A Tale of Two Cubes
October 11, 2006 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Both are open 24 hours a day, and serve as a "mecca" to their respective worshipers. One was ordained by Allah as a place of worship on Earth to reflect the house in Jannah called al-Baytu l-Maˤmur. The other was built by the house of Jobs to showcase Macs and iPods. Is Apple's Fifth Avenue Cube (QTVR) mocking the Kaaba? Some Islamic website thinks it's a new insult to Islam.
posted by jaimev (97 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Like having your whole religion debased by extremists and men willing to use it and pervert the teachings to gain and hold power? That kind of insult to Islam? Or the kind of insult that makes the papers to generate more publicity for a Madonna tour?
posted by geoff. at 10:18 PM on October 11, 2006


Good one, geoff.
posted by jouke at 10:22 PM on October 11, 2006


I'm confused. I live in Seattle, and have several macs:

When I pray five times a day, do I face South (towards Apple HQ in the bay area) or East (towards the Apple Kaaba in NYC)?

Please Hope Me!
posted by b1tr0t at 10:22 PM on October 11, 2006 [2 favorites]


Bush blamed in 10... 9...
posted by Krrrlson at 10:26 PM on October 11, 2006


From the last article:

"...contains bars selling alcoholic beverages, constitutes a blatant insult to Islam."

I wasn't aware the Apple Store had a liquor license? Perhaps they are referring to the Genius Bar? Maybe Apple should think about it. Might spice up those long lines a bit.
posted by ofthestrait at 10:28 PM on October 11, 2006


That pic is old; the black was only the frame placed around it during construction. It is now revealed as quite pretty glass - and looks more like a rubiks cube than the Kaaba.
posted by metaculpa at 10:29 PM on October 11, 2006


What a non-story. From ifo apple store:

The complaining site apparently did not realize the store is already open, and mistakenly stated that the “bars” inside are serving alcohol. It also mistakenly claims the structure is officially called “Apple Mecca,” when, in fact, the company has never used that term. The only correct feature mentioned in the complaint is that the store is open 24-hours.

and

A spokesman for MEMRI refused to divulge the identity of the original Web site that complained about the structure, but claimed the Institute had translated the objections into English from Arabic.

Next: Clear things are an affront to all that is holy!
posted by setanor at 10:30 PM on October 11, 2006


Also, this sure is some clever reporting. What a way to get all the rest of the extremists on the wagon by word of mouth!
posted by setanor at 10:33 PM on October 11, 2006


"some website", misinformation...what a lame post.
posted by vacapinta at 10:38 PM on October 11, 2006


From the ifo apple store site setanor linked to:

MEMRI is headed by a former Israeli military intelligence officer, and has been variously characterized as pro-Israeli and anti-Arab, or as a useful window into the Arab world.... A spokesman for MEMRI refused to divulge the identity of the original Web site that complained about the structure, but claimed the Institute had translated the objections into English from Arabic.

Well that's pretty fucking suspicious, isn't it? Is the whole thing a hit job by an anti-Muslim extremist trying to spread outrageous rumors? It seems a fair assumption, given the lack of transparency in MEMRI's sources and methods. "Hey, I read a website saying that, uh, Muslims are offended by, uh, Big Bird! That's right, they think he's mocking the Prophet! Those crazy, dangerous Muslims! What? Where'd I read that? Uh... I'm not gonna tell you. But I translated it from Arabic!"
posted by mr_roboto at 10:40 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty god damned tired of Islam right about now.
posted by xmutex at 10:42 PM on October 11, 2006


I don't know why people keep saying Islam and Christianity are different. Both sides have their knee-jerking fools.
posted by cheaily at 10:42 PM on October 11, 2006


Ah, shit. Here's the ultimate source, I think. From back in April. The comments are a fucking joy to behold.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:48 PM on October 11, 2006


The message urges Muslims to spread this alert, in hope that "Muslims will be able to stop the project."

Little late guys?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:52 PM on October 11, 2006


Hm, I think mr_roboto is right: this is spin.
Which makes it bad.

But I'd like to see it as an appropriate lampoon. Which is funny and good.

The way some cartoons lead to raging lunatics in Iran, boycotting of danish produce, etcetera is indeed ridiculous.
posted by jouke at 10:54 PM on October 11, 2006


In related news, George Lucas is offended by the AT&T logo.
posted by brain_drain at 10:54 PM on October 11, 2006


Yeah, this post is pretty much based on the power of imagination-- what we have here is a website that probably created this story out of thin air or hearsay, and no other sources. After doing a little search on the subject, it looks like maybe a few people saw what the project looked like and referred to it as the apple 'mecca.' I could find no actual examples of outraged arabs, though.

But hey, don't let me get in the way of the hatefest.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:55 PM on October 11, 2006


Come on,

Now Muslims are to be judged by whatever off the wall conspiracy theories some third party translation service found online?

Hey man, lets go search some arabic forums for the most vile stuff we can find and present that to the english speaking world.

Then we'll do the same with LGF and get everyone on the other side of the world to hate us. That will serve the extremists on both sides!
posted by mulligan at 10:56 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'll bet Osama uses Windows.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:56 PM on October 11, 2006


Alright, I missed the comments on that website, but it looks like it was merely one white guy trying to make apple look irreverent.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:58 PM on October 11, 2006


I like the arab looking dude looking at pr0n right in front of the VR thing.
posted by delmoi at 11:05 PM on October 11, 2006


That laptop is totally photoshopped in.

The earbuds might be, too.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:13 PM on October 11, 2006


Arab looking dude?
posted by liquorice at 11:15 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


He looks more like a pirate to me.
posted by jouke at 11:17 PM on October 11, 2006


There needs to be more artwork and architecture that is offensive to major religions. I'd like to see the next Apple store feature a frieze decorated with bas-reliefs of the prophet Mohommed, Jesus, Abraham, Joseph Smith, and Krishna in a ribald retelling of The Aristocrats.
posted by mullingitover at 11:20 PM on October 11, 2006


Apple obviously didn't know Mohammed has a patent on the concept of a cube.

cheaily: I don't know why people keep saying Islam and Christianity are different. Both sides have their knee-jerking fools.

Yeah, but a large portion of people in the nominally Christian world have stuff like shiny iPods to destract them from taking their religion too seriously.
posted by spaltavian at 11:24 PM on October 11, 2006


There were Arab pirates.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:24 PM on October 11, 2006


The Borg must really, really hate Islam.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:31 PM on October 11, 2006


APPLE'S HARMONIC
SIMULTANEOUS 24-HOUR-DAY
STORE CUBE

You Are Educated Stupid

I think Cubic, therefore I
rise above the singularity
mentality human and the
false gods they worship -
discovering a Universe of
Branding their language
will never allow them to
know.
posted by Artw at 11:31 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Fellas.

Hey, fellas.

I hear Jews are really offended by the new McDonalds store that's opened. I website I read once that I'm not going to show you says that they were pissed off by the fact that they will serve you a milk shake and a burger, that they have the audacity to use pork products, in a direct attack on their moon-god "Jehovah". This website I'm not going to show you called on Jews everywhere to help stop the store opening! You can only guess what that means...right?
posted by Jimbob at 11:36 PM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Gotta love MEMRI's response:

In response to readers' comments to MEMRI regarding the content and details mentioned in the report "Apple's 'Mecca Project' Provokes Muslim Reaction," it should be emphasized that all content published by MEMRI is translated directly from the primary source.

Which we won't point you to. Or even tell you about. Because, um, well...you don't need to know. Just shut up and trust us when we insist that our "Islamist Websites Monitor" reports are very, very accurate.

What a hoot. Well, at least this post counts towards something: letting us know MEMRI isn't above posting unreliable, inflammatory bits of information and trying to bluff its way out when caught with its pants down. Thanks for that at least, jaimev.
posted by mediareport at 11:52 PM on October 11, 2006


Well I guess they had better blow it up, then. That will show us.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:55 PM on October 11, 2006


xmutex writes "I'm pretty god damned tired of Islam religion right about now."

There ya go.

That said, I smell bullshit.
posted by brundlefly at 12:01 AM on October 12, 2006


Remember the source. MEMRI was founded by 3 Israeli intelligence agents, 1 Isreali army guy, 1 academic and a stand up comic. One must generally assume that it is "creatively" translated at best, complete disinformation at worst. And they always show Israeli enemies in a bad light.
posted by dopeypanda at 12:47 AM on October 12, 2006


brundlefly, technically a valid correction in some cases, but personally Islam bothers me more at the moment than any other religion, fundamentalist Christianity included, on an intellectual level. I don't live in the US, though, so my distance to the ultra-right wing fundies there may be a partial cause. Still, I'm not at all "tired" or worried about Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and a host of other religions. Islam, I think, deservers separate consideration under the circumstances.

This previously MeFi-featured (I seem to recall) YouTube clip of an ex-muslim woman utterly smashing her former religion is a good indication of why I feel what I feel. Somehow, religious violence in modern times is almost exclusive to Islam. "Scholarly" Islam might not condone it, but something stinks in the very foundations nonetheless. You don't see a lot of Jews driving dynamite-filled trucks into mosques.

What you DO see is threats of violence or death for ridiculously small or utterly nonexistent "offences" against Islam/Muhammed. That even valid criticism is met with such responses is not only utterly unforgivable, but solidly keeps Islam at the top of my list of things I wished didn't exist, as well as a specific target of loathing beyond just the average "all religions are irrational" sentiments.
posted by lifeless at 1:10 AM on October 12, 2006


The sad thing is, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the story were true.
posted by Optamystic at 1:11 AM on October 12, 2006


iSlam.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:29 AM on October 12, 2006 [3 favorites]


I understand that, lifeless. Indeed, nowadays, religious violence is almost exclusive to Islam. Every religion has been fucked in the head that way. Death, burnings, Inquisitions, witch trials, suspension of habeus corpus. That sort of thing. Islam may be the most publicly nuttty right now, and it may be useful to condemn it in the short term, but religion is violent by its nature.

Period.

A century from now, Christians may be bombing nightclubs to protest the influx of Scientologists.
posted by brundlefly at 1:49 AM on October 12, 2006


And now I have my NaNoWriMo plot.
posted by brundlefly at 1:53 AM on October 12, 2006


lack of transparency

Nice one.
posted by Joeforking at 2:27 AM on October 12, 2006


Mac users can also be morons
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:59 AM on October 12, 2006


I'd wait for real protests, or at least a small prop plane to fly into it, before I believed this. That having been said, I think the Muslims are jockeying for the "touchiest group of people" position. PETA may feel threatened.

Islam is about six centuries younger than Christianity. What was Christianity doing six centuries ago? Being a royal pain in the butt. If they had planes, they would have been flown into something. I suspect that, if we could look ahead six centuries, we'd see Islam having about the same attitude as Christianity now: a lot of petitioning the school board and annoying blue laws. Trying to get Fahrenheit 451 banned.
posted by adipocere at 5:05 AM on October 12, 2006


> Muslims are jockeying for the "touchiest group of people" position. PETA may feel threatened.

That statement just serves to highlight your lack of world knowledge.
posted by catchmurray at 5:23 AM on October 12, 2006


That statement just serves to highlight your lack of world knowledge. Your quite right catchmurray, for it is my group that is touchiest.
posted by econous at 5:32 AM on October 12, 2006


Add an apostrophe, if you dare!
posted by econous at 5:33 AM on October 12, 2006


I don't hear the Borg complaining.

And the second comment on the Culture Blog post says it looks like a NeXT cube, which is much more likely to be the inspiration for the design than a desire to insult Islam.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:56 AM on October 12, 2006


You know what's an affront to Islam?


posted by substrate at 5:58 AM on October 12, 2006


I am an insult to Islam.
posted by aramaic at 5:59 AM on October 12, 2006


Well, we can only hope the Kaaba doesn't have an elevator.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:01 AM on October 12, 2006


We are Islam. You will be converted. Blasphemy is futile.
posted by spaltavian at 6:15 AM on October 12, 2006


This, like the dust up about the Danish cartoons, is an effront to everyone's intelligence.

At the end of the day, how devout can anyone be that is so thin-skinned about his/her beliefs?
posted by psmealey at 6:17 AM on October 12, 2006


That having been said, I think the Muslims are jockeying for the "touchiest group of people" position.

You have to love this logic. Muslims around the world are currently the target of a systematic, global propaganda campaign designed to isolate them and brand them as fanatics and fascists. Each day some of the most powerful institutions in the world condition millions of people -- well, sheep, really, in human form -- to believe that Islam and Islamic countries are the Enemy. The campaign involves not only completely fabricated media stories by known propagandists (see Iran yellow star for Jews) but also the President of the United States deploying terms like "Islamofascism" and mainstream television shows (24) consistently displaying Muslim families as sleeper cells. The crusade to isolate and dehumanize Islam has proven so effective that the American populace stood by and cheered while their President invaded and annihilated an entire country -- killing hundreds of thousands of human being -- though the country's government posed no threat to America in any way, shape or form.

But really those fucking Mislims just too touchy.

Do you have any more profound statements on those bastard Muslims? Do you even know any?

xmutex writes "I'm pretty god damned tired of Islam religion stupidity right about now."

Religion certainly doesn't have a monopoly on human stupidity. Just re-read this thread.
posted by nixerman at 6:21 AM on October 12, 2006


Muslims around the world are currently the target of a systematic, global propaganda campaign designed to isolate them and brand them as fanatics and fascists.

To be fair, there's a large contingent of them who are making that branding pretty easy, and stuff like this dosen't help.
posted by jonmc at 6:25 AM on October 12, 2006


Bush blamed in 10... 9...

Clinton blamed by Bush in 5...4...3...
posted by briank at 6:32 AM on October 12, 2006


To be fair, there's a large contingent of them who are making that branding pretty easy, and stuff like this dosen't help.

Funny, I was going to say the same of both sides.
The extremes are much more interesting to look at / read about / generate fear from. Rational discourse is Bo-ring. Nuance? Yawn.

That said, wouldn't a pipe bomb take care of that apple cube pretty quickly?
posted by Busithoth at 6:33 AM on October 12, 2006


Both are open 24 hours a day, and serve as a "mecca" to their respective worshipers.
I figured this post was going to be about 7-11.
posted by owenkun at 6:33 AM on October 12, 2006


stuff like this dosen't help.

"Stuff" like what? An unsourced story from a group with a known anti-Muslim bias?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:35 AM on October 12, 2006


Behead those who insult Islam.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:36 AM on October 12, 2006


"This, like the dust up about the Danish cartoons, is an effront* to everyone's intelligence."

*LOL
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:37 AM on October 12, 2006


Also, I'd like to see some proof that MEMRI's translations (at least the sourced ones) are known to be inaccurate. Everyone always insinuates it, but I've never seen any actual support, and I don't speak Arabic.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:39 AM on October 12, 2006


Islam is about six centuries younger than Christianity. What was Christianity doing six centuries ago?

This represents a teleological view of cultural development that is unsupported by anything other than faith.
posted by meehawl at 6:44 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Civilization is an affront to Islam.
posted by four panels at 6:44 AM on October 12, 2006


Guys, the islamic website is right: the 5th ave store is an insult to their Mecca! want proof? try to repeat "imac, imac, imac, imac" as fast as you can.
posted by keepoutofreach at 6:49 AM on October 12, 2006


Jimbob: "This website I'm not going to show you called on Jews everywhere to help stop the store opening! You can only guess what that means...right?"

Denying the loan applications?
* Raised Jewish, so it's okay*
posted by Plutor at 6:52 AM on October 12, 2006


How to steal the Kabbah stone.
posted by Captaintripps at 6:52 AM on October 12, 2006


stuff like this dosen't help

Yeah, I'm curious about what that means, too. Doesn't look like you're paying attention here, jonmc.
posted by mediareport at 6:56 AM on October 12, 2006


Do you have any more profound statements on those bastard Muslims? Do you even know any?

I'm going to shamelessly trot out the "some of my best friends are...." chestnut, but yeah, I do.

Look, I don't disagree entirely with your diatribe. I definitely think most muslims do feel beseiged, and justifiably so these days. But my response to this and the Danish cartoon thing is exactly the same as my reactions to any kind of moronic religious fetishism/thinly veiled idolatry that seems to be so common lately. It's just about, to paraphrase Matt Johnson, forgetting the message and worshipping the creeds.

Thanks, Crash. Intelligence equates to sloppy spelling mistakes. Glad you found it humorous.
posted by psmealey at 6:57 AM on October 12, 2006


argh... "NOT going to shamelessly trot out..."

I give up. Is it Friday yet?
posted by psmealey at 6:58 AM on October 12, 2006


Memri has a reputation for making shit up.
posted by empath at 7:00 AM on October 12, 2006




Behead those who insult Apple.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:17 AM on October 12, 2006


I'd like to see some proof that MEMRI's translations (at least the sourced ones) are known to be inaccurate.

The lack of sourcing is the main issue here, so can't help with that. It's pretty clear from this incident that MEMRI has problems; they're either being deliberately inflammatory or were lazy and are now scared to admit they fucked up.

If there's a third interpretation of this episode, I'd be interested in hearing it.
posted by mediareport at 7:17 AM on October 12, 2006


Matt, I am done. I am an athiest who quit being a muslim a few years ago. Much as I sympathize with the need for an invisible entity in order to sleep at night as part of evolutionary path that us humans have taken, I don't condone stereo-typing of this sort for any group of people. No specifics, no case. Even if you know one or one dozen sites calling for bloody murder in the name of a religion, it does not give you or anyone the right to classify every (or even some) members of that group as evil, bad or inhuman. Only the person typing or saying something can be held accountable to what they say or believe in, and this thread has shown the true colors of so many fellow mefites. It had been fun while it lasted, thanks for all the fish.
posted by trol at 7:23 AM on October 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heh, good link, chunking express. This definitely smells of BS.
posted by Stauf at 7:25 AM on October 12, 2006


Perhaps MEMRI ought to have given a sourcebut for some reason they did not. However, that they translatge what is said by thge Arab media inbto Engoish does not make them wrong or suspicious: there are too many arab-speaking experts around who could have caught them up had they been faking transdlations (my son, in passing, is whit guy studying arabic).

To say the are biased is like saying that a Frenchman who translates a speach by George Bush should be ignored because he is biased.

is it preferable top not have anything translated from the arabic because though it might be accurate it is from a source that seems anti-arabic? I have seen Al Qaeda tapes translated by an anti-Al Qaeda news channel.
posted by Postroad at 7:27 AM on October 12, 2006


Paging languagehat.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:31 AM on October 12, 2006


Postroad's account appears to have been hacked by a monkey.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:38 AM on October 12, 2006


Postroad's account appears to have been hacked by a monkey.

Hmmm... It may be a monkey, but I dunno: he seems to speak Engoish pretty well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:41 AM on October 12, 2006


Is Apple's Fifth Avenue Cube mocking the Kaaba?

No. Move along.
posted by mkultra at 8:02 AM on October 12, 2006


Postroad, I have no problem with MEMRI's mission of translating the most obnoxious speech from the Arab press that they can find. It's a service, given how few of us speak Arabic, and helps put extremists on notice that they can't say one thing to English-speaking audiences and another to Arabic-speaking audiences. But if you don't see a problem with the way MEMRI is handling this current story, and the hit it's taken to its credibility by withholding the, you know, evidence that it happened, then there's nothing more to say. Either a) MEMRI was fooled into sloppily posting a crap rumor and is now claiming to have really seen the web site in question as a way to cover its ass, or b) MEMRI is deliberately spreading a lie as part of a "Ha! This'll work to get folks angry at Islam!" campaign.

Either one of those is bullshit, and there's no minimizing the stink.
posted by mediareport at 8:02 AM on October 12, 2006


I don't care if the Muslims got all up in arms about this or not... what I find hilarious is that they got all up in arms about the Buddy Christ
posted by antifuse at 8:11 AM on October 12, 2006


Come to think of it, it bothered me and a fellow Lutheran (a seminarian at the time) a little to see the cover of WIRED issue 5.06: An Apple logo surmounted by a crown of thorns. But mostly what was bugging us was that the theology seemed screwy: The original thorny crown was happening in the context of a deliberate and calculated act of self-sacrifice, whereas Apple seemed, at the time, to be shooting itself in the foot more through mere stupidity than any planned reconciliatory transcendence of others' failings.
posted by pax digita at 8:15 AM on October 12, 2006


"You don't see a lot of Jews driving dynamite-filled trucks into mosques."

No, but you do see a lot of Jews bulldozing old ladies' homes because of some juvenile delinquent grandsons throwing stones at soldiers. Jus' sayin'.
posted by davy at 8:23 AM on October 12, 2006


Another cube in Job's past:



He's been planning this insult for a while.
posted by craniac at 8:34 AM on October 12, 2006


Hey! Wow. Nobody blamed Bush OR Clinton.

PS. This post is a total hoax.
posted by tkchrist at 9:23 AM on October 12, 2006


Hey! Wow. Nobody blamed Bush OR Clinton.

You might blame Al Gore; he's on Apple's Board of Directors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 AM on October 12, 2006


"You don't see a lot of Jews driving dynamite-filled trucks into mosques."

No, but that's just because the FBI keeps catching them.
posted by delmoi at 10:04 AM on October 12, 2006


Sharif don't like it.

Mock the kaaba.

Mock the kaaba.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:26 AM on October 12, 2006 [4 favorites]


iSlam

fandango_matt wins (and I now bow in his direction several times a day).
posted by spock at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2006


The kaa'ba is NOT open 24 hours a day. Although it has door, nobody's opened it in a LONG time (and supposedly there's nothing inside, anyway). The Grand Mosque surrounding it is probably open 24/7, like many religious facilities.
posted by Rash at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2006


According to Wikipedia it's opened twice a year for a cleaning ritual.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:43 PM on October 12, 2006


Pretty sure most people in the Apple store haven't ritually shaved, either, but it sure can feel like a freakin' Haj in there, on a Saturday afternoon.
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:34 PM on October 12, 2006


mr_roboto said: There were Arab pirates.

Indeed. Among the many lessons that my grandmother taught me; making kibbeh, finding ripe figs, baking baklava...the one that was the most difficult to learn was getting the camels into the damn boat.
posted by dejah420 at 8:24 PM on October 12, 2006


So, what's with this Islam thing.? I hear the word a lot now days, and don't really know what it is.
posted by oxford blue at 8:52 PM on October 12, 2006


If you guys think the backlash to this is bad, you should see the thread on Fark about this story. (Pipes alert)
posted by greatgefilte at 8:54 PM on October 12, 2006


Of course this is an insult to Islam.

Just like that Flight 93 Memorial is a shrine to Islam.

Personally, I've adopt a policy of dismissing people with a chip on their shoulder so big that it's crushed their head and, by and large, it's worked pretty well for me.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:23 AM on October 13, 2006


Oh man, Michelle Malkin writes about the dumbest stuff.
posted by chunking express at 10:32 AM on October 13, 2006


« Older Hopefully he didn't commit anything to a journal   |   Local protests, hitchhiking, and collaborative... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments