It dawned on me about five minutes ago that the whole Mac versus PC thing is a lot like the UK versus US thing. At first, this might seem like an unlikely parallel
to draw between these two, totally unrelated concepts. But nevertheless, there is a parallel to be drawn, and I have my HB pencil at the ready.
I’m thinking as I’m writing, so this is likely going to be one of those “streams of consciousness” things.
The vastly different “Boss” characters from the Office, UK and US versions
First up, the British believe that, since they bloody well invented the English Language then the rest of the world – the Yanks especially – can sod off with their bastardised, “can’t spell to save your wife,” approach to the beloved tongue. They believe that this connection with the genesis of modern English gives them the birthright to lord it over the rest of the English speaking world.
Same too with Apple users. The WYSIWYG GUI concept is in their blood and in their bones. Apple users from the Lisa onwards have understood what it means to use a system that is solidly designed from the ground up, with a no compromise, unified approach to quality and integration rather than the IBM “all-comers” approach to “integration”.
But that raises the first problem with the whole argument. Apple no more invented the GUI than the English invented English. English is itself derived from many languages such as Latin, Greek, Germanic and Scandinavian tongues. And it’s unspoken, yet common knowledge, that the GUI was invented by XEROX, not Apple.
And they both know it, which is why they suffer from a strange, Superior Minority Complex.
The British feel it. This particular expatriate feels it in Japan, where every grammar read, all vocabulary used and every accent heard is American. What’s the point in being superior and knowing it, if you can’t hold your own against the unwashed masses for heaven’s sake? Why doesn’t the world speak proper, correct English, like wot I does?
The Apple Users feel it, too, surrounded as they are at work by countless Windows boxes, in the supermarket by Windows magazines and online with a plethora of Windows only networks / policies / websites / games / services and decent porn… despite “knowing” that their systems are superior in practically every way except market penetration.
And it’s this strangely paradoxical inferiority complex which gives rise to this next undesirable trait, the nasty smugness that comes of being “Born of Britannia” or having a predilection for the “Once Bitten Fruit”.
It manifests itself in many ways, the sarcastic dig at burger culture, the crow-barring of Bushisms into sentences, a sly remark about “Aluminum” or the self-consciously loud bark of sardonic laughter and condescending shake of the head when even a close colleague or friend proclaims their computer caught a virus and they’ve lost a week’s work and missed a critical deadline.
Yes, the very smugness of Brits and Mac “Fanbois” permeates the very ether around them. As an English Mac user, I find myself doing it on occasion, despite my best efforts. Cutting gems such as “See, I told you, If you’d got a Mac you’d have been safer, surfing without a virus checker,” or “Just get a Mac for heaven’s sake,” or “Don’t you guys know how to spell?” or “if Bush is a baboon, then the voters are monkeys,” and so on and so forth.
Worst of all though, these traits come at a time when most British people are abusing their own language in ways unthinkable a couple of centuries before and like their American brethren,similarly elected a bloke who turned out to have a predisposition toward indiscriminate bombing of foreign civilians as part of a misguided “War on Terror”, as their premiere… Even if he could pronounce “nuclear” properly and manage to put his ideas across coherently by stringing more than two words together at any given time without “misspeaking”.
Oops… Sorry… I’m at it again.
War On Terror… Putting the WOT into WTF?
I’ve seen some comments on the internet about donating to charities involved with the New Orleans recovery operations. The amount of negative comments such as
“Well, I’m not going to donate! America has enough money.”
was quite overwhelming.
I initially had trouble believing that the richest nation in the world couldn’t feed its own people.
So an irony tinged feeling of, “the cheek of it!” was a natural consequence.
But it’s these same, cynical people and me included who will argue ’till blue in the face about money, saying things like “since when has wealth ever been evenly distributed?”
It’s this, almost hypocritical standpoint that I felt bad about today after reading some comments on BBC’s web site, in which us Brits show our boundless generosity by saying things like: “Oh, so now they need our help?”
It’s sometimes difficult to separate the regime of American international politics from the plight of the common man. As such, when I first thought of America suffering I immediately had an image of Bush and his lackeys covered in mud and lacerations and downed choppers on fire. At such times I got a guilty, elated feeling of “you deserved it” or “why should I donate money”. Of course, this is not the case. It’s mainly the poor second class citizens who have been forced to live in conditions little better than those of the countries that America has tried to ‘fix’ who are suffering.
No doubt, Corporate America will “survive” this tragedy with a raft of new rebuilding contracts. However, without our donations and support, charities such as the Red Cross will be hard pressed to plug the gaps left by a string of failed policies, let alone the gaps made in the river defences by one of the most powerful storms to hit America in a century.
So, Bush has got his way in Senate by a “clear” as he put it majority of 51:49! And now he’s going to have his way with Alaska! 24 years of heated campaigning has come to naught!
How can a simple majority of two in a single vote after twenty years of opposition cause an irrevokable policy change and a national mandate for environmental damage?
Drilling for oil in Alaska may give America even more oil in the short term, but how can they justify the permanent damage they are going to cause to one of the last remaining wild habitats on Earth?
And how can America stand as one of the “great protectors” if they can’t even protect their own country from being raped by their own people?