The miraculous is everywhere.  In our homes.  Our minds.  We can share every second in data dressed as pixels.  A billion roaming photojournalists uploading the human experience and it is spectacular, so why would you cap that?  My iPhone 5 can see every point of view, every panorama, the entire gallery of humanity.  I need to upload all of me.  I need – no, I have the right – to be unlimited. 

I’ve got a Sprint iPhone, and let me tell you, Sprint’s unpardonable delay in setting up a 4GLTE network in the Omaha area is a real bummer when I’m trying to watch YouTube videos at a stoplight.

More seriously, let’s take the iPhone commercial and the discussion about Amos from a slightly different angle on entitlement and hubris. What happens to those of us lucky enough to own a boat floating on the rising tide? We are the ones who sell the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals, and as long as we ignore this detail, all appears well. We distract ourselves by obsessing over our boats, our neighbors’ boats, we plan to buy bigger boats and outfit them with the latest technologies, but what exactly am I selling to keep my boat? For example, when I buy clothes manufactured in unsafe factories in Bangledesh, I’m not only profiting from the labor of the righteous, I’m also selling a little bit of myself for fashion.

As we grow richer and richer, it becomes more and more difficult to be whole. Commercials like the Sprint one set the bar just a little higher so we can get the satisfaction of assuaging a need we didn’t know we had until we saw the commercial. It taps into a very human fear of going unnoticed, of fading into the woodwork. We’re not just using a phone to take pictures, we’re all photojournalists now, but we aren’t the ones who see. The iPhone is. There’s a nifty little transition in the copy, from “my iPhone can see every point of view, every panorama” to “I need to upload all of me”. Somehow, in becoming unlimited, I’m limited to my iPhone, and that’s my “right.”

I have the right to be unlimited…as long as I define unlimited as the ability to pixelate my life’s experiences via a hand-held device, then upload them to the web. The commercial makes us grander than we are in order to sell the network (and the phone), and diminishes us at the same time.

Do you need to upload all of you? Langston Hughes had something to say about that:


Gather out of star-dust
And splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust
Not for sale.

Langston Hughes

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