Props to Apple for removing distateful apps

Apple’s decision to pull sexually explicit applications from its App store caused a ruckus.

Andrew Oxenham, Writer

Apple, one of the business world’s most successful companies has finally done something unforgivable in the eyes of the technological world. Roughly two weeks ago, Apple banned some 5,000 applications from their App Store — apps that featured sexually suggestive material as a prominent theme (i.e. An app filled with bikini-clad women). When questioned why this decision was made, Phil Schiller, head of worldwide marketing at Apple said the apps contained “objectionable material” and that Apple was getting “complaints from women who found the content degrading and objectionable” as well as from “parents who were upset at what their kids were able to see.”

This decision and its explanation caused uproar in the blogosphere, including an irate article from the well-known blog Gizmodo. As soon as the news hit cyberspace, Joel Johnson, columnist at Gizmodo, climbed atop his literary high horse and wrote a disparaging article against Apple’s decision entitled “So Apple Bans Girls in Bikinis, But a Shirtless Gay Guy Washing a Car is OK?”

Throughout the article, Johnson questions the reasoning behind Apple’s decision due to two major inconsistencies he sees with the choice. First, he notes that the Playboy and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit App were not pulled from the store, and thus he wonders if Apple is only okay with well-known sexual content. Secondly, he cites the offense Schiller mentioned, and inquired as to whether it was merely offense that caused the decision. What if, poses Johnson, he was offended by the app that describes to Christians how to preach the gospel — should Apple pull that app too? Two quotes from Johnson serve to show, however, that he is not only incorrect but dangerously at risk of the very fault he accuses Apple of having. Two quotes help to illustrate this point.

In his first comment, he says, “Apple is aping the sexual posturing of conservative American society, defining what expressions of sexuality are acceptable to acknowledge.” Yet earlier on in the article, Johnson is almost pleased to report that Apple was donating money to fight Prop 8 in California. There was no condemnation over Apple aping or posturing over a liberal agenda. Thus his hypocrisy is that he cries foul only if it doesn’t agree with his view.

In his second comment, he writes, “Apple has made a declaration: that sex and sexuality are shameful, even for adults. But only sometimes. And only when people complain.” This claim is faulty in this way: He claims that nudity and titillation are just sex and sexuality but one might question whether they in fact are sexuality or a perversion of it. His statement leaves no room for inquiry.

Johnson would be wise to carefully consider his views before expressing his displeasure to the world for Apple has not only made an appeal to an intrinsic standard of moral value but has acted on their right as a business — namely, to react to custmoer complaints in order to keep business profitable. Both of which are extremely wise and helps demonstrate why Apple continues to be one of the most sucessful companies of our time.

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