The Macalope Daily: Inexplicable Apple rage syndrome


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The Macalope is not a licensed psychotherapist, but he does know a case of inexplicable Apple rage syndrome when he sees it.

And, boy, does he see it in Willie Osterweil’s “When Apple took over” (tip o’ the antlers to Rajesh). Salon has kindly republished this article from an “edgy” social commentary site. The Macalope has nothing against “edgy” commentary (obviously), but he does believe that, in order for it to be enjoyable, the edge should be sharp and not just a dull repackaging of an idiotic diatribe you can find in the online pages of Forbes, for God’s sake.

The horny one has done this so many times that he knows you guys are, in fact, “going to believe it,” but he is required by the terms of his contract with Macworld to perform certain “bits,” so please bear with him as he says yet again …

You guys aren’t going to believe this, but apparently Apple is (are you holding on to something securely bolted down?) …

… a religion.

No, no. It’s true. This time for sure. Totally. All the other times, admittedly, the authors were not able to make their case. This time, however, it comes from an “edgy” social commentary site, so …

You know.

They fill the sidewalks with tents and sleeping bags, transforming once pristine city blocks with their very presence, sharing thermoses of coffee and small hot meals.

Hippies? Hobos? No, it’s worse: Apple fans.

They don’t care about the evening chill, or the stares of passerby, or the police. And the police don’t care about them. Because on that bright morning when the Apple store opens, they’ll roll up their blankets, strike their tents, and go home with a shiny new iPhone 5, as happy as clams and just as stupid.

Ah, the gloves are off! Hang on, the Macalope will remove his blazer so he has full range of motion.

To liberals of the 90s, Bill Gates was the symbol of both wealth and malevolence incarnate.

Wait, liberals hated Bill Gates? The guy who donated all that money to fight AIDS in Africa? The guy whose college fund excludes Caucasian students? This is your supposed liberal’s bogeyman? Are you high?

So, we’re not even 100 words in yet and already we’ve reached “just making crap up” territory. Good pick, Salon!

But one man, one company, made a career (and cult) out of this “critique” of Bill Gates.


Steve Jobs did not make a career out of critiquing Bill Gates. He made a career out of reinventing technology markets. We’re supposed to believe that this all happened in the 1990s, while Jobs was mostly at NeXT? Not to mention that when he did come back to Apple he famously formed a partnership with Microsoft.

Did Salon’s editors and fact checkers all get laid off?

Jobs worship may well be the first truly 21st century cult of personality: its form much more discursive and posturingly individualistic than the uniform authoritarianism that marked the 20th century’s great idols (the last of whom, Kim Jong-Il, died two months after Jobs).

It seems the larger cult of Jobs’s personality is the rapt mass of pundits who are eager to explain Apple’s appeal, but too dull-witted to understand it. Like primitives inventing a god of lightning, casting Apple as a religion centered around Steve Jobs is the only way they can explain the universe, given their limited faculties.

An extension of the intense commodity fetishism Apple produced brilliantly as it marketed its bland but user-friendly aesthetic, Jobs was worshiped as the embodiment of design, creativity and innovation while Gates was reviled as the embodiment of monopoly, planned obsolesence [sic] and obscene wealth.

What a crock. Even Apple fans recognize that Gates was a brilliant businessman. And while Jobs was singularly uninterested in personal philanthropy, Gates has chosen to make it truly the best work of his life. This whole ridiculous premise seems like it was formed in the shower—and possibly written there, too—without a second’s pause to think of whether it was true or not.


Since Apple couldn’t fight on the grounds of cost, it would compete on ease-of-use and, more fundamentally, “lifestyle”…

No. Something that appears in irony quotes is not the fundamental appeal of Apple products. Because you can sell “lifestyle” all you want, but if your products are crap, people are going to know the difference. There’s a reason Apple has higher customer satisfaction ratings than, oh, everyone else in the technology business and even most of the people in the oldest business. If you’re too lazy to try to figure out what it might be, just stop writing about technology and find something easier to write about. Like maybe the latest Lindsay Lohan news. That seems more your speed.

But design, especially when it comes to the mass-produced consumer object, is really just the arty end of the marketing spectrum.

Said the person who has no idea what design is.

Apple is the cool boss to Microsoft’s authoritarian: there’s a beer cooler in the breakroom, and everyone calls him by his first name, but, unlike the corporate managers, he just can’t afford to provide you with health care or dental or a retirement plan.

Instead of wrapping up, Osterweil has just decided to finish by creating a fantasy hate scenario, a Mac-using small business where creative types slave away but don’t get any benefits.

If the Macalope wanted to play along with this stupid scenario, he’d suggest that maybe they’re working there because all the big Windows-using corporations laid everyone off because their management sucks so badly and ruined the economy. But, really, this scenario is too dumb and inexplicably rage-filled to play along with. Perhaps such a business exists, but it’s hardly where most people use Macs, let alone iPhones, iPads, or iPods.

Most Apple products are bought by individuals. Because, when able to make their own decisions, many people simply prefer them.

Sorry if that makes you mad.

Not really, though. Your inexplicable anger is kind of amusing.

[Editors’ Note: 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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