Tuesday, 27 November 2012

So perfect they brought out a slightly different one

I received one of Apple's regular email exhortations to buy their stuff as presents, as if I spend that much on people who aren't me. It had this as its subject header:

I'm not sure that's possible. I mean, there is of course the possibility for there to be more than one perfect thing in the world, but not two such similar things, surely. It's reasonable to say that a rhubarb & custard sweet is perfect, in that it's a perfect example of its type of thing (a sweet, or a boiled sweet). It's also reasonable to say that a Moleskine notebook is perfect, and these two things don't conflict - they're different types of things. But if you say that rhubarb and custard is the perfect boiled sweet, it's impossible to improved upon it. You couldn't add a bit of vanilla flavour and say 'now it's even better!', not if it was perfect to start with. You can't improve upon perfection.

Similarly, if one of the ipads is perfect, I don't think the other one can be. The small one may be perfect for you, and the big one perfect for me, but that makes both of them slightly imperfect in some way (the small one is not perfect for me, nor the big one for you).

Or can it be? In fact, people use perfect in a somewhat looser way than I've used it here. This is a review from TripAdvisor:

Clearly, this person thinks you can improve on perfection, and there are a gazillion more examples just the same. I still think both ipads can't be perfect though.

I'll have the larger one, if anyone's thinking of getting me one for Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. We Americans ordained and established our Constitution in order to form a more perfect union. Arguably, though, perfect there still had its older meaning 'complete', as in perfect aspect.