more factors to consider than the user interface alone. A working antenna and lasting battery for example. No sneer, no troll, just stating issues from the past which I have never seen happening on other smartphones.

          4. NellyD

            Exactly how were 3G and MMS a "pig to use" way back when? Preconfigured settings and tapping the "insert picture" button in an SMS app is too much for Apple customers by your "logic". I'm all for insulting iPhone users... but that really is taking things too far.

            But yes, good design is indeed crucial and to be applauded. So long as you hold it the right way.

            1. FanMan

              I had several Nokias

              and finally got fed up of them and the first encounter with the first iPhone was a relief and joy. I had do make a detour to a Blackberry for a while but really no contest so am back with the Jobs Centre for good. Sorted.

        2. FanMan


          ... Which? reckons it's the best one, and so do I. My son thinks the Galaxy is best but he's been wrong before.

      2. Sean Baggaley 1


        Sony charge a fair fortune for their branding too.

        And it's not as if Nike, Reebok and other "designer" clothing brands aren't exactly the same. The crucial difference being that today's T-shirt with "Reebok" stamped on it is identical to the branded T-shirts they were selling 10-20 years ago. You're paying to be a glorified sandwich board and getting about 50p's worth of sweatshop-stitched clothing out of the deal.

        At least an iPhone 4S is demonstrably better than the original iPhone.

      3. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I agree with FanMan

        I don't really care that I'm in a walled garden, it's really easy to use and does everything I want. If you can afford it, and want it, why not?

        If you don't want to spend that money on one of them, you may be very happy with one of the other options, that will probably work just as well. No need to denigrate my choices though.

        PS while Sacks does believe in the sky faeries, he is also quite a smart and insightful man as well. It's worth reading precisely what he said, rather than the el Reg tech retelling designed to spark some rage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No magic wand

      @MrCheese: "the vast majority of customer demand for Apple products is borne out of marketing and PR"

      If that kind of magic really existed, every company in the world would want a piece of it. But you don't win customer loyalty of you don't deliver on your promises - people will just become angry and shop elsewhere. But - at the moment - Apple customers are happy with what they've received. There was a period of time where Apple wasn't delivering, and its customer base was plummeting.

      I suspect Jonathan Sacks used Apple to illustrate a problem for the same reason GreenPeace did - it has a high public profile. Apple isn't the cause of the world's ills - environmental or otherwise - but it's useful as an illustration.

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      Most of those 'many people' are wrong

      If Apple won brand loyalty only through advertising and PR and if advertising and PR were sufficient in and of themselves then the Mac wouldn't be stuck at 5% marketshare worldwide, and if the difference were just consumers versus businesses then you'd expect the Mac to be a hot target for the consumer-focussed sectors of the market. However, things like games usually don't get ported and, if they do, turn up months after the marketplace buzz about the product has long since subsided.

      In summary: there's clearly some other distinction between Apple's mobiles and tablets versus the competition than merely the brand name and the advertising as both of those distinctions also apple to the computers but the former manage to rack up commanding market shares whereas the latter don't.

  2. brianteeman

    Clarification from the Chief Rabbi

    "Clarification statement on Steve Jobs / Apple and consumerism

    Some of you may have seen articles that claimed the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks made comments that criticised Steve Jobs and Apple for creating a consumer-led society. The Chief Rabbi meant no criticism of either Steve Jobs personally or the contribution Apple has made to the development of technology in the 21st century. He admires both and indeed uses an iPhone and an iPad on a daily basis. The Chief Rabbi was simply pointing out the potential dangers of consumerism when taken too far."


  3. PsychicMonkey

    I'm actually quite pleased

    I don't have the latest iPhone, or any iPhone.

  4. pctechxp

    I'm not sad

    I neither have nor want the latest iPhone or iPad.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    You what?

    ...and these people want modern society to take their ancient myths seriously?

    Not sad, just not religious.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Someone needs a quiet word

    It sounds like someone should tell this guy that the "i" is a reference to "internet", not the first person singular (and then, only in english). Also that "tablet" computer formats are not quite the same thing as the stone tablets of antiquity. Some things just shouldn't be taken literally, no matter how convenient that makes it ti draw the conclusions you've already decided on.

    Alternatively, I (me) wouldn't be surprised if his wailing on about iPads is more to do with projecting his own desires that any sort of credible commentary about their affect on consumer society - which predates modern tech by hundreds of years.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What about Android, HTC and other phones - not to mention the plethora of electronic music players out there. They weren't all invented by Steve Jobs, were they?

  8. Chris Miller

    Must be true

    I have no desire for an iPad and I'm entirely happy about that.


  9. FanMan

    Much as I hate to disagree with the Chef Rabbi...

    Jobs did not invent consumerism. It co-exists with fashion and mass production.

    He's right to be worried about it though. Consumerisim brings debt and misery and failure to achieve peace and contentment. It is also destroying the Earth. We need to find a post-consumerist model where human survival does not depend on consuming more and more STUFFFF!!!!

    My sample score so far:

    Still use my tin mug from Scouts (am 60 now) PASS

    12 year old car, intend to hang on forever although having trouble getting spared (thanks SAAB) PASS

    Got Macbook Air even though black macbook still ok FAIL

    Losing weight (thanks myfitnesspal) so working way backwards thru wardrobe PASS

    Contemplating iphone 4 though iphone 3 still fine FAIL

    Hankering afrer new ski jacked although old one perfectly fine just sick of it FAIL

    Have developed fashion-proof all purpose uniform (hiking shoes, polyester trousers, check shirt worn loose) PASS

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a bad case of gadget envy to me. He should get a real job so he could afford an iPad.

  11. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

    And Nintendo

    have been working to counter the evil Apple cult - witness the Wii

    1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

      Give up your TV and your consumption is likely to drop: that'll be another PASS

      1. KitD
        Thumb Up


        Absolutely true. I was without a TV for about 3 years and I NEVER missed it, nor was I EVER so productive with my time. Mind you, reading the newspapers, I had absolutely no idea who all the slebs were that seemed to fill every column inch.

        1. Vic

          > I had absolutely no idea who all the slebs were that seemed to fill every column inch.

          I do have a TV, and I've no idea who half of these talentless gobshites are, either...


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Very good. How about the potential dangers of religion when taken too far?

      Like, believing in it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, but...

      Outside of Apple products, the desire to throw away perfectly good hardware about a year after you've got it and queue up for a newer device to do exactly the same job is really rather unusual.

      I know several people who I would consider otherwise sensible and not prone to materialism or consumerism who have queued up for each new iPhone and iPad on the day of release. I can't think of anyone else who I know has queued up for any other computer product on the first day of release.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      He's doing exactly what he should be doing - discussing socio-political influences on society and their relative pluses and minuses.

    5. Armando 123

      Correct me if I'm wrong

      But didn't certain prophets in the Bible (if one believes in sufficient historical accuracy in the Bible) warn the Jews about their selfish ways, including such rampant consumerist items like fancy sandals and jewelry, before they were overrun and enslaved in Babylon?

    6. Vic

      > the "i" is a reference to "internet", not the first person singular

      Is it?

      I watch Derren Brown quite a bit. His tricks - unless they are just complete falsification, complete with celebrity stooges - astound me.

      One of the bits he keeps telling the audience is that supposedly-unrelated repetition of words and phrases has an enormous effect on the behaviour of the audience. And he does seem to be able to get people to choose exactly the things he wants the to choose...

      So - If Derren Brown knows what he is talking about - it is entirely probable that the repeated "i" in Apple product names does indeed have exactly the effect Dr. Sacks describes - even if that weren't then original purpose of the name...


      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        @Vic: Me, my Internet and I

        > repeated "i" in Apple product names does indeed have exactly the effect

        I did see this coming and hoped I'd avoided this thread with reference to the English language. If the effect the Rabbi was referring to was restricted to the English speaking world then he may have had a point. But consumerism and i<products> are both global phenomena - with the vast majority of consumers having no linguistic connection between "I/me" and i<product> names, so the connection fails on that basis.

        So far as it being a joke is concerned, I hope he's got planning on making a living from it. I doubt that injecting that sort of bon mot into an otherwise serious piece would have added to it's credibility and I feel sure he could have come up with something better, given the long history of Jewish humour.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'it is entirely probable that the repeated "i" in Apple product names does indeed have exactly the effect Dr. Sacks describes'

        That's the kind of thing acid teaches you! At least, if you're seeking enlightenment with it.

    7. Captain TickTock

      Stone Tablets...

      ... that's Rabbi humour for you. Tablets... geddit?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmmm, I think he was making an attempt at a witty quip which sailed over your head, he probably knows the "i" means internet-enabled but with the greedy consumer society we all live in these days it may as well mean "I", as in me.

      Envy? Mate, he's member of a religion, if anyone has money to burn it's religious organisations! At one point the Church of England was the biggest land owner in the country.

      I think he has a point, the very fact that several million people cack themselves with a excitement when a new mobile phone comes out, says something about life's priorities for many people these days.

    9. Semaj

      "i" is a reference to "internet"

      ... I don't think it is. It's just a gimmick.

      1. Chad H.

        It at the least used to be

        That was the justification in the original iMac - because of its ease of Internet setup and access.

        Now though I think it's just a marketing thing. Apple devices just have i in them.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Try getting iNternet connectivity on any Classic, Mini, Nano or Shuffle.

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The downvotes for this comment prove that some people have are a very strange relationship with what are just a gadgets after all.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    12. Richard Ball

      Me too

      I spent a bit of time working in schools, and observed how many of the kids had cajoled their parents into buying them phones that cost more than my car.

      This cured me of the mental process that goes: shiny -> need. There's really no point competing with children to have the newest toys.

      That's not to say I don't like or want shiny - I just found that the school perspective gave a useful data-point when working out where my financial priorities should lie.

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Blame the Car makers more than Apple

    With their shiny new models every year. Each one only slightly different from the last. Then the Salesman drools over the 0-60mph times etc etc etc.

    Apple really only copied this. Agreed that they have taken the 'iDesire' model to new heights but the concept is much the same.

  13. Flugal

    Religious opinions

    Can we not simply treat the opinions of adults who still believe in sky-fairies with the contempt they deserve?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      You should treat the opinions on the basis of the *opinion* expressed, not on the other view points they may have.

      I am not religious, but I have to agree that advertising (and the psychology used behind it) is possibly the worst invention of modern times.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        So, how would you have ever found out about all the stuff you like to buy and consume if the company/manufacturer behind that stuff had never advertised it to anybody and nobody knew it existed?

        1. Flubjub

          "never advertised to anybody" != "nobody knows it exists"

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge


          There is a big difference between providing information about products and services, and the psychological manipulation of human desires to create/amplify needs.

          For example:

          1) A basic brochure about some device, say an MP3 player, and showing its battery life, storage capacity, etc, maybe with a picture of said device.

          2) A TV advert showing trendy/sexy/attractive people maybe dancing, or looking all happy due to having spunked lots of money on said device.

          The second case is about manipulation of desires: to fit in, to be seen as attractive, in order to sell a brand-name product. For those susceptible (the majority, even if unconsciously) the 2nd approach leads to a feeling of being left out, of being disappointed, if they don't have said device, which I believe was the Rabbi's point.

          You really did not know that?

          But deeper than that, how do you think politicians 20th century onwards, and Hitler as a dramatic example, manipulate the public to support them? Psychology my dear anonymous coward, as started by Freud.

          (Do I get any points for Godwining this soon?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Paul Crawford

            "Do I get any points for Godwining this soon?"

            +1 from me as the reference to the Nazis was entirely appropriate and you had the courage to state it.

      2. Vic

        > advertising (and the psychology used behind it) is possibly the worst invention of modern times.

        What concerns me more is the number of people I meet who do not realise the level to which they are being manipulated by such advertising.


        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Luckily I can now discount any comments that you make, though.

    3. PyLETS

      @Flugal: You are entitled to your own religious opinions.

      Perhaps yours are that you believe everything came from nothing for no reason and you have faith in randomness as an inherent property of the universe ? Einstein's famous quote about dice indicates he thought differently. Cleverer than Einstein are you ? Perhaps if you had a little more awareness of your own beliefs you would be more hesitant in condemning the beliefs of those you disagree with.

    4. Armando 123

      Mmmm, no, it goes way past that. Ready Saki for examples, and I suspect it was not new then.

    5. John Bailey


      Because then we would be the same people we accuse them of being. Ignorant, closed minded and intolerant.

      We can instead, examine the points they make, and de construct or validate them on their own merits. Spotting a religious rant, as opposed to a valid observation that happens to be made by a religious person is easy.

      Then if we call them god bothering tossers with all the sense of a thimble, we are at the very least, speaking from a position of rational discourse. Not laughing at someone cos they believe in a god.

      The guy who got fired for refusing to wear a badge with 666 on it.. God nut. Laugh at will. A fool citing an old book is still a fool. Even more so if the reference is inaccurate.

      This story is not the same.

      His status as a religious leader is irrelevant to me. I'm an atheist. So he is just a bloke making an observation.

      Does his observation rely on the existence of a sky fairy for validity? Nope. So it merits further investigation.

      Is the point he is making valid? I think yes.

      Now think for a minute..

      Why is a Rabbi speaking at some event or other getting quoted in a tech website, and getting such hysterical disagreement?

      Kind of proves his point.. Yes?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Unlike those rampant socialists and founts of caring and sharing...BMW, Nike, Sony, SuperDry, Holllister, Range Rover, Absolut, & any other brands you care to mention. Dell, for example, would love to be the butt of similar accusations

    The Rabbi's sermon proves that you don't have to be logged in to be a troll. That said, remove the attention grabbing Apple-mentions and the sentiment is hard to argue with

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit of projection there, Chief?

    And a bit of hyperbole as well:

    "...the consumer society is in fact the most efficient mechanism ever devised for the creation and distribution of unhappiness..."

    Oh, I can think of one or two examples from history which might be more efficient.

    By the way - you've got a link to the Chief Rabbi iPhone app on your homepage; any chance of an Android version? Ta ever so.

  16. James Pickett

    "Baron Sacks"

    Sure you're not confusing him with Ali G..?

  17. Anonymous Coward


    "......So is the Rabbi an open-source man, or just a grumpy Windows user annoyed that he can't get his hands on the latest fondleslab?"

    Or are you just one of the saddo's?

  18. GFK

    Steve Jobs contributed enormously to the well being and advancement of humanity by making life easier and more enjoyable for millions of human beings, who are acquistive and aspirational by their nature. Its ridiculus for the Rabbi to say that it is wrong to want the latest and the best, whetehr its an i product or a car or anything else. What does add to the unhapiness and misery of human being is the cheat and thief like Mr. Maddoff who has defrauded and robbed thousands. Perhaps the Rabbi should look closer to home.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge


      B-. The first two sentences are wonderfully satirical. But the third makes me think you actually believe it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what does *Madoff* have to do with this, clueless bigot?

  19. Fatty Eglon

    Let's stay on the point at hand.

    Yes the guy is a Rabbi. I don't agree with his beliefs. A person doesn't have to agree with his religious belief, but he's allowed to have an opinion. Just as some can espouse Richard Dawkins view that religious people are stupid because they believe in 'sky fairies' doesn't negate them being allowed to have an opinion. Stop being bigoted.

  20. Mike Richards

    You'd have thought he'd have bigger things to worry about

    As great pieces of rabbinical thinking go, this isn't one of them. I'd be happier if the Chief rabbi and his fellow priests of all faiths spent less time blaming one company for all the ills of the world and rather more time wondering what it is about religion that makes large numbers of believers think they are better people by humiliating, oppressing and killing those who don't share their entirely unsubstantiated beliefs.

  21. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    ..The Queen, widely believed to own an iPad...

    Surely that should be a OnePad ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nope: it's obviously a wePad. The royal "we", of course.

      (As opposed to the royal Wii.)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Lucky that Moses didn't have an iPad that day. They got off lightly with just the Ten. Imagine how many more commandments would fit into 16GB.

    1. Jedit

      God doesn't use Apple products

      We know this to be true because He gave Man free will.

      Also, when God led the Israelites out of the desert, He travelled before them as a pillar of smoke by day and as a Flash animation by night.

      1. Armando 123

        He may have given men free will, but most of them don't use it.

        At least that's what the newspaper tells me to say

  23. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I assume you're talking about circumcision. It's pretty normal to circumcise (baby boys) all around the world. In fact some friends of mine were rather surprised that it was assumed their boy (born in the USA) would be circumcised, neither they nor I are Jewish. They didn't opt for the circumcision, but I wouldn't have called them out as child mutilators, if they had.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ooh, look

        A downvote for suggesting that the Chief Rabbi isn't a child mutilator.

        Words fail me.

      2. Calum 1

        just wondered, if boys aren't meant to have foreskins... why did God put one on every penis?

        And that's an honest question, by the way. Also, to avoid dogmatic side arguments, for those who don't believe in Gos, please just substitute "Mother Nature" or whatever instead.

        Still have no idea why circumcision is considered okay, and why non-jews accepting it makes it somehow correct (or why they would accept it in the first place, come to think of it)

  24. Colin Wilson 2

    Whenever I read articles about the Chief Rabbi, I try and try not to mentally add a 'T' on the end.

    But I always fail :(

  25. jake Silver badge

    Take the religion out of it, and read the message ...

    "So is the Rabbi an open-source man, or just a grumpy Windows user annoyed that he can't get his hands on the latest fondleslab?"

    Or perhaps he has a point?

    (Note that I'm on record as not being exactly tolerant of religious types ... )

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Status Anxiety

    Skip to 1:20 for some of the sanest people I've heard on the telly :

    (Part of documentary Status Anxiety)

  27. ColonelClaw


    Religious people don't half speak some shite

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think the rabid sentiment of most posts here from the tech-obsessed, who'd kill their first born to get the latest gadget, more less proves the Rabbi's point beyond all reasonable doubt!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suspect

    I suspect the Rabbi was using Apple allegorically. Remember, when Jesus said "blessed are the cheese makers," he was probably referring to the producers of dairy products in general.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    cheap, attention-seeking wordplay

    not big, not clever

  30. phulla


    The Rabbi of all people must ensure such stupid comments are not used as an excuse for societies behaviour, to loot, riot and rob. Everyone has a desire but most people work hard an acheive and that's what life is about. Some desire happiness, some desire an iPad2, some may just desire a salary and a night out every weekend for the rest of their life and there is nothing wrong with that. Its stupid comments made by public figures that gives idiots an excuse to commit crimes for their desires.

    Who else can the Rabbi blame for sadness?

    Enzo Ferrari

    Dolce & Gabbana

    Brad Pitt

  31. mr.goose

    Happy as a sand-boy...

    I don't own an iPhone or an iPad and I am as happy a swine in the proverbial dirt.

    Besides, I always thought that iPads were disposable toiletries that geeky girls use during their iPeriods?

    1. Flashy Red
      Thumb Up

      They do say "Ignorance is bliss."

    2. Erwin Hofmann

      you're wrong twice ...

      ... you're quite right about the toiletries that geeky girls use ... but you're wrong twice ... first, it's not meant to be disposable at all (it's a mirror, for God sake) and, secondly, not just being used during their iPeriods, but every day ... Cheers ...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    religious types

    "Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)"

    Er.. gulp. I'm with the Chief Rabbi on this one then.

    Seriously though, they talk of the consumer society and lack of regard for spiritual happiness. But what they really mean is that we should stone homosexuals to death and beat our wives if they are disobedient.

    That is what the holy books say, and it would be remiss of them to pick and choose which bits they believe in.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Fatty Eglon and 'Let's stay on the point in hand.'

    Re Fatty Eglon and 'Let's stay on the point in hand.'

    The fact that the guy is a Rabbi is part of the point, as if he wasn't a Chief Rabbi they wouldn't have made a news story about his opinions. There is a perception in society that being religious somehow makes you more qualified to speak on moral matters and that we should pay more attention to them that any other random person who happens to have an opinion.

    His perceived importance is based on his prominence in his religion. If his religion is without merit then the perception of his importance is without merit. So the question as to whether or not his religion is based on delusional beliefs is relevant to whether his opinion should be elevated above others.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re PyLETS Einstein, playing dice etc.

    re PyLETS

    Well given that Einstein rejected theism and specifically the personal god of the Jewish religion he was raised in, taking a quote out of context to defend religion is not a good idea. (His views could be considered deistic or atheistic depending on how you interpret them, but never theistic.) So not believing in any religions is not in anyway claiming to be cleverer than Einstein. Rather you are claiming to be cleverer than Einstein in claiming to know how and why the universe exists. Its okay for some things to be just unknown.

    Also note that stating an absence of belief in one belief system does not indicate what a person does actually believe in. The opposite of believing in religion is not believing ‘everything came from nothing for no reason’. As the term atheist only says what you don’t believe in, not what you do believe, you can no more assume atheists all share the same beliefs and you can assume that all non stamp collectors have exactly the same interests. For the origin of the universe, its okay to just accept that that is unknown, we do not need to fill every gap in knownledge with made up stories.

    1. PyLETS

      @AC 21Nov 13:53GMT - Agnosticism and Atheism not the same

      I think atheists had an easier time of this 100 years ago in claiming as unknown the origin of the universe, when steady state theory had as much or more evidence supporting a universe which had always existed as big bang theory - i.e. a universe coming into being from nothing at a point in time, and for which we now consider the scientific evidence substantial. I also must admit that I haven't yet encountered any arguments concerning the origins of matter which accept big bang evidence as other than a choice between randomness (which Einstein seemed to reject) and creativity. If you have one, then do please enlighten us.

      But I read and understand your argument against my quoting Einstein in connection with his statement on dice as an agnostic position - and not the atheist one I was questioning.

      It's not as if any faith position including mine doesn't carry difficulties, but those who dismiss the carefully considered and sincerely held positions of others such as Jonathan Sachs as childish superstition, would do better to start examining the assumptions present in their own position, (including those who hold to the agnostic view that the origin of the universe is inherently unknowable).

  35. Semaj

    So essentially greed didn't exist before Jobs? I seem to remember there being something in various religious scriptures about such things?

    In any case, the whole "thank god for what you have" bullshit is completely counter to human nature. We strive to better ourselves and the lives of those we care about, just as any creature does. Their attitude that we should all be humble was blatantly invented to keep the peasants from getting above their station, nothing more.

  36. dg252

    In a clarification sent out on Sunday, Chief Rabbi Sacks' office said that "The Chief Rabbi meant no criticism of either Steve Jobs personally or the contribution Apple has made to the development of technology in the 21st century. He admires both and indeed uses an iPhone and an iPad on a daily basis. The Chief Rabbi was simply pointing out the potential dangers of consumerism when taken too far."

  37. Erwin Hofmann

    Apples "I" culture ...

    Steve Jobs and the Apple brand succeeded, mainly, because of lack and shortcomings of religion and religious leaders to be convincing (as example proofs) ... therefore people were desperate to find an alternative religion ... and found Apples "I" culture ...

  38. jon 2
    Thumb Up

    re: I assume you're talking about circumcision.

    Thats right anonymous coward, I'm talking about circumcision.

    A couple of points

    1. The arbitrary removal of healthy, normal, sensitive sexual tissue from a non consenting child is not circumcision, it is mutilation.

    2. Circumcision is a medical procedure carried out following a medical diagnosis of phimosis, balanitis or paraphimosis. Everything else is just plain mutilation be it ritual in the case of muslims or jews, just a bizarre cultural thing in the USA.

    3. Only Muslims, Jews and 1/3rd of americans still routinely perpetuate this needless mutilation, so less than 1/3rd of the world, i.e. not normal. How anyone can think strapping a child down into a circumstraint and cutting healthy flesh from it is normal is beyond me.

    4. I'm glad your friends did not opt for circumcision. Thankfully the rate is dropping like a stone in America with 2/3rds of babies leaving hospitals intact. :)

  39. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Fashion existed long before computers. People have wanted the latest fashions and styles for years. Clothes, cars, wall paper and home furnishings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but

      There are very few products that cost hundreds of pounds where there are a significant amount of people who replace said product ever year for no reason other than a new one is available.

  40. GFK

    I wonder if the Rabbi would have criticised Steve Jobs if he was Jewish?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wonder if you have a bigotry problem. Oh right: after your previous remark where you managed to bring some random American fraudster into the picture, I guess you do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yes, because all the Jews stick together and never criticise other Jews. You are treading a very dangerous line in your reasoning here.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everything was fine

    until Eve was tempted by an Apple.

  42. Phil.A

    What he's basically saying is "it's a fashion accessory"...

    The main reason that so many iPhones sold isn't because people want the functionality, it's because it was the "in device" - people wanted to look trendy, and so they HAD to buy it, no matter how much then had to spend

    Look at how many hipsters have the iPhone, and wave them about when they're out, is it because of the functionality of the device? NO, it's because it's the "must have" trinket

    iPhones aren't primarily phones, they are accessories - most are probably only used for calls, texts & music, with a little bit of browsing, and you can do that on virtually any (slightly) smart phone on the market... just because it's sold LOADS doesn't mean it's the best, only that the flock follow along...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase Rory Sutherland.

    Am happy to agree with Lord Sacks about how desire for consumer goods with elevated value in our society cause unhappiness. If he can explain how in this respect an iPhone, BMW, or designer shoes differ from a peerage?

  44. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Well, it WAS an interfaith meeting... the good Rabbi couldn't complain about all of those Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant johnny-come-lately products cutting into Judaism's marketspace, could he?

    ( iNterfaith meeting...?)

  45. HP Cynic

    iTat is indeed the epitome of consumerism but did not invent it. Apart from referring to a mythical God the Rabbi is right that people focus too much on "stuff" they don't have, but that's largely human nature: once you meet needs x and y you start wanting to meet need z. The definition of need very much diluting towards want the more steps you take from "Food and Shelter".

    I decided I wanted/needed a SmartPhone 2 years ago and after much deliberation bought an old iPhone 3GS off eBay. It runs iOS5 and meets my SmartPhone "needs" without costing a ludicrous £500.

    I might upgrade to the 5 next year but more likely I'll wait for the 6 and then buy a previous generation again.

    And it costs me £10/month for unlimited data and texts (and I even get 250 minutes to "talk" inot it like a phone!)

    I'd be sadder if I had actually shelled out £499 for the latest version.

    1. Vic

      > And it costs me £10/month for unlimited data and texts (and I even get 250 minutes

      > to "talk" inot it like a phone!)

      Which is *exactly* the same deal I am offered. I currently use an HTC Desire (not sure if that's staying or not - the ability to run SSH tunnels is rather handy, though).

      Except that the minimum period for me is - one month. I can pick and choose what I want to spend. Currently, I'm spending quite a bit less by not trying to get any "unlimited" offers...


  46. Dan Paul

    I for one, am waiting for the "Confessional" app from the iPOPE! (Sarcasm)

    Though it probably won't make it past the App Nazi's at Apple...

    Just think of the benefits of being forgiven for your sins almost immediately after (or even before) committing them. (Though it really smacks of the electronic confessionals in the godaweful movie "Priest")

    Isn't this exactly what the dual cameras were intended for? Just subscribe to the new Vatican iConfess service for only $19.95 per month, (airtime and roaming charges may apply) and reach salvation. Remember, to question the Church is to question God, confess now.

    The only reason why the good Rabbi is ticked off is that he realizes that Judaeism screwed up when it did not take up the "Confessional" preferring to leave "The Inquisition" to the Jewish Grandmothers (who are second to none when instilling guilt). The Rabbi realizes they are missing a potential revenue stream here.

  47. Calum 1


    it's unfortunate that the rabbi has chosen to make his point in this way. Religious leaders have rhetoric as their bread and butter, but unfortunately this time he's cast criticism on Saint Jobs at a time when he's still the people's princess of Silicon Valley, as it wre, to mix a few metaphors.

    He's also wrongly identified Apple as the main (only?) cause of consumerism when in fact it is only a current facade representing consumerism.

    If the rabbi wants people to be more spiritual, then rather than taking pot shots at the symptoms, such as iPads et al (and using tired old metaphors such as the "i" one) what he needs to do is foster the uptake of proper spiritual self-enquiry, and the leaving behind of dogmatic monarchical religious structures.

    Of course he might find himself out of a job if he did that...

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    woah there

    All he is saying is that we shouldn't let consumerism get the better of us. He's not really personally attacking Steve Jobs, Apple products or even people that buy apple products. The Chief Rabbi doesn't have issue with people buying stuff it's about where our priorities lye.

    The whole thing about Steve Jobs and tablets is an allegorical joke, not a jibe.

  49. Thomas Allen

    Why buy a Rolls when a Mini will do?

    Why buy a Rolls when a Mini will do? The attack on Apple for pitching a high-end product is misplaced, as many companies pitch their products to the high end, engendering fierce brand loyalty and apparently insane consumer behavior on otherwise normal people. Gotta have Sketchers and not some cheap shoe? Gotta wear chanel and not some cheap brand of perfume? and it goes on and on.

  50. Evan Ravitz

    Suicides etc at Apple's China factories are the real crime

    I agree with the Rabbi, but this is much worse: As of May, 14 suicides at an Apple factory in 16 months. Serf labor is the main reason Apple is the highest-"valued" company after Exxon-Mobile.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do the commenters of El Reg hate more?

    Religion, or Apple?

    (The two not being mutually exclusive, of course)

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