Mac Daddy Psychoanalyzes George Clinton, Apple Spiffs & other Cupertino Flaws
December 19th, 2000

The company says they're revolutionaries

J. Michael Straczynski, Rising Stars


[Editor's note: He's back! This week, Rodney (re)introduces us to "Mac Daddy," an imaginary friend and fellow Mac user who is always quick to set forth his culturally-biased opinion on things Macintosh. Mac Daddy, the undisputed prince of malaprop, frequented the iBrotha column when it was published at]

"Apple Computer reminds me of George Clinton," intones Mac Daddy, a Micro Center Mac salesman and occasional beer buddy.

Are you referring to George Clinton, the leader of that 1970s black R&B group "Funkadelic"?

"Yep. I 'member reading a story 'bout ole George. Some reporter asked him why he always made albums that're real good to listen to on the most part, but then you get to the end and find out he done included some godawful song on there. He said he always intentionally puts in a bad song to f*** things up. He says that he doesn't want to get famous and have whitebreads coming to his concerts, messin' up the crowd. So, he always puts in somethin' that's blasphemous or pornographic so that he is always guaranteed to offend somebody. I think Apple does that, too."

[Laughing and pulling up a chair] You've been drinking again, haven't you?

"Is Bill Clinton a horny bastard? Damn right, I've been drinkin'. Anyway, you oughta lissen to my theory before you judge me. Here's proof that Apple is just like George Clinton. Apple has been makin' that G4 tower for over a year now, and they still don't have a button for that CD-ROM drive."

Mac Daddy, what the hell are you talking about?

"You know what I mean. If you go and look at PCs, they have a button to open and close the CD-ROM. You put in the CD, push the button, and it closes. Push the button again, and the CD opens up. Now, Apple -- wit' they cheap ass -- won't even put a button on the G4. The Blue-and-White G3 didn't have one, and the G4 still don't have one. How can a bunch of geniuses forget something like a CD button? Jonathan Ive done got absent-minded, if you ask me."

So, that's your Grand Conspiracy? A missing CD-ROM button? You are such a simple creature! However... you do have a point, my needs-to-get-hooked-on-phonics friend. Come to think of it, it does consistently irk me that I have to push the CD/DVD-ROM tray in order to close it. But, are you saying that Apple intentionally takes the cheap way out, knowing that they're frustrating the customer?

"Hell, yeah. I mean, think about it: Apple put out that round mouse for two years straight -- and I never met one soul that liked it. Then, Apple put out that damned QuickTime 4 with that metal-lookin' face on it. What the hell is that? Then they took the power button off of the keyboard. Talk about back-assward. And don't get me started on OS Ex"

You mean OS Ten. But, like I said, you do have a point. You have several points, actually. But you can't tell me that Apple intentionally does things á la George Clinton, in order to keep their market share small.

"Bingo. If I had a cookie, I'd make you eat it."

That's lunacy. To do such a thing would border on being dysfunctional, wouldn't it?

"We are talking about Steve Jobs."

Touché. But what made you conjure up such a psychoanalytical theory? The ins and outs of Id, Ego, and Super Ego aren't your strong suits.

"Well, you know I have a Ph.D. in White People. And for the last few months I've been doing 'postdoctoral research' on the white folks at Apple Computer. They make good computers and all that, but..."

Each product has a fatal flaw in it. You know, you could be on to something! AppleWorks 6 was pretty crappy when it first shipped, in spite of a good-looking GUI. OS 9 was good, but it crashed all over the place. The PowerBook 5300 supposedly had some flame issues...oh my God!

"Now, it's my turn t' ask you: what?"

I just thought of something. Apple has just started giving sales people "spiffs" for selling Apple products: for example, at some stores, Apple pays the sales person $25 each time they sell an iMac, iBook, G4 tower or PowerBook. Also, there is a $75 spiff for each Cube sold.


Well, I'm beginning to see a pattern here, in a George-Clintonesque way: Logic dictates that Apple continue paying spiffs as an ongoing program; after all, Apple can afford it, since the company enjoys the highest profit margin in the industry – that, and the fact that this spiff program has actually gotten sales people interested in selling Macs now. Apple is attracting sales people where it matters: with their wallets.

"But, knowin' Apple, they won't keep it up, 'cause it makes sense."

Amen, brother. But there's a part of me that likes to think that Apple will one day do something smart like continuing such commissions for sales people. They're sitting on five billion dollars for God's sake! What better way to gain mindshare with the retailers by taking a page out of Microsoft's book and throw a lot of money at retailers; this wouldn't hurt the stock price, either.

But, alas and alack, Apple will get everyone's hopes up for the next few weeks, and put sales people back in the disadvantageous position of trying to compete with the PC sales people who are selling $500 beige boxes by the truckload. What a logical theory.

"I bet you didn't think I had it in me."

You know you're full of surprises. But, I preferred it better when you spoke a mouthful of slang and listened to rap music most of the time.

"Oh, don't get me wrong. I still 'keep it real.' It's just that I like to get deep every now and then, too. And I've been doing it more lately, since it often feels like the people at Apple love doing things that don't seem to involve thinkin'. Since I done came up with such a good idea, you oughta put that in one of those little columns you always writin'."

I may just do that, Mac Daddy. You never know; I may just do that.

Your comments are welcomed.