31 years ago today, Apple won the Super Bowl

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The Big Brother-like leader in the Super Bowl commercial that introduced the world to the Apple Macintosh computer. Photo: Apple/YouTube
The Big Brother-like leader in the Super Bowl commercial that introduced the world to the Apple Macintosh computer. Photo: Apple/YouTube

During the third quarter, a referee blew the whistle to signal a timeout. What happened next, signaled the beginning of a sizemic shift in our lives.

But if you left the couch for beer and snacks at that moment of the 1984 Super Bowl, you may have missed the first run of a commercial that made more history than the game itself (sorry Oakland Raiders, 38-9 winners over the Washington Redskins).

On this date 31 years ago, Apple aired a commercial introducing the world to the first MacIntosh personal computer. It was the feature of Today in Media History on the Poynter Institute website.

The now legendary ad is known as 1984 and was directed by Ridley Scott, who still was emersed in the dystopic darkness of his Blade Runner aesthetic.

The commercial shows a female runner with a sledge hammer sprinting towards a large screen showing the giant face of a Big Brother-like figure hypnotizing the masses about the unity of thought. She is being chased by armed men but she achieves her objective, hurling the hammer at the screen and, thus, freeing us all to seek out our own ideas through personal computing.

Steve Jobs didn’t want IBM, the computing industry leader at the time, to achieve the kind of dominance George Orwell wrote of in his seminal Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is referenced in the final line of the commercial with “And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like Nineteen Eight-Four.”

The commercial won several awards and is considered in watershed terms by advertising wonks.

Thirty-one years later, we are free to be ruled by the devices of our choosing.