by Rodney O. Lain
Shhh! Shhhh! Don't Evangelize The Mac!
August 25th, 2000
|Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn't want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn't want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.
Eric Hughes, _A Cyperpunk's Manifesto_
In case you haven't heard, I just got a G4 Cube. With the 15-inch Studio Display.
I am typing this column with the new Apple keyboard; only for the next few days will I be pointing-and-clicking with the much-ballyhooed Optical Mouse (sorry, but there's no way I'm giving up the two-buttons and the scroll wheel on my Logitech TrackMan Marble Wheel. Uh-uh. No, Lord…).
This is only the fourth Macintosh I've owned that I purchased with my own funds. The first was a Power Mac 7200/120; the second was a "Wall Street II" PowerBook G3; the third one was a B/W G3 400. I've found "a good home" for both the 7200 and the B/W G3 (you'll die if you try to take my PowerBook, though).
Nevertheless, if the last few hours mean anything, I believe the PowerBook is about to start feelin' a l'il lonely…
Where the iMac is curved, the Cube is just a little bit sharper at the edges. Where the PowerMac is heavy, the Cube is a lightweight. Where the PowerBook is sexy, the Cube is downright pornographic, and I never noticed how loud the B/W G3 was, by comparison. In spite of the obvious drool-fest going on here, the Cube isn't what I want to talk to you about today.
What I want to talk about is the fact that, other than the two of you that read this column (thanks, Mom! Thanks, Wife!), I don't plan to tell any of my PC friends and coworkers that I got a new computer.
Oh, I'm not ashamed of owning a Mac. Far from it. I've just realized that there is actually a bad side to getting everyone to buy Macintosh.
I think all Mac users should follow suit. Now, don't get in a huff. Just read on, brother. Read on, sister.
I'm a Mac snob. Sue me.
Up to the last few weeks, I've wanted everyone to buy a Mac. I've been instrumental in getting new Macs into the homes of many strangers and a few relatives. Lately, though, I've begun to see a flaw in such guerilla tactics: what if we succeed and convince everyone to buy a Mac?
Job stress would become a thing of the pass, as employees no longer have to suffer the "Blue Screen of Death" on their NT work stations nor the "General Protection Faults" common to the other variants of Windows (Mac OS Type 1 errors notwithstanding). Corporations would save billions of dollars as they wise up and decrease the number of PC technicians who make their living performing Herculean Windows troubleshooting tasks such as installing Microsoft Office.
Instead, everyone would have a Mac, their desktops would be customized to their heart's content, and they would have games installed other than that incessant Solitaire. "Style," "computer," and "corporate America" would no longer be oxymoronic.
That's good, but I don't want it to happen…
To whom would I look down my nose?
America was founded on several principles, including:
- anyone can come to this country and rise as high as they can pull their bootstraps
- we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
- everyone must not only keep up with the Joneses, but also surpass them and make them hate your guts for doing so.
Point number three is the main reason why we should cut some slack in our efforts to evangelize the heathen. We want more people to have a Mac, but we don't want everyone to have one, if we listen to our innate desire to be better than the next guy.
Billions are unnecessarily spent in a vain effort to buy status. There's the status car, of course, but there's also the status watch, the status neighborhood, the status club membership, ad nauseum.
Admit it, there is a certain smug air exhaled when you tell someone that you own a Macintosh — more so now that Apple is not longer synonymous with "loser."
They wanna talk Megahertz? So what? Where's the style in that? How many people brag about how fast their Porsche or BMW can run? If anything, they brag about the fact that it *is* a Porsche or a "Beemer." And those really accustomed to style won't even mention that they have a Porsche. They will merely clothe themselves with a self-satisfied smile, knowing they have the best.
Mac users should get to that point. Leave the marketing to Apple. It's time we enjoyed the fruits of our years-long bunker mentality that began circa 1997.
Cubic- and egg-shaped computers. Who'd a thunk it?
Conclusion: What if everyone drove a BMW?
I hear that's the case in Germany and other European nations. The very thing that we scrimp, save and damage our credit ratings over, they yawn and ignore.
If the Mac becomes as common as Ford Tauruses (which it won't), where will be the allure of buying a Mac? I rant, true, but this very thought has me awake late tonight. So, Apple, don't market so hard. Let the computer nerds think that Megahertz matters.
There's more than enough of us out there who know better. We'll spread the word, in ways known only to the stylish and those who know a good thing when we see it.
Your comments are welcomed.
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Rodney O. Lain ( first used an Apple computer to learn BASIC in 1980-81. He used PCs from the late 1980s until 1995, where he was forced to teach a college writing course with the assistance of Windows 95 machines. After noticing that the all-Mac lab next door didn’t have five computers crashing every day, he bought his first Power Macintosh, back when educator’s discounts were true discounts. It’s been OS bliss ever since. Having worked as a college prof, a journalist, and a tech-support specialist, he currently is a manager at major shipping-and-logistics corporation. He currently lives in Minnesota with his wife, who has finally accepted the fact that her husband has a relationship with his PowerBook G3 that borders on the sexual.