Apple sinks lower, approving Baby Shaker, Poop the World apps | iLounge News

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Apple sinks lower, approving Baby Shaker, Poop the World apps

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
News Categories: Apps + Games

Apple continued to lower its standards for acceptable App Store content this week with the approval of two new applications, one designed to simulate violent, life-threatening acts on an infant. The object of Baby Shaker from Sikalosoft is to stop the crying of a baby pictured on screen by shaking the iPhone or iPod touch, until the crying stops and two red “x” marks appear over its eyes. Jennipher Dickens, whose son Christopher was injured by being shaken by his father, told Cnet, “As a mother of a child who was violently shaken at 7 weeks old, causing a severe brain injury, and the founder of a national organization for Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention (as well as the communications director for a national organization helping children with brain injuries), I don’t have to tell you how much this horrifies me!!!”

Update: Baby Shaker was removed from the iTunes Store shortly following the publication of this story.

Meanwhile, the scatalogical Poop the World from SWS Digital is designed to let iPhone and iPod touch users share details of their bowel movements, including time, place, consistency, and smell, with other users across the globe. Users are encouraged to select from one of 20 shapes that best approximate their most recent output, then a scent from a long list of possible smells. Details, including location, are then uploaded to SWS’ servers, allowing other users to track the details. Promoted by the developer with toilet paper rolls that feature the App Store logo, the app even offers trophies to users who accomplish set “goals.” Poop the World and Baby Shaker are available now from the App Store and sell for $2 and $1, respectively.

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Comments

21

Danstigator,

You are clearly a reactionary, and for that you have my pity. I am fully cognizant of what the comments on this board were, and because you have a clear tendency to knee-jerk, you assumed incorrectly that all my commentary was a direct response to yours. It was not, and I think you need to read the post more carefully before you comment on things like “pay[ing] attention.”

Yes, Apple is publicly traded but it is not a state actor, so from a legal standpoint it is not engaging in censorship. The point is that its management and business judgment are vested in those under its employ. Apple’s day-to-day whims are not controlled by the public at large, and with good reason. You may very well understand this, but it’s apparent from the comments that are often posted on ilounge.com that some folks blur this distinction or do not grasp it whatsoever.

Now, lest I leave the main point of your savvy rejoinder astray, let me emphasize that no poster appeared to be trying to apply a sense of decency to everybody. Some effused criticism of the decision, but others found it to be a responsible decision. Not once did John Larkin purport to ascribe his particular values to everyone, but he did correctly suggest that these app decisions can’t be viewed in a vacuum. You have to not only look at what’s “right” or “moral,” but also consider the potential harm to Apple’s reputation and the damage to the goodwill that it has cultivated in the free market. Look at this very headline: “Apple Sinks Lower…” suggests that the company has abandoned principles, and so even though this questionable app is not produced by Apple, the fact that the company disseminates it freely makes it the easiest target and most culpable party.

That you perceived Mr. Larkin’s comments as a means of suggesting that you or anyone else conform to a specific value system is off base, in my view. I think it’s perfectly fine for the App Store to peddle silly, even profane materiel, but this clearly goes beyond the pale and tiptoes into an area where Apple rightly does not want to wander. The crux of your criticism is that when John Larkin stated his support of the decision to remove “Baby Shaker,” it was tantamount to hammering home his own values. And I simply don’t think you can make that leap, so you’ll have to understand why I view this as reactionary posting.

Love the decision or hate the decision, sure. But taking one’s opinion and running it into the ground as somehow un-American is more than a little contradictory.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 23, 2009 at 9:26 PM (PDT)

22

I should clarify my above post to add that Apple is not engaging in “illicit” censorship in ferreting out bad apps. Clearly, they are controlling the content that they offer, but this is no different than Wal-Mart refusing to sell CDs with explicit lyrics or Arby’s refusing to sell hot dogs. These are business decisions, made solely for the purpose of ensuring the company’s fiscal health.

And Danstigator, forgive me if my posts take an acrid tone, but even as liberal-minded as I may be, I tire of the constant griping about one “forcing” a particular opinion or view on another. I just did not see Mr. Larkin as Rev. Larkin, if you will, and it struck me as odd that you were so hasty to jump on him for a fairly innocuous post.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 23, 2009 at 9:32 PM (PDT)

23

Thanks for the reply Danstigator. It is appreciated. You make a good point. I remember reading about the Larry Flint case in Rolling Stone.

It just occurred to me how fortunate it is that we are all able to correspond and share our views on these matters. This is a good thing. Hats off to iLounge for providing the chance to respond and greetings to one and all. I have to sign off now.

Cheers, John

Posted by John Larkin on April 24, 2009 at 3:07 AM (PDT)

24

Flippy,

I hope you feel better about yourself now that you ‘pity’ me (the reactionary). Personal attacks always make your point stronger.  You could try yelling too…

Now, on to the relevant issues…

John Larkin and I were able to have a civil and polite discussion that never turned personal.  In fact, his last comment thanked me for making some good points, and I would like to return the thanks to him for maintaining a polite and open dialogue.  It is always a pleasure have a discussion with an open minded person who actually listens to what you say and responds appropriately.

On the other hand…

There were no comments made by me stating that Apple should not withdraw this app from the store.  In fact, no posters on this thread suggested that. So if not me, and not other posters, then who exactly were you responding to? A strawman?

As I’ve already stated, the anti-american comment was not directed at John Larkin, it was directed at Warren’s comment to “exercise free speech elsewhere.” which is a statement that goes against the basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. There is nothing ‘contradictory’ about my stating this at all.

As for posters trying to impose their sense of decency…  There were several posters declaring that ‘useless’ apps should be removed.  Who gets to decide what apps are useless? Likewise, how are people (i.e Warren) demanding that an app is removed because it is ‘sick’ not trying to impose their morality on others? 

My final point is this:

Apple runs the app store and can do whatever they feel is in their best interest.  Nobody here denys that.  As for apps that Apple does approve, if you don’t like them, DON"T DOWNLOAD THEM!  Just don’t say they should be removed because they are ‘junk’, or ‘offensive’ and make your searches more inconvenient.  Somebody else could just as easily say that the apps you want to download are cluttering up their searches.  I wonder how many people who are outraged by this app were equally outraged by the SAW movies (I-V) and the Hostel movies which all depict graphic displays of human torture and murder.  As I recall, nobody was criticizing (en masse) Loews Theaters for putting out this ‘offensive’ material and demanding that they stop showing it.  Where is all the outrage?  There wasn’t any because the filmmakers have a right to make offensive movies and we, the people, have the freedom to choose to view them (or not).

If the real issue (and it seems to be) is that the app store is becoming so inundated with apps that finding what you are looking for is becoming increasing difficult, then why don’t we address that problem?  If you could find exactly what you wanted quickly and easily, would you really care about all the stupid/offensive/lame apps that nobody wants?

Posted by Danstigator on April 24, 2009 at 6:53 AM (PDT)

25

honestly this is such a stupid conversation. anyone who gets upset and feels the need to retaliate in a message board has some kind of ego. haha i mean, put your two cents in and be done. I find it comical how people can get so defensive. all this american and un american stuff has nothing to do with anything. whether someone is right or wrong, people don’t need to be rude.. ie “Next time, try to pay attention, ok?”
come on.. nobody likes a spongebob smartypants hahah

Posted by Melanie on April 24, 2009 at 12:33 PM (PDT)

26

oops, i didn’t see there was another page of posts. sorry hehhe. noww it looks like ppl are being more respectful smile

Posted by melanie on April 24, 2009 at 12:41 PM (PDT)

27

Melanie,

I’m not sure I understand where you are coming from…

So, you’re saying that I’m the bad guy because I believe in defending freedom of speech. When someone says, “Exercise free speech elsewhere”, they are in fact, denying free speech.  Despite the fact that this sentiment completely contradicts the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, I’m the one who is rude and egotistical.  Apparently, it’s not rude and egotistical to demand that an app be removed because an individual finds it in poor taste, but it is rude and egotistical to argue against that point of view.

I’m sorry that the issue of freedom is of so little importance to you. Haha. Perhaps you don’t mind having your opinions misrepresented, but I do.  This is why I felt the need to respond to some of the posts on this thread that put words into my mouth that I didn’t say. If you had taken the time to post a comment and then other people totally misrepresented what you had said, I think you might want the other parties to “pay a little bit more attention” to what you had actually said as well.

If you believe that the conversation was so stupid, why did you bother to get involved? Haha.  I mean, it is certainly your right, but if you really feel that way, why bother? 

My 2 cents. haha

Posted by Danstigator (spongebob smartypants) on April 24, 2009 at 1:16 PM (PDT)

28

Melanie,

Sorry, I didn’t see your second comment before I posted.

I know I can come off as ‘intense’ but I am passionate about freedom and I have encountered way too many people who think that they have the right to decide for others what is appropriate and what is not.  Perhaps I should have called this “Un-Democratic” instead of “Un-American.”  Sorry for the confusion.

Please accept my apology if I have misrepresented anything you have said. 

Ok, so now it is 4 cents. haha

Posted by danstigator on April 24, 2009 at 1:27 PM (PDT)

29

hehe its okay! i completely agree with what u say. plus, ppl (like myself) can sometimes be over sensitive. all u were doing was voicing your opinion haha. nothing wrong with that. if it didn’t get a little ‘intense’, it would be boring hahah. “un-american/undemocratic”, whatev. ppl shouldn’t be afraid to voice there opinion because they might offend others! if that were the case, i think life would be boring. thanks for the clarification

<3 Melanie

Posted by Melanie on April 25, 2009 at 12:33 AM (PDT)

30

I think it is very sad that we all can’t agree that shaking a baby to death is so appalling that is goes beyond free speech.  It is a serious tragedy that happens all the time in real life - ask your local police officer.  This is bigger than letting “capitalism decide” on what is decent.  It shows how desensitized our society is.

Posted by Max Watt on May 9, 2009 at 12:56 PM (PDT)

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