“The iPod is the modern-day equivalent of the Samurai sword” | iLounge News

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“The iPod is the modern-day equivalent of the Samurai sword”

Author's pic

By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, January 20, 2004
News Categories: iPod

“It is a bit emasculating to admit this, but portable electronics have replaced sidearms in our culture. I draw upon the Japanese katana for my analogy for several reasons. First, the katana was much more than a mere weapon or cutting tool. It was a portable symbol of status, power, and class. The warrior class, the Samurai, were actually quite numerous. At their height they were nearly 10% of the population of Japan. Before 1876, wearing the katana conveyed to the casual observer that the wearer of the long and short swords possessed a rank and status of an elite group.

The simple fact that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars more for an iPod, when equal technology is available in a less impressive-looking package, points directly to this analogy. People will pay more for a status symbol, and in doing so, they have made the iPod one of the most important cultural icons today.”

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Comments

21

You know, I think the original poster has a point. Perhaps a bit poorly stated, but still.

Consumer electronics, in many ways, are status symbols. Much like cars, motorcyles, katanas, or other items are or have been. It’s a product with varying levels of power, style, and expense. Who has the best computer, or who has the best case mod is (in some circles) a status symbol.

With the iPod, i think that’s beginning to transfer into mainstream culture. Now I don’t mean to suggest everyone who bought an iPod did it to impress others. But by the same token (to go back to the samurai analogy) not everyone with a Katana had it for the status. Many samurai were samurai because of what it represented, or because of their beliefs.

In the same regard, many people buy iPods because they are very good audio player. But that doesnt mean it’s not also imply some level of social status.

Of course, this is all just pointles pontificating. I agree with WebBat that the post was an opinion article, and not really worthy of being ‘news’. While it’s an interesting thing to think about, it’s not what I want to read on a news page. *shrug*

Posted by Jonathan on January 20, 2004 at 2:45 PM (PDT)

22

iPods as social status? Interesting… reminds me of my favorite ipodlounge discussion… search down for “Fetish”

http://www.ipodlounge.com/ipodnews_comments.php?id=P1432_0_7_0_C

Posted by flashback on January 20, 2004 at 2:54 PM (PDT)

23

This is perhaps the stupidest news story I’ve seen about the iPod -anywhere.- Penny Arcade should stick to video games, Storm Shadow should stick to playing with G.I. Joes, and respectfully, iPodlounge should avoid outside opinion pieces like this one in favor of news.

Posted by Anon on January 20, 2004 at 3:19 PM (PDT)

24

you download music.  you have no honour.  i will have your head.

( -.-) / -    _(xx)___

Posted by oblio in sydney's northern beaches on January 20, 2004 at 3:32 PM (PDT)

25

Samurai Sword= ipod
Me likes.  this reminds me of the tv pinup girls when i was growing up.
Everybody had farrah fawcett on their wall, even tho there were other celebs who were better looking or more popular in movies or tv. They had her up because she was ‘it’. If you had a Farrah Fawcett poster, you were cool. Sure there are other players out there, some with better features, better pricing and what not.
But none of them represent the times and the culture like the unreal tech icon, ipod.
But, that doesn’t mean that something less impactful cant be heralded.
For it was Cody Chesnutt who said,
‘we can crown kings in adidas’

ipod, therefor, i am…...neurotic

Posted by NeuroticComedian in Los Angeles on January 20, 2004 at 3:38 PM (PDT)

26

wow - ipodlounge - are we so hurting for news that we have to result to petty opinion stories ?  My ipod is not a symbol of status - goddamn who in this room is soo superficial??  i honestly hide mine at the gym - simply because 1) i hate explaining what it is - not everyone knows ipods 2) for those who know - its expensive and brings 2 much attention of getting stolen or looking like an freakin idiot for paying over $400 for a hard drive -  anyways ur statement “It was a portable symbol of status, power, and class.”  is very idiotic if not perverse -  its a freakin mp3 player - many students own it and barely can afford paying for it - power? the stupid battery doesnt even last longto have power!!!!! hehe!!  get with the program - and screw steve jobs -    (p.s. this ‘news story’ is almost as stupid as the ipod boat install )

Posted by gabe on January 20, 2004 at 4:22 PM (PDT)

27

i generally don’t like having things that everybody else has.
which is why i broke up with my girlfriend….but i gotta tell ya folks!!!

Posted by NeuroticComedian in Los Angeles on January 20, 2004 at 4:29 PM (PDT)

28

“modern-day equivalent of the Samurai sword”???  puhleeeeeeeez!

I think this poster should fall on his iPod, er I mean sword

iPod simply does what its supposed to very well with elegant and simple user interface - that’s why I bought it and use it everyday. I don’t show it off or carry it as some sort of symbol and comparing any schmuck who can afford an iPod with a samurai is nonsense.

Posted by HeadCheeze on January 20, 2004 at 4:43 PM (PDT)

29

good for you, but obviously the writer feels that other people do get it as a show of status
and i think he has a point. i’ve seen way too many of those crappy infernal white headphones around to make sense

Posted by ntt on January 20, 2004 at 6:05 PM (PDT)

30

can i have my vinyls back now?

Posted by FALOP on January 20, 2004 at 7:02 PM (PDT)

31

i actually thought the ipod was the modern day equivlent to my penis.

yah that made no sense - but neither does a samurai sword

Posted by gabe on January 20, 2004 at 8:07 PM (PDT)

32

yea i agree so there.
it is like having a fonzie doll
or a monchichi
or colecovision with rocky

uh huh

Posted by NeuroticComedian in Los Angeles on January 20, 2004 at 9:04 PM (PDT)

33

I dunno about this portable status symbol stuff, like another person noted I tend to hide mine. It is in a black iSkin case, I really don’t want people at the gym or anywhere else seeing it.  I just got eight bucks for my white ear buds on eBay, perhaps the worst headphones ever.

Posted by Pete LaV on January 21, 2004 at 5:25 AM (PDT)

34

This is recockulous.

Posted by angry_black_man on January 21, 2004 at 8:13 AM (PDT)

35

Ok.. first, I didn’t write the article, so people who are freaking out on me; I only posted it.  And I posted it because I thought it was an interesting take on the ipod-worship that goes on so often.

Plus, hey.. a little pat on the back of a nice product that we all appreciate never hurts, right?


As far as my personal opinion:
The people who don’t think there is an element of status associated with it, are kidding themselves.  There are plenty of cheaper solutions than the ipod that are equally powerful.  Especially you iPod mini people.  4 gigs for $250?  Come on…

The iPod is the Mercedes of portable music.  Yes, the Mercedes is a very nice car, but that’s not entirely the reason why people buy them.  A Honda Accord is a very nice car, but people want a Mercedes for the status.  That feeling of “I’ve made it”.  To say otherwise is simply unrealistic.

Just my opinion.  If you disagree, so be it… but I don’t understand why this ruffled so many feathers.  Perhaps you really do have your iPod because you think the features are worth the $100+ difference in price above other MP3 players.  Perhaps you truly do not care about owning a product simply because it is the best.  So be it.  By why does it anger and shock you to know that others do care about such things?

Posted by Chris on January 21, 2004 at 8:29 AM (PDT)

36

Dearest Gabe,

Where did we go wrong? I thought we had a wonderful friendship and now nearly every time you post here you tell the world you hate me. Why? I know my fashion sense, well, isn’t. And I don’t remember snogging your boy/girlfriend.

I hope we can go back to the days we blissfully skipped through the waves on the beach with the sun setting behind us, before sitting back for a Pina Colada and rough sex.

Yours for ever,

Steve

Posted by Jobs, Mr S on January 21, 2004 at 10:34 AM (PDT)

37

Yay! I’m a samurai!

Posted by Special Ed on January 21, 2004 at 12:18 PM (PDT)

38

goddamn - i soo hate u steve jobs…  im not gay steve - but thank u for that thought - hey did u guys see the ipodlounge photos of their get together?  omg - ull be creeped out!! they are all like in their 40’s - its scary!!! 
anyways i dont feel like ‘i made it’ by buying an ipod - chris that was very shallow im sorry - very shallow.  bad chris. bad. 
its only 400 bucks - try buying a 50 K plus car and then we’ll talk about status - most people bought the ipod for functionality - really - who here wants to risk looking like a dork walking around with a stupid white harddrive ?  i mean who are u showing off 2?  the next dork?  the avg person wont know how 2 use it - thats why those photos on the ipodlounge get together is all fat old ugly menin their 40’s -  i mean we are on ipodlounge for christsake!  i site dedicated to a harddrive - im such a dork.. shlt .....  i hate steve jobs

Posted by gabe on January 21, 2004 at 1:10 PM (PDT)

39

Well said gabe - when i have my girlfriend walking by my side is when i know that i’ve made it, not a hard drive dressed up in white and silver!

Posted by dmeineck on January 21, 2004 at 1:26 PM (PDT)

40

Gabe, why do you hate steve jobs so much? Just really curious…

Posted by why? on January 21, 2004 at 2:08 PM (PDT)

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