It’s not much fun being Big Brother.
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Telling people what to think and do all the time seems frightfully dull.
Once, indeed, it was Apple that mocked the Big Brother in its way (IBM), courtesy of its “1984” ad (embedded below for younger viewers). This was an oeuvre that only ran once, but some consider the best ad ever made by humankind.
Time, though, can be cruel. Apple is now Big Brother. It tells consumers and developers what they can and can’t have and do.
And Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, has made it clear it’s had enough.
After Apple removed Fortnite’s app from its App Store — well, Epic’s sudden and blatant disregard of App Store rules had something to do with it — Epic snubbed its nose at Apple with marvelous disdain.
It released an ad that is a fair facsimile of the 1984 ad, but with Apple now the heartless Big Brother. It’s called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite.”
Here is the very same scenario. Except that Big Brother is now a balding character whose head is an Apple.
A little on the nose, perhaps. But this is a fight over Apple’s 30% tithe at the App Store.
And, look closely, there’s a worm crawling out of Big Brother’s applehead.
“We celebrate the anniversary of platform unification directives,” says the forthright Applehead. “For years, they have given us their songs, their labor, and their dreams. In exchange, we have taken our tribute, our profits, our control. This power is ours and ours alone.”
Quite a tribute to the original, isn’t it? A few truths sprinkled in, too.
You must decide, however, whether Epic is the righteous leader you’ve been waiting for.
There are, I suspect, a few nuances in the company’s sudden desire to take on Apple. Why now? What has happened? Some might say, too, that Apple’s 30% guarantees — or tries to — a certain order and safety for consumers in the painfully wild west of apps.
Then again, Apple presents itself a little too often as the good, the holy, the epitome of righteousness.
There’s something deeply enjoyable about seeing it mocked with a little bite.
This is, too, a far better mockery of the “1984” ad than HTC’s long-forgotten effort in 2015. Or, for that matter, Motorola’s abject attempt during the 2011 Super Bowl.
Will it make a difference? Oh, I suspect we’ll see some sort of benign settlement in the near future. Apple’s got more important issues to worry about.
The possible Trump-inspired disappearance of WeChat, for example.