The Insufferable Smugness of Mac Users

I’ve always thought the worst thing about Apple Macs is the people that use them. Unlike Acorn Archimedes users (remember them?), who were just to be pitied, Mac-heads compound their deliberate choice of the computing equivalent of a Betamax VCR with an air of insufferable smugness. They think lame cartoons like this are actually funny.

Charlie Brooker thinks the same way. He takes as his starting point Apple’s current ad campaign.

Mitchell and Webb. They are a logical choice in one sense (everyone likes them), but a curious choice in another, since they are best known for the television series Peep Show – probably the best sitcom of the past five years – in which Mitchell plays a repressed, neurotic underdog, and Webb plays a selfish, self-regarding poseur. So when you see the ads, you think, “PCs are a bit rubbish yet ultimately lovable, whereas Macs are just smug, preening tossers.” In other words, it is a devastatingly accurate campaign.

I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don’t use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.

Predictably the comment thread gets deluged with indignant responses from humourless Mac-heads.

(Link from The Ministry of Information)

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8 Responses to The Insufferable Smugness of Mac Users

  1. Serdar says:

    I quite like the new (OS X / Intel) Macs, and if I was just starting with PCs now I might have ended up using a Mac for all the things I do instead of a PC. But I got my start with the original 4.77 Mhz IBM PC all those years ago, and I’ve stayed with the DOS/Intel/Windows/NT architecture ever since. And now I’m on Vista, and I feel more at home with it than I did with XP in some ways.

    I’ve contemplated changing to a Mac, but I always run into the same barrier I do with a possible change to Linux: What would be the real advantage? There’s not much point in switching unless I’m gaining more than I lose, and switching to a Mac would mean dumping everything I know and starting over again without getting anything I don’t already have in some form.

    BTW, the cartoon is indeed stupid. There’s really only two SKUs of Vista that most people will ever care about — Home and Ultimate — and the total number of differences are small albeit significant.

    A computer’s a tool, not an altar you worship at. Ditto the OS that runs on it.

  2. Tim Hall says:

    What I can’t understand is how L Ron Jobs cultists find that sort of lame humour funny.

    I’m reminded of an Evangelical Christian ‘joke book’ I flicked through a few years back. The jokes there, usually at the expense of non-Fundie Christians, were equally lame and unfunny.

    I think there’s some kind of connection between the two.

  3. Tino says:

    I’m a Mac user, and I’m not smug. Nor am I personally aware of any other Mac users who are smug. I admit that there are probably some of whom I am unaware; but then the same thing is true of Windows users.

    All of that aside, the Apple ad campaigns leave me scratching my head — particularly the UK version.

    I think the casting must have been the responsibility of someone who was impressed by Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar, but who’s never seen Peep Show. Mitchell is a master at playing the dullard; and while I’m sure that Robert Webb is a wonderful, intelligent person in reality, when I see him on TV I see a delusional idiot. A funny idiot, but an idiot nonetheless. Now I’m worried that I’m going to come downstairs some morning to find that my computer has invited Super Hans to live on my sofa.

    The US version has the same casting problem — the PC guy is a lot more likeable than the Mac guy — but at least the actors in the US spots are relatively unknown.

    Even more baffling than Apple’s casting, though, is that The Guardian apparently sees one’s choice of operating systems as part of the class war — with the world’s richest man as the populist hero, and the vegetarian hippie from California as the bourgeois aesthete.

  4. Amadan says:

    I am getting a brand new Mac laptop. But I didn’t pay for it, and it will have Windows running on it.

  5. Serdar says:

    Amadan: I’d love to know about your experiences with same; I hear the new Intel Mactops are sweet.

  6. S Jobs says:

    The only reason Bill Gates gives money to charity is to stop him being lynched for dreaming up Windows!

  7. Amadan says:

    Well, I just got it, haven’t gotten the Parallels I ordered yet to install Windows, so right now I’ve just been playing with OSX. This is the first time I’ve used a Mac in over a decade.

    As a geek/developer, I find that the Mac makes it harder to get under the hood and tinker with the configuration, but I’m sure there are ways to do it, I’m just not familiar with the system. I heard OSX is built on FreeBSD, and I immediately wanted a terminal and a command line. Took a little browsing around to find the Terminal utility, but once I got there, it was just like being on a Unix system.

    The Mac makes EVERYTHING easy. Packages install and pop right onto the toolbar along the bottom. It’s pretty and user-friendly and I think for the computer-as-an-appliance, I can totally see where I’d suggest a Mac to someone who doesn’t know computers if they just want to websurf and blog and listen to music and stuff. Whether it will win my love on the developer end, I don’t know yet. I’ll let you know what kind of perfomance I get from running Windows in Parallels.

  8. Temple Stark says:

    Happily Mac since college and after my school days with BASIc and a home computer called the Tatung Einstein (it had a very rudimentary flight simulator game and i mostly commanded the cursor to take a left and GO TO xy coordinates and repeat to create symmetrical patterns.

    I’ve always been over-flipping-joyed that virus has always been a non-computer term for me. I’ve got very little interest in shaping a computer to my will, i just want to complete tasks.

    It’s good to see Amadan has an open mind. I do to, but the PCs I play on, dumbfound me when something goes wrong. There’s a lot to do and a lot to find. Obviously part of this difficulty is the little amount of time I spend on them in the first place.

    An element of the smugness, no doubt, comes from being there and there and there first in many respects.