I am beginning to think that Steve Jobs and the gang at Apple rather than being humourless super-secret corporatistas are arch-ironists. How else to explain the news that Apple has finally granted an app version of Ulysses Seen, a webcomic adaption of James Joyce's Ulysses, after it forced the creators, Rob Berry and Josh Levitas, to cut out any nudity?
Berry told the comics blog Robot 6: 'While the first chapter of the book, the one now at iTunes, doesn't contain "offensive language" our comic does have frank nudity. Something we figured we might have to pixelate or cover with "fig leaves". But Apple's policy prohibits even that. So we were forced to either scrap the idea of moving to the tablet with Apple or re-design our pages.'
That's the Ulysses, of course, which way way back in the dark old days of the early 20th century was banned as obscene in the UK and subject of one of the most significant obscenity trials in US history.
So now we enter the Apple's Age of New Puritanism. To be fair to Apple, they have been pretty up front about what their views are regarding what sort of material it wants on its devices, probably best summed up in Steve Jobs' now infamous 2 a.m. flame war with Gawker blogger Ryan Tate where Jobs promised 'freedom from porn.'
And the App Store is Apple's shop, it can certainly sell what it wants, and if you don't want to play by the rules you can go elsewhere right? Right....but that is precisely the danger for publishers at the moment as they pile onto the iPad bandwagon. It is good to be on a bandwagon if it is going where you want it to, and if you are driving it. But if you're not driving it, you're just along for the ride.
For Apple, they must adopt a more sensible approach. I may be going out on a limb here, but young kids are not going to be seeking out a graphic novel representation of a stream of consciousness modernist classic to satisfy their puerile lusts when all manner of vice is just a few clicks away. Apple having this priggish blanket policy is just plain stupid.
Bloomsday, the date Ulysses takes place, is just two days away. I wonder how Steve Jobs will be celebrating?