Friday, July 11, 2008


out-rage: (noun) a powerful feeling of resentment or anger aroused by something perceived as an injury, insult, or injustice.

So, kids, do we know what today is? On the count of three...1...2...3...the iPhone comes to Canada today!

Um, so ... yeah?

The iPhone is here. Nay, not just the iPhone but the 3G iPhone that has had Apple-holics salivating for weeks and Apple-phobes wondering WTF. No matter which side of the fence you stand on, chances are you've heard all the media hubbub about Rogers not giving fair data plan rates and requiring you to sign a 3-year contract to get the phone. There's even a petition about it to force Rogers to change their tune. And they did - kinda - when they offered a $30/month data plan rate if you sign up before the end of August. In my office, there has been no end of bitching about Rogers monopolistic, price-gouging ways and I've heard ample whining from many corners about how unfair it all is (hmph!) and other countries get better deals (foot stomp) and this sucks (arms crossed)!

For me, I've got two minds about this. First: it's a phone. If you want one, you can get one. If you don't like the prices, get something else.

Second: I wonder how different society might be if we expressed this kind outrage and indignation about, say, child poverty or homelessness or gun violence or all the jobs being cut in Ontario right now. Imagine what might be accomplished if people decided that things needed to change, that we need more affordable housing or some real anti-gun legislation or that the economy of the province really needs to be looked at. When GM closed plants in Oshawa, there were blockades by workers and that got some media attention...but then a judge ordered them to go home and that was it. But iPhone is everywhere.

Now, I'm not trying to say Rogers is right in what they're doing with iPhone rates and contracts or trying to take an overly-political stance on various issues. Really, all I'm trying to say is that if we can get so worked up over a piece of electronics that will be upgrades within the year (if not six months) anyways, why can't we get more worked up about major issues that affect people every day? Is it because an individual doesnt want to have to personally sign a 3-year phone contract (the nerve!) but said individual has never been shot and can pay rent each month, so those issues aren't as relevant? Or are we too jaded with politicians and NGOs and not-for-profit groups that we don't think things can change? Or do we not know enough? Or do we just not care enough?

I can also freely admit that maybe I don't do enough to change the "bigger things" going on in society right now, but I also don't really care about data rates in Zimbabwe. I'm sure Zimbabweans don't particularly care either. But if customer outrage made Rogers change their rates (and this is the company that bought SkyDome, once considered an albatross [and maybe still considered so...]) so it's possible to make the big guys listen to the little guys. If people can get that angry over a phone, what else can we get angry about?

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