Fanboys Are Stupid, But You Are Not

Phew! A warm welcome to my regular readers, now that I’ve had the misfortune of being visited by the worst of the rest of the web’s audience. I should have known that writing anything even mildly critical of Apple, or anything that appeared to be a Mac-vs.-Windows post would have brought the idiocy, but even my jaded expectations couldn’t anticipate how stupid things got after I mentioned that I didn’t like smugness, as typified by an icon.

Some highlights from the rest of the web, in response to the post:

  • A nice How-To from Engadget, for people who want to switch out that icon on their Macs running OS X 10.5. Ryan Block also sent me a really nice email about my post, which was not only flattering but made me realize he probably knows exactly what it’s like to be in front of a fanboy shitstorm and can see one coming a mile away.
  • An amusing take from Fake Steve Jobs, which I particularly appreciated because Dan Lyons was being a mensch after I vented about his dissing of blogs when he was first outed. And I wouldn’t want to be perceived as a negative person; Negative people upset me. Of course, his comments probably set the record for the race to the bottom — this guy called me “Anal” in the very first comment, which usually takes at least four or five comments. I’d have thought this guy was in my junior high school, given how quickly he went to that tired-ass taunt, but since he’s almost fifty years old, according to his profile, he probably did not. (Honorable mention to this kid from Brooklyn, who figured I must work in a call center, because I’m Indian. GET IT?!)
  • Significantly more satisfying is Chris Owens’ response, which includes his own custom icon that does exactly what I’d thought OS X should do — use a variation of the Boot Camp logo to represent Windows. Consistent, still slightly deprecating (pulls all the color out of the Windows logo, and rotates it so there’s a cleverly dismissive negative-space “X”, but doesn’t actually go for the Calvin-pees-on-your-logo gag) but overall very sensible.
  • A couple of actual Windows pundits weighed in, Paul Thurrott and Ed Bott. I said in my post, “I’m just pretty consistent in my assessments of technology”, but what I should have said is that I try to do that. Part of the reason is because being a Windows fanboy is as awkward and ugly as being a Mac fanboy is sneering and arrogant. Yuck.
  • And then in my own comments, the world’s most compelling argument for getting rid of anonymity on the web. There’s a couple of dozen “get a life” comments, paired with an equal number of appeals asking me to get a sense of humor. (Hey, I’m the goatse guy! Mr.Lolcat! Show some love!) There are the expected number of people who didn’t read the post, accusing me of either being a Mac or Windows partisan (I use both.). From there to Dennis adding a comment that says, in its entirety, “dick“, followed by guys masquerading as Steve Jobs (predictable), Steve Ballmer (unsurprising), and Osama Bin Laden (what the fuck?), things get increasingly disturbing.

What I learned is that I have really thick skin — the personal attacks, even the couple of emails saying I should be the victim of violence for my feelings about icons, didn’t really bother me at all. What can I say, I guess I’m just used to stupidity on the Internet. If the traffic from an Engadget post isn’t enough to bring the stupid, then that post getting on Digg’s homepage will do the trick.

But what I did find disheartening is being reminded just how many people don’t even try to think about or rethink their preconceptions. They’d picked teams on this completely meaningless debate ages ago, and are still spending time fighting some war that will never be won. I can be kind of bothered by it, shrug my shoulders, get over it, and move on, and they’ll be off to the next thread or the next article looking to restate their same completely unconsidered opinion, in the same words, but maybe just a little bit more shrill. All this despite the fact that the general is not at war. I wish I had contact info for more of them — I want to understand them at an anthropological level. Was mom’s cooking tonight lousy? Did the Xbox get a red ring? Was that Facebook poke just there to mock you? What was it, son, that made you want to click from Digg to Engadget to my blog just to say say “BSOD??! I thought it was teh [sic] Vista spalsh [sic] screen.. But seriuously.. [sic] get a life. Compalining [sic] about this is so anally retentive, so MS.”

And these guys miss really obvious stuff. I’d assumed that, as soon as I put a photo of myself looking like a deadly serious member of a boy band on the top of my blog, people would know that I was kind of mocking my self-importance a little bit. Not so. There’s lots of comments about “you have a picture of yourself in a pink shirt trying to look all serious on your blog!” I find it comforting to think that at least you, my regular readers, know that I’m making fun of myself.

Now, who should I piss off next?