The Onion and The Economist Manage to Agree on Steve Jobs

They both are making the same point tying his death to American decline

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There's no shortage of commentary on the death of Steve Jobs. Everyone from Bill Gates to Richard Branson to President Obama, who said, "By building one of the planet's most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity." But two of the most passed around links on our Twitter feed this afternoon have made surprisingly similar points, even if the outlets are not normally associated with each other.

The Economist has this take, grimly headlined "Steve Jobs and America's decline":

As bad as their politics has gotten, Americans could always comfort themselves with the knowledge that their business leaders, entrepreneurs and workers were the most dynamic and innovative in the world. But they may look back on 2011 and see three events that undermine that story: the downgrade of America’s credit rating; the last flight of the space shuttle; and Mr Jobs' death. The first, coming as it did on the heels of a debilitating and entirely pointless fight over raising the debt ceiling, captures how American political dysfunction has undermined the economy’s institutional pillars. The latter two symbolised the waning of, respectively, American public and private technological pre-eminence.


The Onion gave us satire that kind of reached the same conclusion:

Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Computers and the only American in the country who had any clue what the fuck he was doing, died Wednesday at the age of 56. "We haven't just lost a great innovator, leader, and businessman, we've literally lost the only person in this country who actually had his shit together and knew what the hell was going on," a statement from President Barack Obama read in part, adding that Jobs will be remembered both for the life-changing products he created and for the fact that he was able to sit down, think clearly, and execute his ideas--attributes he shared with no other U.S. citizen.

Perhaps we need not point out that The Economist is definitely not a humor publication. The Onion definitely is. For the sake of the idealistic Americans out there who hope this country still has a glimmer of greatness in its future, we can only hope that The Economist is just being snidely British.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.