Steve Jobs – From FDR to Hitler

There’s an old Apple promo video going around the web today.  Apple had it made in order to fire up their salesmen back when the Mac was first hitting retail shelves in 1984.

Everyone is posting this video because Steve Jobs has a cameo as FDR, cigarette and all. You can tell that he really invested in the role and put a lot of effort into the accent, thus making his performance all that much more hilarious. Here’s the clip with Steve’s cameo:

Most blogs are posting the video simply because it is hilarious, but I see it a different way. Some time back I posted the classic 1984 Mac commercial with the question: When did Apple go from being the runner in the video to being the evil monolith?

Today’s video gives me an even better chance to make that point again, only this time I get to contrast Steve as FDR in 1984 with Steve as Hitler in 2010 (the iPhone 4 leak):

This second video is satire, but it’s not all that far off the mark. I’m not sure if you recall the hostility Apple displayed towards Gizmodo, even going so far as to sicking the police on Jason Chen the blogger who wrote the story. But they did.

You might recall Apple’s repeat performance last year when another iPhone went missing. They had, I kid you not, SFPD officers escorting Apple’s security folks in searching people’s homes – while looking for a phone.

What’s more, given the behavior commonly attributed to Steve, the Downfall parody gains an extra element of truth. Steve Jobs really did go from the hero to the villain over the course of his time at Apple.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Mark2 May, 2012

    I’m not sure that I see such a huge difference between FDR and Hitler… I mean, they were both collectivists and believed in the State’s authority to dictate economics. So, maybe it’s just opposite sides of the same coin.

    1. Nate Hoffelder2 May, 2012

      Dammit, I was hoping my post would last longer before someone pointed out the relevant historical details.

      1. Mark3 May, 2012

        Sorry… 🙂

    2. Luke3 May, 2012

      I don’t think you can liken someone who used the machinery of the modern centralized state to commit an act of genocide (persuant to a policy of social darwinism) to someone who used that same machinery to provide a social safety net (the antithesis of social darwinism). They both used the state to do stuff…so what?

  2. Vanessa2 May, 2012

    Wasn’t Steve always a jerk/villain, though?

    That’s the impression I got from the bio. I mean, he was a genius, but totally obsessive and lacking most social niceties. And very serious about secrecy from the beginning.

    1. monopole3 May, 2012

      He was always a high functioning sociopath with a severe case of Narcissistic personality disorder. The high functioning portion meant that he always had the “Eddie Haskell” mode turned on. He would be nice and obsequious to people with greater power and always paint himself as the wronged party, but turn and be vicious when he had the whip hand. We just got to see the Hitler mode when Apple became the 600 pound gorilla.

      If you consider him in terms of Theodore Millon’s NPD subtypes as the fanatic type:

      “Fanatic narcissist – including paranoid features. An individual whose self-esteem was severely arrested during childhood, who usually displays major paranoid tendencies, and who holds on to an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting delusions of insignificance and lost value, and trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition or support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.”

      You can readily see why he would present himself as a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission like FDR.

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