The Macalope Daily: Stockholm syndrome by proxy

Another day, another accusation that Apple fans are Stockholm-syndrome suffers.

This edition comes from developer Roee Adler who believes “The greatest trick Apple ever pulled was making you think it’s YOUR fault.”

As we (Soluto) move into the Mac world, it became clear to me that I, a proud PC guy, have to become a Mac user for a while in order to be able to get inside the heads of Mac users. So at the risk of letting my soul get sucked into the fanboi dark side…

Sounds like you’re really entering this with an open mind.

…I bought the cheapest MacBook Pro and started working with it as my main machine.

Despite the very real risk of contracting cooties?

There are things I like and there are things I don’t, but the purpose of this post is not to provide a pros/cons chart. It’s to tell a short tale that goes much deeper.

By which Adler means an anecdote wrapped up as a broad statement about an entire platform and its user base.

You see, a little while after I started using my new MacBook Pro (as in a few hours after I unboxed it and started using it), its fan started working. And it was loud.

The Macalope would like to ask more questions about what’s going on with Adler’s machine, but apparently trying to figure out what might be causing the problem is just another sign of how deeply the horny one is steeped in the culture of blaming the user.

[eye roll]

Personally, the only time the Macalope ever hears the fan on his MacBook is when Flash is running or he’s playing a game. Sorry. Sorry. There he goes again, trying to find so-called “causes” for problems instead of assuming the MacBook is just a piece of crap.

What’s so amazing about this story is that when people are confronted with a problem in an Apple product, in most cases they assume it’s the user’s fault.

In the Macalope’s experience, people who provide technical support on any platform usually assume it’s the user’s fault, because it usually is the user’s fault. It’s possible that users of Apple products are more biased to this thinking because Apple’s products tend to work better.

I hear many people criticizing Android’s responsiveness etc, but no one criticizing iPhone 3GS’s horrible sluggishness since iOS 4.0. And it is horrible.

Well, speaking personally, the Macalope doesn’t talk about it because he doesn’t use an iPhone 3GS anymore. But to check out Adler’s assertion, he dragged out an old one and tooled around in it for a half hour and, frankly, it seemed fine. That doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t exhibit what Adler’s seeing if used more frequently but it’s also just possible Adler’s problem is configuration-based or that he got a lemon.

But it’s so unpopular to talk about it, that people who encounter a negative experience with an Apple product just suffer in silence, often assuming it’s their own fault (“I must be running too many apps”, or maybe “I’m holding it wrong“).

It’s possible that happens, but the Macalope is not suffering in silence. Because despite having the same devices, he doesn’t have either of the problems you have. Even with the storied iPhone 4 antenna issue—and as the Macalope said at the time, Steve Jobs should not have responded that way—the Macalope could forcibly attenuate the signal if he tried, but he simply didn’t hold the device that way. It wasn’t an issue for him.

Is he supposed to be sorry about that or something? The Macalope’s not sure what reaction—other than table-thumping outrage—Adler is willing to accept and not simply say proves his point. Is there a line of Hallmark cards for this?

There are apparently two sides to this coin. There’s the “I don’t have that problem so you must be using it wrong” side and then there’s the “I have this problem so everyone must have this problem and just be suffering in silence” side.

The Macalope doesn’t consider himself on either side, though. People (and mythical beasts) complain about endemic problems with Apple devices all the time. It’s just really hard to complain about a problem you don’t actually have.

[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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