The Null Device

Mac vs. PC redux

New market research has revealed that Mac users are snobs, upper-income-bracket elitist aspirational types who see themselves as better than the PC-using rabble, while, seen from the other side, PC users are cheapskates.

Meanwhile, a filmmaker has made a documentary about the intense loyalty Maccies feel to their brand, which bears out some of the findings:

Violet Blue, a popular blogger and sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, who also features in the film, says: "First of all, I've never knowingly slept with a Windows users ... that would never, ever happen."
Anyway, back to the Mac-users-are-snobs thing: the description of the difference between Mac users and PC users reminded me a lot of (Mac user) Momus' recent paraphrasing of the right-wing anti-intellectual argument against liberal cosmopolitan elites:
The intellectual is not one of us. We are ordinary folks, he is a member of an elite. We gravitate around right wing ideas, he's left-leaning. We're family people, he screws men, women and children. We farm, he stays in the city, with his intellectual elite, or on campus, corrupting the minds of our youth. We're religious, but the intellectual is an unbeliever. We run to fat, he stays thin. We're patriots, he's a cosmopolitan, equally at home with foreigners as with his own kind. He puts loyalty to ideas before loyalty to his people. We have the church, he has the liberal media.
I'm wondering whether Microsoft or Dell or whoever didn't miss a trick in the few years after 9/11 when Americans (and, to a lesser extent, other Westerners) fell into a right-wing populist groupthink, dissociating themselves from straw-man liberalism. Perhaps, had they run ads playing on the stereotypes of Mac users as potentially disloyal rootless cosmopolitanists, they could have converted some Mac sales into sales of PCs and copies of Windows. After all, when your country's under siege, you don't want to be seen to be distancing yourself from your compatriots, however symbolically.

There are 3 comments on "Mac vs. PC redux":

Posted by: Greg Sun Feb 24 12:01:33 2008

Without supporting data, I'd be inclined to reject Momus' hypothesis in favour of the venerable idea that workers dislike the middle and upper classes because they are exploited by them.

Posted by: acb Mon Feb 25 19:24:29 2008

But right-wing populists (look at any Murdoch tabloid for an example) make hay out of that, and can soon redirect the workers' resentment against their ideological enemies. Wherever fascists came to power, they did so by doing this, for example.

Posted by: Greg Fri Feb 29 23:48:08 2008

You're right "Marx's dangerous idea" has been misused. But that doesn't stop it being true. The world has to figure out a better way of dealing with dangerous ideas than ignoring them, denying them, or using them to justify wrong-doing.