OFF THE BOARD: Mac for President

Those stupid Apple commercials are everywhere. If you haven’t seen the black and white Warhol-esque ads of people dancing in a faux-minimalist frenzy, the towers of cds exploding into pretentious, post-modern music mayhem or even the latest iPod glow-in-the-dark graffiti kick, you are missing out on one wild ride of counter-culture appropriation.

The Apple ads that have particularly caught my eye, however, are the “Hi, I’m a Mac” series. Oddly, this is not because John Hodgman, the PC, is the coolest man alive and makes me secretly convinced that if I bought a Mac I would not only be personally offending him, but also letting down The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, the entire liberal left and maybe John McCain.

I admit it; this Mac/PC business really has me perplexed. On the one hand, Mac users are perceived as a bunch of wimps who sit and eat bags of jellybeans while listening to Coldplay and working their “user-friendly” functions. But on the other hand, these computers are really, really shiny. So, with such a conundrum set before me, I must ask myself one question: Who has the best platform?

Everything changed after Y2K. Now, it appears that Macs are the only computer you can trust to protect you (and your children) from invading viruses in this topsy-turvy, out-of-control, globalized cyberworld we live in. I mean, really, the ads make it very clear that Mac stands for a strong American value system and that they “Think Differently” from their competitors (but c’mon, read the instruction manual, everyone knows that male cables can only-and should only-fit into female jacks).

Apple understands that people don’t want to see the inner-workings and nitty-gritty of their oh-so-complicated operating system. Mac users don’t get to see what goes on behind the screen, and for a good reason: Apple doesn’t want the system’s decisions to be transparent because they don’t want their users to screw everything up with their own stupidity. Let’s be honest, people can’t really be trusted to make the right decisions, much less run their own lives and if people can’t afford to buy the basic Applecare extended warranty, well, that is not Mac’s problem.

The main PC-based software giants, however, have been less innovative as of late-and are pretty damn corrupt if you look at them closely-but at least you can access them on every inefficient, bloated level should you want to. While this allows you, the user, to potentially fuck a lot of shit up with them internally, it’s no big deal; they will just overcharge the hell out of you until the problems are fixed.

What it comes down to is this: Everyone loves smear campaigns and flash (Adobe Flash!) more than a substantial agenda-which is where Apple is succeeding in its campaign and Microsoft is failing miserably. Yes, Mac may be a benevolent advertising dictatorship blitzing the American media left, right and centre, but at the end of the day, being able to buy both a lifestyle and a computer at the same time is pretty damn irresistible. Plus, everyone knows that the PC disks are too flip-floppy, anyway. n

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