By James Surowiecki
These days, it seems more like the SlackBerry. Thanks to the iPhone and Android devices, R.I.M.’s smartphone market share has plummeted; in the U.S., according to one estimate, it fell from forty-four per cent in 2009 to just ten per cent last year. The BlackBerry’s reputed addictiveness now looks like a myth; a recent study found that only a third of users planned to stick with it the next time they upgraded. R.I.M.’s stock price is down seventy-five per cent in the past year, and two weeks ago the company was forced to bring in a new C.E.O. The Times wondered recently whether the BlackBerry will go the way of technological dodoes like the pager.
A letter written in response:
Re: BlackBerry Season
Talia E. Myres
It would've been easy to reverse this image. Say a cowboy is struggling with smoke signals on one side of a mountain. "I can't figure out this durn technology," he says as he sends up misshapen blobs of smoke. Meanwhile, an Indian on the other side of the mountain sends the advanced smoke signals as shown. Message: Indian smart, white man stupid.
That didn't happen because it didn't fit with the editors' preconceived mindset. To them, Indians are primitive savages ignorant of technology. Never mind that (some) Indians knew more about astronomy, agriculture, and medicine than their European contemporaries. Or that today's Indians are just as tech-savvy as anyone else.
For more on the subject, see The Last Acceptable Racism and Indians Shoot Arrows in New Yorker Cartoon.