March 21, 2006

How's this for ambiguity?

I love gadgets, especially ones made by Apple. So of course I enjoyed reading Michael Wolff's article on Steve Jobs in this month's Vanity Fair, which (in part) attempts to explain the course of Jobs' career as being due to his single-minded belief that "[t]he medium is the message" -- in other words: content, schmontent.

Yes, I often find excuses to use my Apple gadgets in situations where I probably don't need to use them, or I invent reasons for wanting to buy a new Apple gadget that I probably don't need. My latest not-really-necessary-but-I-want-it-anyway gadget is the new iPod Hi-Fi. I can't justify the price at this point, but I've been reading occasional reviews just in case I can be convinced. Today I read this positive-but-not-terribly-informative review, and I was struck by this paragraph (emphasis added):

So what do you need to spend all that money for? Sound is one thing: The IPod Hi-Fi does sound, well, like a high-fidelity unit. The sound can fill a room or even overfill it, if you crank up the volume sufficiently. It is rich, the bass is deep and the treble trills quite nicely. Some who've heard my evaluation unit complained about a lack of "midrange" sound; I didn't notice any.

Did the reviewer not notice any "midrange" sound, or did he not notice any lack of "midrange" sound? This is a critical matter about which we're left guessing, though presumably it's the latter, or else he would have presumably noted that he agreed with the "[s]ome who've heard [his] evaluation unit".

(But really, can we trust this reviewer to really hear anything? Why the scare-quotes around "midrange", but not around "bass" or "treble" -- are the latter somehow more discrete? Also, describing the bass as "deep" is hardly informative, and I don't know that I've ever thought of treble in terms of "trills". But anyway.)

Back to the Vanity Fair article: I'm stuck on the bolded line in the following paragraph. What's the "just" doing here?

Except that one day in the near recent past everybody woke up and found out that while all the geniuses were blathering on about content this and content that, the media culture had, in fact, come to be dominated by machines. It's Steve's gadget- centric world which we just live in.

Just now? Just live? Either way, I can't make sense of it. Must be Spring.

[ Comments? ]

Posted by Eric Bakovic at March 21, 2006 05:15 PM