The Death of Steve Jobs as Seen by the Italian Press

Maria RIta Latto (October 07, 2011)
He touched many lives around the world, with his products and now, with his early passing. The following is a review of how the Italian press has reacted to the news. Them, like most of us, finding out through the very tools Jobs himself created. Them writing about it with the very tools he invented.


It is basically impossible not to know. Everywhere you look, on the internet, in the press, on TV, you will find something about Steve Jobs' passing and the imprint he has left behind.

More than a few prestigious writers have penned their reaction, many with personal

evaluations of his life and work and even private anecdotes.


Gianni Riotta, in La Stampa, evokes the laid-back atmosphere of California where a young Jobs was shaped by liberalism, social utopia, being different, love, technology and LSD flavored sugar cubes. According to Riotta, now that Jobs is gone, there is the awareness that “Steve has left all of us the key to the future, the key that opens the doors beyond death, darkness, hunger and folly. A world,” he continues, “where, maybe, we don't have to be hungry or foolish, but full and rational. Among the heaven of a future web utopia, the past of frenetic ideas, right or left, Wall Street and hippy communes, remains the haggard and bearded face of Jobs himself.”
In Corriere della Sera, Beppe Severgnini speaks directly with Steve Jobs in a sort of eulogy reminding him that he belongs to collectivity, he belongs to all those who have always purchased his products, but even to those who only recently have been seduced by Apple's latest gadgets. Severgnini says goodbye stressing on his great qualities: “You have changed the world you have found, and this is a good way to live life, for us all. You have proved how enterprises can improve people's lives; and it is right that they are rewarded when they succeed.”
In the same paper, Corriere della Sera,Massimo Gaggi, the Italian correspondent in the United States, describes the presentation of the new iPhone 4S that took place just a few days ago, as a little disappointment, something a degree less revolutionary in comparison with what had been fabled on specialized sites. He had no fear to say that “Apple's successor, Tim Cook, will always continue to launch on the market avant garde products and technology, but the magic is gone forever.” Gaggi sees Jobs as a pioneer in more than one field and compares him to Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller. In a few years, Steve Jobs lead four revolutions. “Thanks to Apple,” he explains, “the way music is made has radically changed, as well as “computing,” telecommunications and digital cinematography have.”
In the last part of his life, with the release of the iPad, Jobs has delivered the umpteenth magic, but he has also determined the destiny of journalism, recreating on a ten inch screen the action of leafing through a paper and recreating the “fenced gardens” of purchasable applications. Gaggi tries to look beyond his post mortem beatification by the world media, reminding us all that his products are particularly expensive and that yes, he was a genius, a visionary, a tough, hard-core businessman, that does not give but always wants. He wanted it all from others and from himself. He was American even in this.”
In L'Unità, Walter Veltroni notes that with Steve Jobs “the personal computer became, as Marshall MacLuhan said, not the means but the message. Not just an instrument but something able to simplify complexity making it available to all.” Veltroni sees in Jobs “the wish to improve everybody's ability to communicate.” On the desks and in the pockets of people in Cupertino, as well as in Beijing, Cairo and London, you can find Jobs' innumerable inventions that have “changed daily routines and expectations. The verb 'communicating' today has a different meaning from ten or twenty years ago. Never before has the world been so small yet global.”
In Repubblica, Vittorio Zambardino writes that if we look beyond the “Italian backyard” we realize that all revolutionary businessmen come from California, the most technological and capitalistic American state, and that they are motivated by their rejection of authoritarianism and individual oppression that was typical of the 60's and 70's.
Zambardino goes deeper into what happens in California, where there reigns a seeming contradiction between "community" and entrepreneurial selfishness, two concepts that to an Italian seem incoherent but that to an American represent creativity and the ability to break given assets and create new machines and new rules. On that side of the Pacific technology is a creative and critical culture, something that does not happen in the Europe of today and the Eastern World of tomorrow.
On the La Repubblica site, Vittorio Zucconi, a big Apple fan also known to be an acute observer of American society and culture, talks, in a video titled “We cheered for Jobs and Gates,” about Steve Jobs' life and the creation of the Apple world. “We all had the impression to know Steve Jobs,” he says “to have become his friends since that day in 1984 when the first Mac was released, a Mac 128, that today we see as a jurassic tool. Jobs lead me into a world where computers meant beauty, and this beauty turned work into pleasure. This is what he was able to do for me.”
Another point that Zucconi raises that Steve Jobs was “the other,” meaning he was not Bill Gates. He stresses how buying a Mac product, an iPad, for example, was an act of pride, in an imaginary competition. “It was not just a purchase, it was a victory. It was a pleasure to 'fight' against 'the evil empire,' lead by Gates.”
We will all miss Steve Jobs, even though we will continue to live our daily lives with his greatest tools, as it has become natural, or even indispensable, to use them. We do it without even thinking. Thank you Steve Jobs, for making our lives easier.


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