All of modern society’s ills packaged into one story: Apple iPhone X, social media and unbridled narcissism

“Viral” may be the most apt term derived from the modern technological era. Not only does it describe a negative phenomenon that spreads quickly (primarily via social media, the carrier), it infects the minds of all the users (the hosts).

A recent story broke out that encapsulates everything that is wrong with today’s modern society.

The headline reads: Apple fires iPhone X engineer after daughter’s hands-on video goes viral.

Apple has reportedly dismissed an engineer after his daughter’s iPhone X hands-on video went viral on YouTube. Brooke Amelia Peterson published a vlog earlier this week, which included a trip to the Apple campus to visit her father and see an unreleased iPhone X. Peterson’s video was quickly picked up by sites like 9to5Mac, and it spread even further on YouTube.

Peterson now claims her father has been fired as a result of her video. In a tearful video, Peterson explains her father violated an Apple company rule by allowing her to film the unreleased handset at Apple’s campus.

In the “tearful video”, she immediately gloats on the virality of the video that eventually got her father fired. The daughter in the video exhibits a reaction much like George Costanza in Seinfeld when George’s wife Susan passes away. In the season finale of Seinfeld, Dr. Wilcox makes the behavioral observation:

Hoyt: So you broke the news to Mr. Costanza? Could you tell the court, please, what his reaction was?

Wilcox: I would describe it as restrained jubilation.

Restrained jubilation is what best describes Brooke Peterson’s behavior in her video. The video that started it all was a product of unbridled narcissism, and the apology video is no exception too.

There is no good person in this story, and there is certainly nothing positive to take away from it. In fact, it paints a grim reality we now live in:

  • Narcissism cultivated by social media is off the charts that everyone thinks they’re a celebrity, no longer just taking selfies, but full “vlogs” as if they were stars on their own reality TV show
  • iPhones were marketed as a fashion and a vanity product like jewelry, which is why many idolize iPhones as status symbols. Most development into Apple products are for vanity reasons and not thought of by many technologists as improvements upon the human condition
  • Social media has corrupted impressionable young minds to devoid them of a true identity. They are more concerned about building a facade in front of their peers: a perfect image far-detached from reality but a reflection on how they would like to be perceived
  • Comfortable lifestyles, especially in the Silicon Valley bubble, and spoiled upbringings result in a lack of humility and self-introspection
  • A corollary of the above point, comfortable lifestyles lead to a parental failure to instill discipline, allowing princess complexes to grow. This is evident from the apology video where the father supposedly “gives everything” but clearly the daughter is unable to reciprocate. It is even more evident in the original video that shows — with heavy symbolism — the father in the back seat while the mother and daughter flaunt their spoiled lifestyles in the front seats
  • Whether the lack of traditional fatherly guidance is a consequence of the postmodern movement is debatable, but shouldn’t be ignored

This case study is a nice succinct package demonstrating many sources of today’s cultural rot. The problem is that the social media mind virus has already infected hundreds of millions. With the alarming increase of social media and smartphone zombies, the uninfected will have to come up with a cure before the pandemic consumes them as well.

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