The Cult of Mac
(No Starch Press)
Wired News columnist and author Leander Kahney loves Macs, and he's not alone. There are an estimated 25 million Mac users worldwide and with the breathtaking global success of the iPod (there I've said it, iPod, iPod, iPod. 2004's most fetishized consumer electronic device) there are more people using Apple products now than at any time in the company's near 30 year history.
Mac design incorporates the sort of elan that enables the company to charge a premium for its products. It's not consumer gullibility. Aesthetically, and functionally, Apple's products are often without peer. With the iPod, Apple literally did re-invent the wheel. Any conversation comparing Apples to Oranges or Apples to any other hardware device, rapidly devolves into a list of 'ifs' lacking in the non-Apple product, the quality, technology and reliability left out and compromises built-in to meet a price point.
The Mac is the brush and canvas, the kiln and the clay of 21st Century artists and artisans.
For this Mac, Mac, Mac, Mac World, Leander Kahney offers the perfect, if sometimes unnerving passport. The Cult of Mac, an enduring and idiosyncratic history of, and love song to the all things Apple and sung in an enthusiastic chorus by the Mac community. The lyric reveals however, that love sometimes, is not enough. Denuding your bank account of every last dollar for the latest Mac toy is not enough. Nothing can ever be enough if it's not accompanied by a tattoo, a haircut, or dye job. One Mac devotee apologizes, tongue-in-cheek I hope, for not christening his first-born the iBaby.
In one of my divorce settlements, I got a Powerbook.
When one journalist had the temerity to suggest that Apple's focus on the education market may be flawed, he likened the response to that of a bludgeoning at the hands of a digital Taliban. It goes without saying that there are not equivalent Dell or Gateway owners' clubs like this. The passion isn't there.
Meanwhile, musician Barry Adamson, on page 5 suggests, "They shouldn't call it Mac. They should call it Crack!"
Shoehorning this much devotion between the covers cannot have been an easy task. The result is a great, colorful, easy read. It's exceptional, with tons of justificatin' pseudo-psychology, it's also irresistible like a train wreck, eliciting a wince-worthiness unknown since I last perused the Sterns' Encyclopedia of Bad Taste. Maybe that's my fear, discovering that I am more like these people than I'd ever like to admit. While I may not have a dead-Mac aquarium, I am writing this on a Mac and I use Macs all day, every day. And yet, surely, I couldn't be..? Sometimes Mac-Love is a secretly exquisite, guilty pleasure, like surreptitiously plundering the chocolates you'd bought for your wife's birthday. And sometimes apparently it's manifested in the need to furnish your apartment with empty Macintosh boxes.
Meanwhile over at RedLightRunner.com they're selling $300,000 or so of Mac collectibles per year. Small wonder then, the impunity with which Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak modestly suggests on the rear of the dust jacket that the Macintosh is, "More than a computer. It's a way of life...
The Cult of Mac is perfect for any Mac enthusiast, a good-looking conversation piece for sure. But in the midst of all of this Mac-Love, all the details, all the facts, all the unfounded rumors and conjecture, all the drug-fueled design claims decried. I'd like to point out, Carrie Bradshaw works on a PowerBook G3 not an iBook. Doesn't she? (page 74). There, there's my quibble. I have my TiVO controlled wirelessly by my Mac. I should know.
Now what was I saying again about those Mac geeks...