Free To The Rich & Famous (3/26/02)

Ladies and gentlemen, allow us to present the cruel irony of the iPod: Joe Average drools over the product but can't justify spending $399 for the convenience of carrying a thousand songs in his pocket, while the lucky few who can afford to buy them by the gross and use them as stylish clay pigeon replacements for a few rounds of skeet-shooting, well, those folks get them for free. We first noted this cosmic injustice just last month, when it came to our attention that the performers at the Grammy Awards were going to receive free iPods as one of the bits o' loot inside their $15,000 goodie bags. Because, as we all know, there's no way that Britney Spears could ever afford to pay for her own iPod, supplemental income earned as a semiconductor physics tutor notwithstanding.

But the gross injustice doesn't stop there, because MacCentral notes a New York Times article about Oscar fashion which just happens to mention in passing that all those Academy Award nominees and presenters who kept us glued to our screens on Sunday night received "gift baskets" brimming with expensive toys. Anyone care to guess which expensive toy tops the list? Yes indeedy, it's not just for musicians anymore; one actress reportedly found an "iPod digital music player" in her pile of swag-- along with a "digital camera," "gift certificates for a resort vacation," a "meditation chair," and, um, a mattress.

Leaving aside for a moment any snide and shamefully inappropriate comments about why said actress might need a new mattress (let alone any discussion about how anyone managed to stuff a mattress into a gift basket), let's try to focus on the inclusion of the iPod in this veritable plethora of gifty goodness. At least when it was just the Grammys, there was some sense of a logical connection-- musicians, iPods, natch. But now that the movie folks get free iPods, too, clearly Apple's digital music player has become the hip stocking stuffer at massive entertainment awards shows these days-- and why not? It's trendy, it's pricey for the average shmoe and therefore sort of "exclusive," and above all else, it's shiny. (Ooooo.) And if this trend continues, award-wise, pretty soon iPods are going to be easier to score than Golden Globes.

Actually, is it really specifically an "awards" thing, or is there just some bizarre compulsion to give away iPods to people for whom $399 constitutes lunch money? Next thing you know, we'll be hearing that they'll be handed out as amusing party favors at the annual Billionaire's Convention. Forget lighting cigars with a $100 bill; any day now, we bet that lighting them with a flaming iPod will be all the rage. Note to Apple: maybe it's time to start selling them in six-packs.

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The above scene was taken from the 3/26/02 episode:

March 26, 2002: First at the Grammys and now at the Oscars, it's the hottest fad to sweep the nation: free iPods for the rich and famous. Meanwhile, just after Mac OS X turns one year old, a pair of long-awaited crucial apps hit the release stage, and a group of middle school kids are analyzing high-resolution images of the surface of planet Mars-- using suspiciously new and expensive equipment...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3650: It's Mellowing With Age (3/26/02)   C'mon, tell the truth-- last Sunday, on Mac OS X's first birthday, did it feel to you like the operating system was a whole year old? You'll notice that Apple, which has always found some way in which to celebrate the iMac's birthday for three years running, kept absolutely quiet about this Mac OS X milestone...

  • 3651: Bribing Schoolkids Is Fun (3/26/02)   As all of you paranoid Mac conspiracy theorists are no doubt well aware, Steve Jobs has been quietly skimming funds from Apple's sizeable cash stockpile for the past several years and using the moolah to pay for the construction of a massive underground alien weaponry and cloning facility far from the snooping eyes of this planet's nosy world powers-- in other words, on Mars...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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