"I hate Macs" piece in Guardian

ho
howarth
Posts: 177
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:53 am

Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:37 pm Post

A piece by Charlie Brooker, "I hate Macs," appears in the Guardian today.

http://technology.guardian.co.uk/news/s ... 32,00.html

According to Wikipedia, Brooker's humor "tends to be savage and profane, with some surreal elements and a consistent satirical pessimism, stretching occasionally towards outright misanthropy."

His complaints about the Mac aren't technical (except for the one-button mouse), but social: Macs are sleek and arrogant, PCs are ramshackle and loveable. Because he's a TV critic, he attacks the "Get a Mac" ads for their distinctions between cool Mac and dull PC. In Britain, this joke apparently plays (to him, at least) as a matter of class warfare.

Brooker is a jerk (George Orwell he is not), but the reader comments to his story are hilarious. Thought you busy writers might enjoy a look.

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20902
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:14 pm Post

I have to say that I love Charlie Brooker's articles in the Guardian. He writes a misanthropic article called Screen Burn every week in which he slags off just about everybody on TV in a hyperboliçally hilarious way.

That said, this is not his best article, mainly because there is more bile than humour, although I think it is definitely tongue-in-cheek. And he does have a point about the adverts. I've raved about the sitcom Peepshow here several times, and he is spot on about the use of its stars for the British Mac vs PC adverts: although they are very funny, the character you tend to sympathise with in all their work is the character used to portray PC. The other character is always a pretentious idiot (albeit a very funny one). Not exactly the image Apple were going for, I'll bet. Not that the American ads were much better. I always found them cringeworthily patronising, the sort of thing that would make you buy a PC out of spite and haul it past the Apple store whilst flicking the V's at the black-clad Apple-logo-emblazoned Logan's Run-esque staff inside. Actually, that's unfair. I'm just talking about the Tottenham Court Road Apple Store staff here. I recently had cause to go to the store in Bluewater, which was a revelation - the staff were actually friendly, decent and polite. (Okay, so they managed to leave a screw in my iBook after they repaired it, thus causing the logic board that had worked perfectly for nearly three years to fry, but at least they were nice, you know?)

Anyway... Mac vs PC? Who really cares? Some prefer OS X, some prefer Windows, some prefer Linux. Apple is no more perfect than Microsoft at the end of the day; it's just a shame that anyone thinks the computer you use makes you somehow worthy of shouting at. It would be like me bellowing at some guy in the greasy spoon I frequent: "SCRAMBLED EGGS?!!! What sort of pretentious cretin are you? I LIKE MINE FRIED, you c***sucker!" Oops, too much Deadwood.
Last edited by KB on Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cr
cruxdestruct
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:45 pm
Contact:

Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:19 pm Post

It just became apparent that he's not bringing anything particularly new or interesting to the debate. He hates Macs because he's convinced that everyone who uses it is a pretentious, arrogant, shallow, self-serious asshole in a beret. People have been saying that for, what, 7 years now? It's never really been true, and it's certainly not interesting anymore -- any more than if I wrote a column for the Guardian about 'M$' and 'Micro$hit', or the like. The definition of a straw man.

Anyway, if that's what if the diehards need to do, as Apple gains in prominence and their design principles bear more fruit -- let 'em. They do love to see themselves as an oppressed minority, anyway (they have to spin 90% market share into being "the people", in opposition to some imagined elitist Mac aristocracy, but let 'em).

EDIT: ooh! I forgot 'Windoze'

User avatar
Sean Coffee
Posts: 509
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:10 pm

Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:48 pm Post

My Windows-using wife has (vociferously) pointed out the following:

The Mac vs. Windows debate is ridiculous. OF COURSE Apple makes better software than Microsoft. For many of the same reasons that almost everyone makes better software than Microsoft (the same reason that, if you ask this forum, Scrivener is embarrassingly superior to Word): MS is accommodating 90-some percent of the market -- millions and millions and millions of computer users, clicking away on machines made by dozens of different companies. When you're making anything on that scale, the concept of fine-tuning pretty much goes out the... y'know, Window. Complaining that Windows is not as meticulously crafted as OS X is like complaining that the bus you're riding to work doesn't handle as well as your as your BMW. Ya think?

So Apple makes better stuff. And MS makes much, much more money. And MS is not going to sacrifice that money to make a better product -- they are always going to make Windows only as good as it has to be. And Apple is never going to be the world's default OS (Apple fans: would you even want that?), and Steve Jobs is going to continue to annoy many of us by smugly (and falsely) competing against MS for the mass market, when all he really wants to do is* convert those stragglers who aren't forced to use MS.

There. Now we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.


*And, y'know, change the world. But that might just be my beret talking.

User avatar
Eiron
Posts: 452
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:01 pm

Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:03 pm Post

It's pretty much a pseudo-debate anyways. And the fact that they are still playing on people's idiotic habit of defining their identity by their stuff is a bit old fashioned and certainly not evidence of "think different(ly*)". In any case if you read Brooker's own comment, he feels his editors have removed his tongue from his cheek.

I've happily owned macs for 23 years - and looking at a PC seriously fucks up my pattern recognition engine. But as for taking any sense of identity at all from being a mac owner - puhleese. It's an appliance for chrissakes.

BTW The phrase "Logan's Run-esque staff" strikes me as bang on for here too (not to mention very funny). Every time I go in there I get the feeling our local Jenny Agutter is going to say "look he has creases in the corner of his eyes" before patronizingly asking if I'd tried plugging it in.

E

*note from pedantic cock**cker

User avatar
dixonge
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:50 pm
Platform: Win + iOS
Location: Ajijic, Mexico

Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:49 pm Post

I'm a brand-new Mac owner after umpteen years in Windows-land, and I've seen the Mac ads, and they didn't cause me to run out and buy one. Neither did they cause me to think of the PC actor as sympathetic vs. the Mac actor as pretentious. I guess I didn't have any difficulty seeing them as representative of the machines. But this makes 2-3 people I've run across that seemed to think the Mac guy came across as an ass or something. I don't get it. :roll: I just thought they were humorous and well-done ads. Oh well.

User avatar
alexwein
Posts: 1063
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:30 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Ashland, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:01 am Post

Eiron wrote:Ie happily owned macs for 23 years


OMG, has it been that long? I got my first Mac in 1985. It's now 2007. Holy crap, I'm old. :)
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

User avatar
Eiron
Posts: 452
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:01 pm

Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:24 am Post

Actually if I do the math it's more like 22 years and 4 months. Feel younger? Besides, if 50 is the new 30, I'm still in my twenties and on most days that feels about right.

E :)

User avatar
Jot
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:35 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS

Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:43 am Post

cruxdestruct wrote:He hates Macs because he's convinced that everyone who uses it is a pretentious, arrogant, shallow, self-serious asshole in a beret.
Hey, I look good in my beret. And it matches my sandals and socks.
J

sp
spinningdoc
Posts: 241
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:18 am

Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:32 am Post

Booker's doing what he does best - ranting wildly to get a reaction. A bit like Julie Burchill. He's very good at it, and I respect him even more for actually making some telly, not just moaning about something that's really quite hard to do. What really does piss me off though is that his show's pretty good too. Bastard.

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20902
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:26 pm Post

Amusingly, whenever he pans to somebody watching TV on a computer, it's always on a Mac. :) I wouldn't compare him to Julie Burchill, though - after all, he hasn't made a career out of divorcing his other half and then slagging said other half off (this goes for Tony Parsons AND Julie Burchill. Brrrr).

dixonge - not sure where you're from, but the comment was on the UK ads. they are the same as the US ones, but the actors they have used are from a well known British sitcom (excruciating like The Office but funnier), and so they bring with them these preconceptions that aren't there in the US versions.

Best,
Keith

User avatar
dixonge
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:50 pm
Platform: Win + iOS
Location: Ajijic, Mexico

Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:34 am Post

KB wrote:dixonge - not sure where you're from, but the comment was on the UK ads. they are the same as the US ones, but the actors they have used are from a well known British sitcom (excruciating like The Office but funnier), and so they bring with them these preconceptions that aren't there in the US versions.

Best,
Keith


Keith,

I'm from Texas (thank ya kindly) but I have seen ALL the Mac ads, including the Brit ads (at least the ones available online). I just can't get enough of them. But I am, of course, totally unfamiliar with the Brit actors in those ads. Basically if they aren't on the big screen or part of the Monty Python troupe we Yanks are rather ignorant. If it wasn't for public television we'd never see Brit TV.

Which brings up another point - in the past few weeks I seem to have noticed lots of Brits using Macs. Has Apple converted a greater percentage of Brits than Yanks? Or is it just my faulty perception?

User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 24424
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Ourense, Galiza
Contact:

Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:19 am Post

Might have something to do with where you live. Up here in Portland, it seems like every other person with a laptop is using some variety of Apple hardware. Perhaps even more than half.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

User avatar
alexwein
Posts: 1063
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:30 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Ashland, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:44 am Post

AmberV wrote:Might have something to do with where you live. Up here in Portland, it seems like every other person with a laptop is using some variety of Apple hardware. Perhaps even more than half.


Yeah, Portland is a Mac haven for sure. I'm always a bit surprised when someone pulls out a Dell (or other non-Mac) around here. But I noticed lots of Macs when I lived in New Hampshire as well and New York City before that. And on the Princeton campus, though there were quite a few non-Macs as well.

But never as prevelant as here in Portland. But I won't get off into another discussion about how great Portland is!

Thanks, Eiron, for making me feel better. Only 22 years and 4 months. Whew! :)

Alexandria
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20902
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:43 pm Post

There are a fair few Mac users in England (and in Europe in general). Generally, media types tend to use Macs quite a lot. On the popular BBC show Spooks, rather nicely, all of the spies in MI5 use Macs, too. :) (Even more nicely, the writer of the next series uses Scrivener. :) ) I don't think that's a recent thing, though. In fact, most schools in England used to use Macs but sadly have more recently gone over to PCs...