The Macalope: Catechism failure


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Hold up! Did the Macalope miss something a couple of weeks ago?

Ah, yes, here it is, nestled in his Safari tabs like a two-week old hunk of mackerel that fell between the refrigerator and the counter.

“Apple CEO Tim Cook asks parishioners to have a little faith in investments” (tip o’ the antlers to jim seth).

Who’s ready for some old-time “Apple is a religion”?! The Guardian’s Heidi Moore, that’s who!

And almost nobody else.

Tim Cook is not just any CEO. He is the CEO of Apple.

We’re just two short sentences into this piece and so far so good!

That’s not an administrative job; it’s a Messianic one.

[brake squeal] [sound of guardrail breaking] [engine explosion] [automobile that is the metaphor for our agreement with Moore plunges into a 1000-foot chasm of our disbelief at the use of the tiredest Apple trope in existence]

Cook runs a minor religion.

No. He does not. He runs a major corporation.

The stupid thing is, she’s not even talking about “the Apple faithful” in this piece, because part of her thesis is that Apple has lost its flawless image with users. She’s applying last year’s lazy metaphor to this year’s reality, completely ignoring the whole original point of the lazy metaphor: that Apple’s customers will buy anything because they’re brainwashed cult members.

So when Apple’s stock price falls sharply, losing one-third of its value in only six months to plop down to $475, and a major activist investor like David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital takes aim at Apple, and a venerable journalist like Bethany McLean nails 95 theses to the wall declaring Apple worth only a paltry $200 – well, then, it becomes clear that it is time for Cook to go minister among his flock.

Martin Luther metaphor? Check. Christ metaphor? Check.

Whoa, whoa, pace yourself, Heidi. You’re only 116 words into a 2000+ word article. At this rate, you’re going to run out of religious clichés in a couple more paragraphs.

At the Goldman conference, Cook really settled into his priest-like role …

Look, you may not be getting it because she’s beating around the bush so much. She’s saying Apple is a religion.

He talked about Apple’s superior user experience the way that a prince of the church might lyricize about the rituals of masses …

Or a guy might talk to people at a conference.

Here’s her translation of Cook’s contention that Apple makes better products by focusing on user experience rather than technical specs:

Translation: technical knowledge is nothing like faith.

Good one. Way to willfully decide not to analyze his point.

It goes on like this. For 2000 words.

“Orthodox relics,” “the Catholic church,” “evangelize,” “votives,” “better angels,” “Protestantism,” “scripture,” “hermeneutics,” “revelers,” “salvation,” “faith,” “anointed,” “benedictions,” “hairshirts,” “The Bible,” “blessed,” “false idols,” blah, blah, blah.

Yet, in one spot she misses a total softball.

Apple Maps was a notable fiasco, in which the executive in charge, Scott Forstall, was eventually ousted for refusing to apologize.

“Ousted”? Oh, Heidi.

Excommunicated” was the word you were looking for.

It would be tempting to theorize that there is a “cult” of people who treat Apple as a religion, blindly applying hackneyed metaphors over and over as if they were some dirge or chant.

But it’s not a religion. Unless intellectual laziness is a religious doctrine.

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