Mac and PC, Us and Them

I’ve been wrestling with an XP re-install on the auditorium PC for a couple of days now (it’s my fault–I can’t find the original CD), and found myself harkening again to the siren call of those who live in Mac-world:  “Come join us!  Macs never have problems!  Be hip and cool and superior like us!”  There is a fanatic cadre of Mac-users in the current crop of college students at _______ who rarely miss an opportunity to extol to me the virtues of Macs and insist that we ditch all our PC boxes this year and buy Mac.  After these encounters I find myself often feeling strangely outside, inferior, and yes, ticked off.

So, to tickle my obviously insatiable need for acceptance, I googled “why buy a mac” this morning and found “Why I Will Probably Never Buy Another Mac” by recovering Mac-addict Peter Alcibiades.  Techies will enjoy it, but the gist is that there’s no inherent technological advantage to buying a Mac, and a host of financial disadvantages.

And then he talks about Mac’s marketing strategy and the behavior of the faithful Mac disciples/fanatics:

…the alienating tone of the Apple marketing materials and their use by the fanatics is a deliberate choice on the part of the company. Apple knows it is alienating people who are not members of the cult, and accepts, perhaps even welcomes it. Their aim is to foster a sense of being a persecuted superior minority among their users. They are happy for the faithful to proselytize in a manner calculated to offend, because the point of the proselytizing is not to gain converts, but to retain those you already have, by making them suffer abuse for their beliefs. Cognitive Dissonance will do the rest.

Ouch.  And I almost fell for it.  “Can I be a part of your persecuted superior minority?  Please?”

It’s the same “let’s refine the ‘us’ category and broaden the ‘them’ category so that we can feel better about ouselves” strategy that drives me crazy when I see it running rampant in the church, but I forgot how appealing it is.  I even toyed with the idea of adopting the strategy to marginalize fundamentalists in this post, not seeing that by doing so I would be perpetuating the very thing I wanted to defeat.

I have to be very careful in my own life when I sell ideas to friends and doubters.  Marginalizing people who like organ music in church (or the idea of organ music in church) will not only make people who like guitar music in church feel justified in their preference, but will ultimately not change anyone’s mind or heart. 

Mocking someone else’s position is a sure-fire way to fail to convert them.  It is a good way to keep the faithful in the boat, but it also prevents others from coming on board.

Along the same line of thought is Tom Peters’ post Love Thine “Enemy!”  It’s Good Business!

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1 Response to “Mac and PC, Us and Them”


  1. 1 Mattchews March 1, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Updates! Updates! We want em! Updates! Enjoyed hanging with youa bit last night. We gotta do that for a longer period soon. Now update!


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