By Harry McCracken | Monday, November 9, 2009 at 8:24 am
I long ago gave up on trying to cover every weird rejection of an application intended for Apple’s iPhone App Store, but this one merits quick mention. Tom Richmond, the excellent caricaturist whose work appears in MAD these days, has blogged about an app he co-created. It’s a guide to senators and members of congress that lets you look up any elected official by GPS or Zip code and get some basic information about him or her, including contact info. Useful, no?
Well, it also includes a depiction of each public servant as a bobblehead doll, using Richmond’s caricatures, and you can bobble their heads by nudging them with your finger. Pretty clever, and no more offensive than any other well-done example of political cartooning. But it apparently ran afoul of an App Store regulation that forbids apps which “Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.”
The rejection doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. Actually, we already knew that Apple doesn’t like apps that have fun at the expense of public figures: an app called Someecards with snarky, topical e-cards only got accepted after its creators edited out cards that Apple didn’t like like. The rejection of Richmond’s app, Bobble Rep, seems to suggest that even gentle humor of the sort that this nation has enjoyed for, oh, its entire existence is beyond the pale.
As TechCrunch’s MG Siegler reported, Google’s Android folks took note of Someecards’ woes, reached out, and invited the company behind it to create an uncensored Android edition. Maybe Bobble Rep will go Android, too. But does anyone out there want to argue that Apple shouldn’t take a deep breath and permit these apps onto the App Store? Isn’t political humor a positively American activity?
I mean, how is Bobble Rep different from the item below, which the iTunes Store cheerfully offers–except that it’s an iPhone app, not a Will Ferrell movie?