With the release of the iPhone mere days away, anticipation is building to a near-religious fervor. If only that were a metaphor. All over the internet, the newest Cupertino, California, creation is being referred to as the "Jesus phone." And several media outlets reluctantly have gotten on board to spread the good word.
CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau chief tries to put himself above the fray by writing, "Bloggers have dubbed it the 'Jesus phone.' " Reuters attributes the term to "fans" of the product. Mobile Magazine is even more vague, stating, "We are still ten full days away from the official launch of the Jesus phone (as some have called it)." The Sunday Times of London blames the entire US: "In America, they are calling it the Jesus phone."
But who is really responsible for bringing us the world's first phone/mp3 player/PDA/camera/savior? While documenting the origin of an internet phenomenon is usually about as easy as finding a cynic at a Macworld Conference, there seems to be a general consensus on this one. It was the Pope himself! Well, kind of. On Christmas morning 2006, Pope Benedict XVI asked, "Is a Saviour needed by a humanity which has invented interactive communication, which navigates in the virtual ocean of the Internet and, thanks to the most advanced modern communications technologies, has now made the Earth, our great common home, a global village?" Tech blogger Brian Lam of Gizmodo astutely picked up on His Holiness's cue, and christened the soon-to-be-announced Apple product as the Jesus phone.
Now Gizmodo is calling for the death of its own creation, or at least a phased withdrawal. After the appearance of the term on CNBC, Lam wrote, "the Jesus Phone reference MUST DIE....after another week or two." Gelf seconds the call for the elimination of the blasphemous phrase. For we already know that there is only one true Jesus phone.