“At Apple, we reward excellence — as long as you’re excellently white, and excellently one of the guys.”
Let’s just say this has been a longstanding problem at Apple.
Ms. Jung has an amazing burden to carry.
Flipping it the other way, 94.5% of Apple’s top management team are men, and 94.5% of them are Caucasian.
Apple has yet to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to parity with Mad Men era practices of equity.
I started looking into this when I read Joanne McNeil’s fine rant, “The End of Sexism.” She pointed out how only a male-dominated company like Apple could possibly think the glass staircases in their shops are a good idea.
But it got me to thinking: I’ve known a fair number of Apple employees. I’ve also been aware of Apple as an organization for a long time.
I couldn’t think of any women — either of my personal acquaintance, or of my broader knowledge — that I associate with Apple.
And 17 out of 18?
Following Ms. McNeil’s lead, I regret to say: Apple is a bunch of stupid white men.
EDITED TO ADD: Given all this, is it any surprise the person who plays “Mac” in the “Mac & PC” ads for Apple is… yet another white guy?
Or so Stan Freberg says of George Washington when he Presents the United States, Vol. 1.
One problem, though. Washington’s teeth weren’t made of wood.
I don’t know if it was this review of WASHINGTON: A Life by Ron Chernow in the New York Times. Still, I recently heard, in connection with Chernow’s book, something similar to Times reviewer Janet Maslin’s comment: “[Washington had a] harshly pragmatic attitude toward slavery (he purchased slaves’ teeth, perhaps for use in dentures).”
Yeah… that caused a big gulp on my part. Perhaps I have too much empathy but… George Washington? Of all people? Using the teeth of his slaves for his dentures? Can you be more literal yet symbolic when it comes to an image of white privilege and rapaciousness?
I hunted down what I think may be the source for this. It’s reprinted online by the PBS series Frontline, but I believe it’s this article by Mary V. Thompson, who is described as, “A research specialist at Mt. Vernon, [who] studies the domestic life, foodways, and religious practices of the residents of George Washington’s plantation, with a special interest in the slave community.” The article originally appeared in Virginia Cavalcade, Volume 48, Autumn 1999, No. 4, pp.178-190.
Here’s the core of it:
“Slaves of the eighteenth century sometimes turned to the perfectly acceptable means of making money by selling their teeth to dentists. Since at least the end of the Middle Ages, poor people had often sold their teeth for use in both dentures and in tooth-transplant operations for those wealthy enough to afford the procedures. Sometimes the teeth were perfectly healthy; others were diseased and needed to be pulled anyway. In 1780 a French dentist named Jean Pierre Le Moyer (also called Le Mayeaur, Le Mayeur, and Joseph Lemaire) came to America, possibly as a naval surgeon with the French forces commanded by the Comte de Rochambeau, and over the next decade treated patients in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Alexandria, and Richmond. He seems to have had an extensive practice in tooth transplants, but the results of the procedure were short-lived, usually less than one or two years. Transplantable teeth were hard to come by, and in 1783 Le Moyer even went so far as to advertise in the New York papers for “persons disposed to sell their front teeth, or any of them,” netting the donor two guineas (forty-two shillings) per tooth. In Richmond, he offered anyone but slaves a similar amount for their front teeth. Technical problems made it impossible to transplant molars, so the operation was probably useful primarily for cosmetic reasons. Le Moyer first treated George Washington’s teeth at his military headquarters in 1783.
The following year, in May of 1784, Washington paid several unnamed “Negroes,” presumably Mount Vernon slaves, 122 shillings for nine teeth, slightly less than one-third the going rate advertised in the papers, “on acct. of the French Dentis [sic} Doctr. Lemay [sic],” almost certainly Le Moyer. Over the next four years, the dentist was a frequent and apparently favorite guest on the plantation. Whether the Mount Vernon slaves sold their teeth to the dentist for any patient who needed them or specifically for George Washington is unknown, although Washington’s payment suggests that they were for his own use. Washington probably underwent the transplant procedure–”I confess I have been staggered in my belief in the efficacy of transplantion,” he told Richard Varick, his friend and wartime clerk, in 1784–and thus it may well be that some of the human teeth implanted to improve his appearance, or used to manufacture his dentures, came from his own slaves.”
Wow. Just… wow.
EDITED TO ADD: Mount Vernon has an exhibit that includes the only known surviving denture of Washington’s. “Carved from hippopotamus ivory, the denture contains real human teeth fixed in the ivory by means of brass screws.” They don’t note the provenance of the “real human teeth” in question.
ETA2: It wasn’t the Times. It was this piece in the New Yorker, by Jill Lepore. Lepore herself is a history professor at Harvard, which, combined with the New Yorker‘s fact checkers, makes this all too credible.
Lepore’s off-hand comment was striking:
“The mar to [Washington's] beauty was his terrible teeth, which were replaced by unsuccessful transplant surgery and by dentures made from ivory and from teeth pulled from the mouths of his slaves.”
It was “pulled” that made my heart drop. Thompson’s account makes it seem much more voluntary — or as voluntary as a commercial transaction with a person who owns you as chattel can be.
Marco Arment has a good review of the new MacBook Air. My favorite part, though, was this, talking about his past experiences traveling:
Subjectively, I used the old 13” Air on some plane rides, and the 15” MacBook Pro on some others, and they both require you to adapt a fairly uncomfortable screen angle if the person in front of you leans their seat all the way back. (As my own quiet form of social environmentalism, I never do that.)
Oy. We are the chorus and we agree. We agree so much, in fact, that I think an airline could make a significant business/computing friendly stance by having a “no lean-back” section to mitigate this very problem.
I also like describing Golden Rule-inspired enlightenedly self-interested actions as “social environmentalism.”
The New Yorker‘s James Surowiecki has a review of The Thief of Time (Oxford; $65) a new book by Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White. The review reminds me of Cyril Connolly at his best.
That is, Surowiecki uses the topic of the book to write a longer think-piece about procrastination in general. Very much like Connolly — the books at hand were merely a peg for his thoughts on the larger topic.
David Brooks wrote a column that’s reasonable about security.
I was looking at Slate, and saw an article on “Sweden’s bizarre tradition of watching Donald Duck cartoons on Christmas Eve.” I turned to akirlu and said, “Is this real?”
“Surely you’ve heard me talk about how Swedish television only ran cartoons once a year when I was a kid.”
“Kalle Anka was that program. So yes.”
Such is the world we live in that I then went out among the torrents and found a downloadable copy from 2006. 30 minutes of downloading and a burned CD later, and we’ve been able to watch Swedish-dubbed Disney cartoons for Christmas, in the fine Swedish tradition. Which means Ulrika has been able to watch cartoons the right way for the first time since childhood.
From Clay Shirky (tweeting as @cshriky), I learn Newt Gingrich tweeted the following:
“Rendering Miranda rights to terrorists on foreign soil is amazing We are in a war The terrorists are enemies not criminals”
At which point, I have to employ Cameron’s Skepticism:
“You can tell me all day that you believe that there’s a giant, pink, flying dragon chained up in your back yard, but if you never go in your back yard and put food and water out, I’m going to assume that you don’t actually believe that.”
That is, Newt can tell me all day he thinks terrorists are enemies not criminals, but if he never calls for Roeder and Von Brunn to be shipped to Guantánamo as terrorists, I’m going to assume that he doesn’t actually believe that.
Don’t explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin. Wyoh couldn’t see why, if Mike knew where Alvarez kept records, Mike didn’t trot over and fetch.
I gave up. “Mike, can you explain?”
“I will try, Man. Wyoh, there is no way for me to retrieve locked data other than through external programming. I cannot program myself for such retrieval; my logic structure does not permit it. I must receive the signal as external input.”
“Well, for Bog’s sake, what is this precious signal?”
“It is,” Mike said simply, “‘Special File Zebra’” — and waited.
“Mike!” I said. “Unlock Special File Zebra.” He did, and stuff started spilling out. Had to convince Wyoh that Mike hadn’t been stubborn. He hadn’t — he almost begged us to tickle him on that spot. Sure, he knew signal. Had to. But had to come from outside, that was how he was built.
– Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
“I have a secret code called, ‘icelandic,’ so you will never know what’s in here.”
– Bjork, holding up one of her personal notebooks, on a VH-1 special