Thursday, December 18, 2003


Apple Computer users should not gloat over any perceived superiority to Microsoft’s Windows operating system. For one thing, it’s low-class. For another, bragging about the lack of hacks and viruses hitting Mac OS computers is silly, because the free pass is mainly courtesy of the fact that Apple represents a minuscule portion of the overall computer market. Throwing a tantrum is no fun if no one notices.

But the aggressively anti-Macintosh attitudes of many Windows users is more distasteful, mainly because it’s simply ugly to see 95 percent of some group making fun of the remainder for no reason other than that they’re different.

Especially when you read such things as PC Magazine columnist Lance Ulanoff writing, notoriously, that “Overall, maybe OS X is better than Windows, but that's not the point.” (Windows partisans like to say Macintosh is no better, but Ulanoff’s piece neatly, if accidentally, sums up the circular reasoning that so complicates hating Mac users. Portraying them as a snobbish elite obliges some thought about how they can be snobs and elitists if Macintosh computers aren’t actually better. The list of things that rich snobs buy because they suck is short, to say the least.)

The distaste grows when it’s noted that the piece -- gracelessly titled “Eureka! Macs are not invulnerable” -- hinges on pointing out a security flaw that even Ulanoff agrees will probably never be exploited. So the message is that Windows users can be happy because there’s a Macintosh security flaw, even though it’s as though there isn’t.

Schadenfreude without actual misfortune to be gleeful about: weird.

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