Innocent Songs: The U2 Free Album Debacle

Originally appearing on my 97% Chimp Tumblr Blog:

By now, every moron who will every write on the Apple - U2 free album fiasco has had their say. The reactions are almost uniformly negative and predictable — even going so far as to compare Songs of Innocence to herpes and worse than spam. The best reaction, and by “best” I mean the dumbest, comes from some Christian ding-a-ling who compared the Apple marketing ploy to common flaws found in religious proselytizing. Oh, you see, one should invite people to imbibe your bullshit rather than force it down their throats and never, ever assume you know what people want and need. No, one should be polite and ask — put on the appearance of being a genuinely nice person rather than a spiritual vampire who wants to ensnare you within their collective neurotic venture. Every reaction has centered around liberal bourgeois assumptions regarding autonomy and individual choice, etc. Well, I for one, applaud Apple’s imposition of the latest U2 album upon unwilling participants.

We should view Apple’s move as a case of an authentic totalitarian gesture, a bold imposition of a absolutist corporate behemoth shoving their interests right down the throats of consumers.

A ‘sensible’ company would have utilized their PR savvy and focus groups to suss the whole thing out in advance with an eye toward sensitivity to individual choice and maximizing the appearance of corporate largesse. But, no, Apple did the right thing: it bent everybody over and pleasured itself without regard for anybody’s feelings and never bothered to apologize. Fuck you, while I make myself feel good. 

Bad Apple? No, Apple only stripped away the layer of feel-good bourgeois bullshit that other firms feel compelled to utilize in order to lubricate consumer reception. Isn’t this neo-liberal paradise amazing! Everybody gets free albums and OS updates!

Hang on while I update my iPhone to iOS 8.0…….

…..Anyway, here’s a company, like many others, that destroys the earth, employs gulag labor, sucks up billions in profits, creates mountains of tech debris, and shelters its wealth from taxation. And U2 is the perfect mating partner for Apple: they produce feel-good, moralizing pop songs to people who like music as simple as nursery rhymes and sing about universal themes of love and redemption all the while the hypocrites in the band fraternize with neo-cons, move their accounts around to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and sport a carbon footprint that would make Cleveland, Ohio’s sustainability ethos look reasonable.

We know that both Apple and U2 are, at bottom, rotten like, well, you know, and we’ll all take a big bite.

I’m not being facetious here, Apple is the only tech firm that I respect because they just strip away the ideology and leave you with nothing more than the bare reality of life in postmodern capitalist society: you reside in a labor camp and the only real ‘choice’ you have is to work, die, or live parasitically off others who choose to work rather than starve to death.

Apple gave it to you straight: we rule this corporate security state and you have no real alternative. You could take your dollars to Google, etc., but we’re all in on it together. And just you wait until we unveil the Apple nanobots that will colonize your central nervous system rendering you a  labor-consumer zombie. That day will only formalize the reality that underlying our sense of autonomy is the exact opposite: absolute heteronomy. 

We are ruled by the Other and we’ll bend over (backwards even) in order to sustain illusions that we’re free, e.g., whining about a free album at corporate intrusion as if “corporate” and “intrusion” didn’t belong together like pizza and beer.

And just like U2’s music, we know the truth but still consume the product. Apple and U2 don’t even have to ‘sell’ it to us, we do all the work of rationalization such that we can cooperate in our own degradation while enjoying it (and, yes, when you bitch and complain about Songs of Innocence, you are still enjoying it). 

Enjoy your symptom and, by the way, I dig that new album.