Friday, May 15, 2009

Apple So Holier Than Thou

You know who should go into the cryptic code business? Apple. Trying to figure out what is OK to have in their App Store and what is not OK to have in their App Store is confusingly ambiguous at best. Sure, I can completely understand why some apps have not been allowed in the App Store., but other apps I'm just no so sure about.

The Baby Shaker app is one that I can understand where the rejection comes from. I have no problem with Apple rejecting a game where the object is to vigorously shake your phone until the baby on the screen stops crying and red Xs appear over its eyes. (But as I think about it, I'm not sure why I have a problem with it. Is it because of the implication of killing the baby a la Shaken Baby Syndrome? Perhaps. But if I was going to get all philosophical about it, I'd have to figure out why that is any worse than the Halo series where there is killing all over the place with no implication's just killing! Is it the baby that makes it wrong? I'm not sure. But I think that it falls under the explanation that Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart gave in 1964 for the definition of what is pornography when he said, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . .but I know it when I see it." I think it might be that. I can't explain what would be placed in the category of "wrong" or "unacceptable", but I'll know it when I see it. And Shaken Baby Game goes in the 'Wrong' pile and 'Halo3' does not.)

So while it's understandable to me why the Baby Shaker was not allowed, it's not so understandable to me why some other apps were not allowed. Apps like the updated Tweetie 1.3, which Apple turned away because of the "offensive language" that appears when you search the Twitter Trends. So it's not even the app itself that Apple didn't like, it was the "offensive language" on another site that wasn't OK with Apple, an explanation that I find incredibly odd. Does Apple have search engine apps that search the Internet? I can imagine that there are sites that the search engine apps could find that are riddled with obscenities., for example. (I just made that up. Don't type it in your browser bar. I said DON'T TYPE! STOP TYPING! ::: sigh ::: All right. Fine. Just come back and finish reading when you're done. Please?) But you see my point, right?

So I'm a little confused by the latest odd rejection (I'm sure that there are more than I am blissfully unaware of), that of the "Me So Holy" app developed by a one Benjamin Kahle. The premise is simple. Upload a photo of your face or anyone else's face, choose from a small variety of religious themed individuals sans face (ie, Jesus (the child of God, not the gardener), a nun), give your face to the religiously themed individual and voila! You're Jesus! Behold!

No! No! NO!! Not that Jesus! Son of God! SON OF GOD!! Let's try it again. You're Jesus! Behold!

That's better. Where was I? Oh, yeah, so this was rejected. Before I tell you why it was rejected, let me just tell you that this app is very similar to another app, The Animalizer from the same developer. With The Animalizer, you upload a picture of your face, choose a non-religious themed animal from a virtual barnyard of 25, put your picture where the face of the animal is missing and voila! You're an animal! Behold!

Oh, for cryin' out loud! You know what I meant! Behold!
When did things get taken so literally around here? What if I said I wanted a hot chick?

All right. Annnnnny-wayyyyyy, where was I? Oh, right. So it's OK to put your face on an animal, but it's not OK to put your face on Jesus. Yes, that sounds funny, but that's the way it is. And while one could assume that Apple, which seems to think that it is God a lot of the time, it's basing it's rejection on what it bases all of the rejections on, that being Section 3.3.12 in the iPhone agreement. (I knew that was it!) This section, also known as the 'we're going to use this section to justify doing whatever we want due to the ambiguous language we used to craft this document', reads:

"Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

I believe the key word there is 'reasonable'. Actually, upon further review and nit picking, I believe the key words there are "may be found". There are a lot of things that 'may be found' to be anything. I "may be found" to be a complete nutjob. I also "may be found" to be a super genius. Monkeys "may be found" to fly out of my arse. Then again, I "may be found" to have made up all of that stuff about the monkeys and my arse. The point is that a lot of things can happen. As long as something isn't forbidden by the laws of nature or physics/science, it can happen. Fortunately, there's a little thing called 'probability' that tends to regulate whether or not we should be prepared for a multitude of things that 'can' happen. Turns out that a lot of things that 'can' happen, don't.

If Apple interpreted the word 'reasonable' to actually mean 'reasonable', then they would understand that the Me So Holy app is not sacrilegious in any way, shape or form and it does not carry the intent of offending anyone on any level of any sort of religious grounds. And I'm talking real offended. Not fake offended (or "fakefended", a term that can often be used in a story which contains fake controversy, or "fakeroversy"). What's so offensive about making your face into a nun? I'll bet that nuns wouldn't be offended. Heck, there'd be more nuns! They'd love that!

But really, if you're going by their rationale, the app itself doesn't contain the content that I'm guessing could be found offensive. That is, someone else trying to portray that they're Jesus (or Jesus-like)

You know what this app is? It's nothing more than Photoshop. In fact, it's considerably less than Photoshop. Are there Photoshop-ish apps for the iPhone? I'll bet there are. How The Animalizer can be OK, but Me So Holy isn't OK is beyond me. Is it because the animals can't speak up for themselves to say that they're offended? If that's the case, then you have to remember that the animals, while voiceless themselves, do have PETA and those PETA folks are crazed. I'd rather take my chances with upsetting religious folks than I would with upsetting a bunch of PETAphiles.

The title 'Me So Holy' reminds me of the 2 Live Crew song 'Me So Horny'. Perhaps that is why Apple is all in a wad about this one. I don't really know, but let's just remember that one of the best selling apps of all time at the App Store is the iFart app. Synthesized flatulence is good, making yourself appear to be Jesus or a nun is bad. Go figure. Perhaps they were just peeved that including Steve Jobs as one of the religious icons was missing from the app and they couldn't add on their tag line "There's an app for that." Get over yourselves, Apple.

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