On The Ellen Degeneres Show, Ellen Degeneres and actress-musician Zooey Deschanel played the show’s ever-popular, patented game, Heads Up. In this game, a player picks up a card and without looking at it, places it on his/her forehead, so that the other player can give clues as to what is written on it. The Apple iPad has replaced those cards as the game itself has become a downloadable app. (It could also be a Samsung tablet, given Degeneres’ very famous endorsement of the company at the 2014 Oscars.) During this particular match, in which Deschanel had to sing her clues as she accompanied herself on a ukulele, one of the words on the tablet was “apple”. Deschanel’s spontaneous processing of it, for the game is on the clock, was “It’s a company that makes computers,” which Degeneres immediately guessed correctly. On the YouTube clip of it, there is a waterfall of comments along the lines of, “Apple is not a fruit anymore.”
If you’re a writer, you’d think twice about writing these phrases: “birds were twittering” and “it was a gay afternoon”. Language evolves and passes, as all things must do, and for the most part, it’s not too difficult to live with. I mean, look at “cool”. It has managed to survive everything, every “hip” (also another word that is still an irreplaceable name for the anatomical part) connotation it has ever had. But, for someone to look at the word “apple” and think of a computer company instead of the fruit is mystifying. And a little worrying.
I am not criticising either Deschanel or Degeneres, of course. I deeply admire them, and I am only holding them as representative of a larger, current phenomenon. Technology has never evolved as rapidly as it has in the last few years. It took us some time to get a hold of the wheel, trains were scary things, radios and TVs each ruled independently for a considerable period of time. Even Cathode Ray Tube monitors and the Internet Explorer, believe it or not, were quite irreplaceable for a surprisingly long period of time.
But, if someone said “windows” to you, you’d still think about the ones around you in your room, and not the operating system that maybe on your computer. And if apple is not just a fruit anymore, do people think of Steve Jobs when they hear the word “jobs”?
There is an interesting history behind the word apple and technology. The Beatles opened a media company to finance offbeat projects, as well as their own, predictably, commercial ones. They named it Apple Corp. ( I don’t know why, but if someone does, leave a comment below) and as Yoko Ono would later point out, “ringo” is the word for apple in Japanese. So far, so good and coincidental. But, we all know about the unpleasant business that was the breaking up of The Beatles. There was also a subsequent battle of the name of the apple with another company called Apple Inc. And, we all know who ultimately won that one too. We know who made the bigger, more successful and definitive “apple” company. Apple Inc. owned the fruit more than the fruit, or even The Beatles, ever did.
Interestingly, the word apple looks and sounds similar to the word used to say your name in French. The actual word for name is nom, but if you wanted to say your name, you’d say “Je m’appelle…”, i.e., “My name is….” It most probably wasn’t the fruit of sin, but it has fascinated mankind for a long time, and continues to do so. For my own part, I don’t actually have an Apple device. Shocking, I know. Though, I am waiting for the budget-friendly Apple Music to launch in India for Android phones. However, I do hope artists don’t do a Taylor Swift on it. Other than that, I am happy with the fruit. I have it on most days, I especially love it juiced, and my mother makes an excellent apple chutney. Actually, talking about it as a fruit is making me crave some right now. Now, where can I get an apple pie at this hour…
What does apple mean to you?
P.S. I am accepting guest posts now. If you are interested, please click here to know more about it. I think I may have intimidated some of you with my rules for posting. Please do understand that while there are some things that must be maintained, the field is still vast and open. I would like to work more on ‘Of Opinions – the book’ and so, I would be very grateful if you help me run the blog during this time. I would love to ask some of my favourite bloggers personally, but I don’t know if that abides by blogging etiquette. Please do think about it.