Fanatic Cinematic: Treat yo selfie

Movie columnist Alex Leininger on the brilliant but controversial life of Steve Jobs

Maybe it isn’t completely unfair that today’s youth is often labeled as the “me me me” generation. I mean, think about it. I can proudly and honestly say that my own well-being is generally more important to me than that of others, and I’m not even sorry.

I want to be the winner of the Hunger Games. I want the window seat on an airplane. I want the biggest slice of pumpkin pie. And I don’t care whether you think I deserve these things or not. To be a teenager and not mostly selfish is a myth. Don’t pretend you’ve never posted an ugly picture of a friend just because you happened to look like a sex god — it’s whatever. Being a selfish (and sometimes inconsiderate) human being is entirely natural for members of youth culture, and yes, it’s not necessarily a good thing. But I can’t help but wonder why we have to take all of the blame.

People, especially adolescents, have been channeling the “me first” attitude since long before the 21st century. Gandhi could have had a self-absorbed Twitter feed just as easily as we do now. Abraham Lincoln could have taken a selfie in his top hat if the technology had been present. Just because we have more opportunities to broadcast our every thought, meal and outfit today doesn’t mean the desire to do so hasn’t always been there.

Blame it on social media. Blame it on the iPhone. Blame it on Steve Jobs, the man who revolutionized the world, making it easier for everyone to see just how selfish we’ve always been.

Just a few days ago, I saw “Jobs,” a drama about Steve Jobs’ ascension from college dropout to brilliant innovator and, let me tell you, Steve Jobs was not the most considerate person himself. In fact, he was never very popular among his peers in terms of friendliness. He was, however, very well respected, which led to the love-hate relationship he held with his company. As a business, Apple needed him, but it didn’t always want him.

Jobs’ life and persona is an interesting topic, so a movie dedicated to it was bound to happen. Unfortunately, the one that ended up being made was not made very well. It is an entertaining movie, but it is also confusing, poorly written and oddly paced. Ashton Kutcher’s Jobs never fully develops as a character, leaving him resembling a robot more than a human being. Maybe there’s a good point to that — Jobs was never known to be very personable — but, overall, the portrayal of the character is awkward at best.

The acting is actually one of the film’s strongest assets, but the characters and the dialogue aren’t written well enough to be much more than forgettable. The movie both begins and ends weirdly, failing to grab attention or keep it in general.

A movie about such an important man should demand to be felt as Jobs did himself. It did leave me to wonder, however: Is being a little bit selfish and stubborn somewhat of a good thing?

We have duties to others just as we have duties to ourselves, and deciding how to best fulfill these duties is a huge part of “succeeding” at life. Would things have been different if Jobs hadn’t been so driven and stubborn? If he hadn’t been a terrible friend or an angry perfectionist, would we be using Siri as a replacement for actual friends or masking our feelings behind little yellow emoticons? Is the “me me me” generation, if that’s what we’re stuck being called, a totally bad thing?

Don’t mistake Steve Jobs’ legacy as one entirely built off of selfish behavior and a disregard for others. The legacy that Jobs left behind is one of total ambition. When you have a vision for a better world, go for it and don’t compromise. It may take a little bit of bad to arrive at the good.

So yes, go ahead and take a selfie with the old lady you just helped across the street. But it wouldn’t hurt to make sure her hair looks just as nice as yours.

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