An Extract from Starstruck

An Extract from Starstruck
By Rajeev Balasubramanyam

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Mala Iyer
First of all, it is sad and painful when anyone dies of cancer in their early fifties, but I’m troubled by the reaction to Steve Jobs’s death. It feels like success is our only real value, that consumer goods and design have taken the place of art, that we care only about style and cool, about our possessions instead of our relationships. I really don’t see how having ten different Apple products makes us happier, no matter how sleek or clever they are, and I don’t see how Steve Jobs, an entrepreneur, and design/innovation manager, can be compared to Einstein, Moses, or Edison. RIP Steve Jobs, but let’s not forget that all you did was sell consumer goods to a debt-ridden, addicted population. If you did change the world, I have to wonder if it really was for the better.
Like Comment 9 October, 2011 at 07:52 near London
Nathaniel Jacobs
Mala, you have a point for sure, but speaking for myself, what I admire about Jobs and his products is the humanity behind the design, rather than just the design itself. It’s the same humanity that leads to great music, literature, or social movements. I can honestly say that these products have allowed my own humanity to better express itself and I cannot believe the same isn’t true for you. You have an iPod, I’ve seen it. And did you write this on a Mac?
9 October, 2011 at 08:21 Like
Christian Seleko
Mala, I think it is way too soon for comments like this. Did you think, for one minute, about Steve Jobs’s wife and children, or the Apple family he has left behind. This man changed the world and left his mark in the hearts of minds of, literally, millions of people. Please have more respect. RIP Steve. We miss you.
9 October, 2011 at 08:33 Like
Hardeep ‘thin Jim’ Singh
@Christian Seleko. Christian, you are quite right. We all love Mala, but this is unacceptable. Both Jobs and his products defined our generation. Now he is gone it feels like there’s no magic left in the world. Apple will continue to develop and release wonderful products, but I wonder if anyone will ever capture our imagination the way Steve did. Rest in peace.
9 October, 2011 at 08:48 Like
Lucy Manningtree
Omg, Mala, what has got into you? Can’t you see people are mourning? Take this down or get off Facebook all together. You spoiled my breakfast. RIP Steve. And sorry.
9 October at 8:58 Like
David Kohli
Mala, GFY. I mean it. My son saw this.
9 October at 9:21 Like
Claire Yahlty
If it wasn’t for Steve Jobs, you wouldn’t even be able to write this, you ungrateful b**ch. You probably wouldn’t even be able to recognize the world around you if we removed his contribution from it. That’s right, we’d be back in the Stone Age. Smart alecs should think twice before making comments that hurt innocent people and mock the very individuals that allow them to live in a free society. Steve Jobs was a million times the person you are, Mala. Grow up and get a life.
9 October at 9:24 Like
JD Richey
there is a love called let go, there is a genital called whiskey, there is a king called Robert II
9 October at 9:29 Like
Frank Sorrell
Da Vinci, Edison, Jobs. Goebbels, Nixon, Iyer. Enough said.
9 October at 9:34 Like
Mala Iyer
Thank you to the two who PM’d me to say they agreed. To everyone else, if this is indeed a democracy, then I can write what I like about Jobs or, for that matter, his family. The truth is, I wish them all well. Death is never easy, especially a premature one from disease, but I resent people telling me I don’t have the right to make my point out of some sort of misplaced respect for the recently deceased. Let us not forget that Apple products are made in exploitative in sweat shops, and second of all, I’m sorry, but Steve Jobs was no Edison or Da Vinci. He was *not* a scientist or an inventor. He was an innovator at best, and a CEO. My point is that we are worshipping innovation and design at the *expense* of science and art. We’ve made a cult around image and branding. Let your friends and families put magic into your lives, not a bloody phone.
9 October at 9:54 Like
Mala Iyer
@Claire Yahlty Don’t insult me, Claire. I am not your enemy. @Frank Sorrell How dare you compare me to Joseph Goebbels, responsible for millions of deaths! I hardly think a post on Facebook can be compared to the Final Solution. Sorry, Frank, that’s just plain ignorant. @David Kohli. David, GFY2. Your son can think for himself. You should try it.

We, the Apple-using Community, Believe that Mala Iyer is a Bitch and Should Apologize to the Late Genius Steve Jobs and his Family and Friends
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Peter Cummings
Seriously, isn’t there a law we can nail this woman under? We have laws in Britain, right? cos surely she can’t get away with this? I mean, if you say something bad about the holocaust, not that I would want to, they put you away for life. And god forbid anyone say anything about gays or blacks. But celebrities, even ones who were practically saints? It feels like someone turned out all the lights in this world and it’s getting darker fast. I just feel so powerless.
Like Comment Follow post 13 October at 15:32
Hiroki Kawabata, Jim Tale and 42 others like this.
Richard Clivesdale
Who else wants to meet tomorrow night? Message me for location.
Like Comment Follow post 13 October at 16:21
Charles ‘Xavier’ French
Does anyone know why the Macbook Air does not have an optical drive? The Air Superdrive costs £60, which is reasonable, but can I rip audio CDs with it? And can I use it on my Macbook Pro?
Like Comment Follow post 13 October at 16:35
Richard Clivesdale
Charles, understand that this group was set up for the exclusive purpose of holding Mala Iyer to account for her despicable behaviour, and not for the purposes of general discussion re: Apple products, software etc. But in answer to your question, yes you can rip audio CDs, but you can’t do anything with Blu-ray. And no, it will not work on your Macbook Pro, not due to the current requirements but rather to the custom daughterboard (which is swappable).
13 October at 17:03 Like
Anthony Daniels
Charles, the Macbook Air can also read CDs and DVDs wirelessly from a PC or Mac. I really wish it had an optical drive too. It’s a flaw, which is inevitable in any groundbreaking product or technology, or maybe they thought it a worthwhile sacrifice in order to keep the notebook thin and sleek. I must say, it is one of the most beautiful pieces of equipment I have yet laid eyes on.
13 October at 17:22 Like
Kenny Baker
The whole point is that Apple are phasing out technology they know will become obsolete. This is what they have always done, like with the 5.5″ floppy drive, and now with the ethernet port, FireWire port, microphone socket. These are not ‘design flaws’. This is simply indicative of Steve Jobs’s legendary ability to predict the future. RIP Steve. Just roll with it.
14 October at 10:24 Like
Peter Cummings
Could somebody please repost MI’s original post. Anyone still friends with her? (We need at least one person, or we won’t have access to her page.) Let us not forget that this is a group and requires each and every member to take responsibility and share in the labour burden. Many thanks.
Like Comment Follow post 14 October at 13:11
Sheila Giggins
Point taken, Peter. Yes, it does feel as though many of us are not pulling out weight. But my question is, and sorry if this comes across as defeatist, can anything actually be done? I firmly believe justice will out in the end, but for the moment, this does seem hopeless. Yes, we can all PM that ghastly woman, but will it have any effect apart from bloating her already swollen ego? I can’t be certain whether she’s even seen this group. Wouldn’t she have posted something? I don’t know, it just seems fishy to me. Perhaps she’s no longer on Facebook. Or perhaps she just doesn’t care. Either way, I think we need to consider alternatives. Apologies for the vague post. Just ‘thinking out loud’.
14 October at 23:42 Like
Shahid Khan
@Sheila Giggins Are you thinking what I’m thinking…?
14 October at 23:45 Like
Sheila Giggins
In all probability. Don’t really want to be the one to say it.
14 October at 23:47 Like
Shahid Khan
Then I will. Strongly suspect she works for Microsoft.
14 October at 23:51 Like
Peter Cummings
Can I suggest we all take a step back here. These are serious accusations and probably not appropriate for the Facebook platform. We can discuss in person at the meet.
15 October at 00:01 Like

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What’s on Your Mind?
Mala Iyer
I’m sorry, but this has gone too far. A few days ago I posted a perfectly reasonable critique of the response to the recent passing away of Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. Instead of my right to free speech being respected, I have been the recipient of hate messages, including emails to my personal and work addresses, including from anonymous, or pseudonymous, ‘haters’. It has also been brought to my attention that there is a Facebook group dedicated to abusing me, on which I have been called names and even threatened. Obviously this is not acceptable, and I have emailed Facebook about the problem, demanding they remove this group. To any of my so-called ‘friends’ who leaked my original post, kindly unfriend me. To those of you who have been supportive, and there have been several, I thank you, but too many people have turned against me in recent days, many of whom I considered genuine friends. Frankly, I have been
Like Comment 15 October, 2011 at 10:19 near London
Mala Iyer
shocked by the reaction to what I maintain was a perfectly *innocent* post. I am a PhD student and used to the spirit of free inquiry and debate. What I am not used to are these deliberate attempts to silence me through threats, intimidation and abuse. I do not take well to being publicly called a bitch or being compared to murderers and Nazis. This kind of behaviour is as immoral as it is idiotic. I never met Steve Jobs but I am sorry that he died and I do wish his family and friends the very best. But I continue to believe that it is my democratic *right* to say that Apple products are over-rated and that the outpouring of grief over his death is misplaced and hysterical.
Like Comment 15 October, 2011 at 10:26 near London
Hardeep ‘thin Jim’ Singh
Mala, you are not doing yourself any favours with these posts. Simply apologize and let us all move on. I, for one, do not like having to read these updates and don’t want to be continually dragged into the mire of this debate. I’ve always had a lot of respect for you, but I’m sorry, Malaji, in this instance you are simply wrong. Do the right thing, apologize, then kindly shut the f– up.
15 October at 10:35 Like
Lucy Manningtree and Ola Martin like this.
JD Richey
i love all the animals, for they never compete in any eating contest, they never kill when they are not hungry, they never sleep with the girls they don’t love (for you never know what love is) and they are no Christians. but we, human beings, are better than them anyway, for we drink, and we get drunk, mamafishermamamamiiiiiiiiiia
15 October at 10:42 Like
Mala Iyer likes this.
Christian Seleko
Mala, I agree that many of the responses to your post were distasteful, over-hasty and sensitive, but this is often the way with grief. Please allow me to explain how I am feeling, and perhaps from this you will gain an insight into the emotions of others. Six months ago, I converted to a Mac, and I can honestly say it changed my life. All I ever wanted was a reliable computer that didn’t freeze, make loud noises, delete my important documents, overheat, or break into pieces. Now, finally, I have it. A month ago a friend of mine sent me Steve Jobs’s ‘Find What You Love’ speech at Stanford University. I felt inspired and motivated by his words and his message. I am deeply saddened by his passing as I know he had so much more to contribute to this world. Here is to remembering Steve.
15 October at 11:02 Like
Lucy Mannigtree and Hardeep ‘thin Jim’ Singh like this.
Mala Iyer
An hour ago my laptop was stolen from the Grand Café on Oxford High Street. The thief left a note saying, ‘Next time buy a Mac.’ Wtf is wrong with you people??? These are broad daylight hate crimes, and that was MY PROPERTY. How dare you!!!! I have taken the matter to the police who are investigating the ‘I Hate Mala’ Group. Facebook have not yet responded to my complaint, but as the police are now involved, I hope they will take this matter as seriously as I do. To whom it may concern, I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THIS!!! You cannot wilfully attack me because you disagree with my opinion about a celebrity. Yes, CELEBRITY, not SAINT.
15 October at 13:48 Like
Frank Sorrell and David Kohli like this.

We, the Apple-using Community, Believe that Mala Iyer is a Bitch and Should Apologize to the Late Genius Steve Jobs and his Family and Friends
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Mala Iyer
I, Maya Iyer, publicly and unreservedly apologize for all the offense I have caused Steve Jobs’s friends, family, admirers, and second family at Apple. My comments were motivated by malice, ignorance and stupidity, and I fully retract all the slanderous comments I made about Mr Jobs and the Apple Corporation whom I recognize have made outstanding contributions to humanity. I can only hope to accomplish one iota of what they did and am truly humbled by this experience would like to thank everyone who has intervened to help me see reason. I sincerely apologize and will make amends in any way possible. Mala Iyer.
Like Comment Follow post 15 October at 14:32
Peter Cummings, Jim Tale and 42 others like this.
Peter Cummings
Mala, I am delighted and relieved that you have come to your senses. The adolescent spirit of contrariness, while valuable at a certain time in life, has no place in the adult world where real feelings and real people are concerned, particularly those so recently deceased. You have caused deep, deep hurt to hundreds, if not thousands, of people, and the pain you are currently feeling is, I am afraid, nothing compared to the pain you have caused. In future, please try to consider the consequences of your actions. We are all in this world together, and creating a harmonious society was the life’s work of men like Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. Please refrain from ever causing such discord again. You have been warned.
15 October at 14:57 Like
Shahid Khan
Hear hear, Peter! But tell me, how are we to accept the sincerity of Ms. Iyer’s ‘apology’? Many people crack under pressure, especially those whose character is weak. I for one am not convinced.
15 October at 15:02 Like
Peter Cummings
Shahid, may I suggest we do not presume to know what is in another’s heart. Mala had no right to doubt the sincerity of Apple’s much-loved CEO, but neither do we have the right to pre-judge her. As far as I am convinced, her apology is genuine. I cannot forgive her, but I am prepared to accept that she has apologized. Do try to find it in your heart to do the same.
15 October at 15:40 Like
Shahid Khan
You are a bigger man than I am, Peter. Peace be with you.
15 October at 15:45 Like
Peter Cummings likes this.
Richard Clivesdale
OMG!!!! Shame on you, Peter. You are a tough, street-smart guy, and you can’t see through this rubbish? Come on!!!! If that’s a genuine apology, we might as well give Gaddafi the peace prize. I know b.s when I see it, and this stinks to high heaven. If she’s really prepared to make amends, then let her make a donation to Apple and upload the receipt. I’ll believe *that* when I see it.
15 October at 16:01 Like
Mark Wycliffe
Bitch just trying to make friends. LMFAO.
15 October at 16:09 Like
Richard Clivesdale likes this.
Sheila Gibbins
Sorry to harp on about this, but am I the only one who sees a more dangerous level to all this? Insincere? Obviously! But insincere in what way? I know this is an open group, Richard, but do I have to spell it out???
15 October at 16:15 Like
Peter Cummings
Sheila, I just don’t know. I’m sorry if I’ve wasted everyone’s time, but I’m only trying to be fair. And surely everyone, no matter how misguided, deserves a second chance.
15 October at 16:33 Like
JD Richey
Free AiWeiwei, free Tibet, free porn!!! Every motherfucker deserves a second chance, but does every second chance deserve a motherfucker? Weakness is not necessary in life, cowardice is. You know it’s true. You know it’s you. Uhohuhohuhoh…
15 October at 16:34 Like
Jim Tale
Sorry everyone, but I believe her and, unlike Peter, I can forgive her. Welcome, Mala.
15 October at 16:50 Like
Peter Cummings and Stephanie Weather like this.
Stephanie Weather
May I propose we close this group then? If it’s over, then let’s move on. @Sheila Gribbins Even if she is, so what????
15 October at 16:54 Like
Mala Iyer
OMG, you people are such IDIOTS! Quite clearly, I DID NOT WRITE THIS APOLOGY! My lap-top was stolen by some fanboys in turtlenecks while I was logged in to Facebook. Do all you losers have nothing better to do than this? Why don’t you go down to the Apple Store and buy yourselves a fucking life?!!!??
15 October at 16:57
Peter Cummings
Ms. Iyer, the Apple-Using community are not impressed by your foul language, and flagrant callousness over the death of one of the great inventors of our times. Kindly refrain from posting again on this site. We, as a community, are in mourning, and the least you could do is to respect that. I did, btw, go to the Apple Store this morning, but I did not buy myself a life as I already have one. It is you who are missing out, and sour grapes are best eaten with humble pie. RIP Steve, and if you are watching us, I am truly sorry.
15 October at 17:12 Like
Jim Tale
@Mala Iyer. Post on this site again and I call the police. Shocking.
15 October at 17:30 Like
Mark Wycliffe
Yeah, post on this site again and I’ll stick you like a pig you fucking whore. Pieces of shit like you should be dead.
15 October at 17:38 Like
Richard Clivesdale, JD Richey and 12 others like this.
Mala Iyer
@Mark Wycliffe Is that the best you can do? Pathetic!!! Why don’t you grow some i-balls.
15 October at 18:04 Like
JD Richey likes this.
JD Richey
Smash those cameras, security cameras. Do them in like pigs in a vat. Brick them, skewer them, kick their nuts out, take a bat to their snooping skulls. Come on let’s do it, let’s spill some aluminium blood oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah
15 October at 18:10 Like

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Mala Iyer
My arm post-hospital
Mala Iyer added 2 new photos to the album mobile uploads.
Mobile uploads
Like Comment Share 5 hours ago via Blackberry
Ameena Iyer
Omg, Mala honey, what happened? Are you all right? xxx
3 hours ago Like Add Friend
Ashish Iyer
Mala, call me as soon as you see this. Mum’s upset. What the hell happened? Call! We love you.
2 hours ago Like Add Friend
Christian Seleko
Shocking, but oddly beautiful. Where did you have it done?
58 minutes ago Like Add Friend
Mala Iyer
I didn’t have it done anywhere, Christian, can’t you see that? Two men broke into my flat and did this to me. @Ashish Iyer Called Mum. She’s all right. Why the hell did you show her the picture? Yes, I’m OK. Will call later. I have to be at the hospital till 9. Phone off till then.
40 minutes ago Like Add Friend
Ashish Iyer
Sorry. Please call as soon as pos. Want us to fly over?
52 minutes ago Like Add Friend
Mala Ayer
@Ashish Iyer Will call tonight don’t worry. No, I don’t need you to fly over. I can take care of myself. But thanx.

We, the Apple-using Community, Believe that Mala Iyer is a Bitch and Should Apologize to the Late Genius Steve Jobs and his Family and Friends
Open group – appleuser@groups.facebook.com
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Mala Iyer
Listen up, all of you. Yesterday, at around 3 in the afternoon, two men broke into my room in Brasenose College, Oxford. I think they were the same ones who stole my laptop. They were all dressed like Steve Jobs, anyway. They tied me to a chair and branded my arm with the Apple logo. That’s right, BRANDED. I’ve described them to the police and as two of them (and I KNOW they are in this group) were dumb enough to put their masks on *after* I’d let them in, the police will find them soon enough. But what I really what to say is this. To all of you who told me I had no right to my views, to all of you who called me names, who joined that vile hate group, who posted abuse on my page… YOU DID THIS. Don’t say you didn’t, because you did. You know who you are.
Like Comment Follow post 16 October at 11.01

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Starstruck was originally serialised on The Pigeonhole, the social reading platform that turns your phone into a book club. To read more of Rajeev’s work, just click here and join the reading revolution.

Illustration provided by Mido Diez.

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