What Lisa Brennan-Jobs wants you to know about her father

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/23/what-lisa-brennan-jobs-wants-y.html


If you’re trying to conceal a person’s cruelty then I’m not sure how painting them as a “bully” really helps.


It all seems weird and silly.

But of course it would. The reality distortion field has been powered down.


I think we all have had that moment maybe sending a text, or even posting to BBS, and looking back to realize our words could be taken differently from our intentions…

But she wrote a whole damned book for crying out loud! She had weeks, months, to revise and get feedback, sheesh!

Yeah, I’ve never been a fan of Jobs. Woz, yes but not Jobs.

Then, I have been been in the cult of mac so I guess I have a handicap there.


It used to be a joke in British media about how much Sir Jimmy Savile, a famous supporter of children’s charities, hated children. “I hate them!” he’d say, deadpan, in interviews. Then everyone laughed.

He raped 600 of them.




She worries that the reaction will be about a famous man’s legacy rather than a young woman’s story

So, a famous-adjacent person wrote a book about her fame-adjacency, and is now worried that the attention she hopes to receive wlll only be due to her fame-adjacency.


I feel like the “public myth of Steve Jobs’ bullying arrogance” is just another side of the coin of the cult of personality he engendered that praised him for ruthless candor. That it was perceived as bullying rather than decisive, inspired leadership was just different perspectives on the same concept.


It concealed it in the sense that many Americans have been trained to accept that being an arrogant bully in business life is the key to success, which untrue contention further distracts from the fact that the person may extend that cruelty into his personal life.

I understand her impetus to frame his behaviour toward her* mainly as that of a deeply damaged and flawed person but it’s going to be very difficult for his fanbois to accept that he’s anything other than a god-like genius. If they don’t see Jobs as having done anything wrong we can’t expect them to see any need to forgive him.

[* esp. in contrast to how he treated the children from his second marriage]


There are those…


…at any criticism of Jobs or Apple.

I can see them.


Its not universally true but i think it’s true enough to be taken as a warning when they say that people with big ambitions have to be sociopaths to make it. The typical person would worry about not using or abusing people to get to the top, but people like Elon Musk, Jobs or Jeff Bezos typically don’t have these reservations and treat those closest to them like shit. Jobs’ relationship with his family does not surprise me, i would still give him kudos for what he achieved in life but i was never a fanboy and he always struck me as a narcissistic asshole and i have no real admiration for who he was as a person.


If you get a chance to talk to Andy Herzfeld, see if you can get him to tell you about his daily interactions with Jobs.

Conversations where someone is sharing details of an objectively horrible, abusive, damaging relationship while chuckling indulgently are so weird…


Good point. I read a fair amount of long non-fiction books by a small-ish number of authors, so consequently it’s not unusual that I’ve read several books by any single author. I can attest that it takes a LONG time to feel like you really understand what an author is trying to get at. In summary: social media posts ain’t cuttin’ the mustard!


“Perhaps the problem is that most of the people who might forgive him never damned him in the first place. And those who might damn him now (his monstrous narcissism is left undeniable) have no reason at all to forgive him.”

Very well put and astute, Rob.


“Koukai no buji wo inoru” translated as “good luck”? Okay, I can see how they compress something like “I pray for your safe voyage” into that. But this kind of thing is why I took the time to learn Japanese – translations squeeze the flavor, feeling, and meaning out of the original.


I know almost nothing about Steve Jobs. But I do know “monstrous narcissism” has hit new highs lately, in the form of 45 and co. So I suspect that the daughter’s fears may be made true, but for different reasons than she thinks - her father’s monstrous narcissism must surely pale in comparision to Cadet Bone Spurs’.


Maybe I’m the asshole here, but who gives a shit about hurting the feelings of… y’know, a corpse? Especially when that corpse used to be a person who regularly disregarded the feelings of the living people who were closest to him?

Again, maybe I’m the vindictive asshole, but the anecdote about Jobs claiming that he was sterile in order to avoid claiming paternity would have been more than enough to convince me to write this sucker’s feelings off forever.


It’s the Truck Stop Sushi of translations.


Forgiveness is a tricky thing. It costs nothing either way to forgive, or not to forgive.

We can also forgive, but not forget the mistakes that were made. Forgiving one instance of narcissism does not include all other instances of narcissism. Remembering mistakes that were made is part of history.

IMHO once a person has passed away, forgiveness is not really required. It’s up to you to come to personal terms with those mistakes, but the opportunity to offer forgiveness is gone.

I don’t fault Lisa for a second for writing her own biographical perspective. And if she changes her mind on certain things she wrote, that’s fine too. It’s all life, and all life deserves compassion, empathy, and forgiveness.