A religious view of tablets (the computing kind)

destroy all onions bannerOther than space, we don’t get a lot of technology on Slugger. Time to redress that balance.

A local blogger who found himself at the top of a viewing tower in Tokyo when the earthquake hit turned his attention to tablet computers in a recent post on Destroy All Onions.

Umberto Eco famously wrote that fountain pens were protestant, and ballpoints were catholic, because of the universality of ballpoints versus the maintenance and finickiness of fountain pens. That got extended to PCs versus Macs. And now I guess it applies as well to IOS vs Android.

The Apple iPad could be thought of as Catholic. Catholicism brought us the beauty of cathedrals, and I suppose thereby invented aesthetic design. The iPad is the triumph of design, with its minimalist approach. However, it also has a pope, who rules over his flock. Steve decides what you can and can’t do with your iPad, and what he says goes. His triumph is that in his role as priest, he has mediated between the complexity of the technology and ordinary people, and has created a universal device – everyone is welcome, and it works for all without a lot of tedious theology. And that of course is what attracts me to it – it just works, and it works beautifully.

But then the reformation comes, and the people stand up and say no to what they see as an authoritarian regime that has gone astray. At first, they’re not sure what to believe, what to take from the old church, and what to reinvent. But they do know that they believe in making their own decisions, and that they don’t need Steve to tell them what they can and can’t do. Of course, being essentially Protestant, it is a completely fragmented approach. There are lots and lots of different ways to do everything. So there’s no standard way of doing it – to get the best from it, you go and find your favourite email client, video player, keyboard. And so it’s hard work, an uphill struggle to get it the way you want it.

For the theologically interested, I believe he purchased some kind of protestant ASUS Android tablet.

Alan Meban. Normally to be found blogging over at Alan in Belfast where you’ll find an irregular set of postings, weaving an intricate pattern around a diverse set of subjects. Comment on cinema, books, technology and the occasional rant about life. On Slugger, the posts will mainly be about political events and processes. Tweets as @alaninbelfast.