Steve Jobs is a fascist. That’s what everyone loves about him: he tells us what he wants, and he convinces us we are going to like it. And we do, not because he’s right (despite popular opinion), but because it’s so rare to get such definitive, brazen, top-down, abusive treatment in this era of lowest-common-demoninator wishy-washiness. It doesn’t matter if he’s right because his design sense is so definitive, it outstrips truth in favor of legend.
In that sense, Jobs’s departure from Apple’s helm has to be seen in the same way as would the departure or deposition of a dictator, but in reverse, since it is Apple’s primary feature and value. Has Jobs successfully “downloaded” his own authoritarianism into Apple writ large, such that it can continue as a machine without figurehead? I don’t know. Even though it’s a metaphor rather than an analogy, most authoritarian political regimes are cults of personality, and in that respect, the golden era may be over. I suspect that’s the reason for all the elegiac sentiments we’ve seen in the press since the announcement of his resignation as CEO. It’s not Jobs’s health everyone is lamenting, but the end of his regime.
From the perspective of legacy, Jobs should have deployed nepotism and divine right, rearing one of his children as a successor. Tim Cook may make the trains run on time, but the people don’t want trains, they want cold, grey dirigibles slinking across the bright sky, glints of sunlight blinding them, so far below, so far below.