Thursday 25 November 2010

Snob story.

Okay, confession time. My name’s Lisa and I am a snob. I want to cut straight to the chase here and tell you that when I say I’m a snob, what I really mean is that I’m a Mac snob… but frankly, it would be misleading of me to neglect to mention that I am, in fact, a snob about loads of other things, too. Ridiculous things, mind you. Like punctuation and magazines and pens and sleep masks and The Beatles and tea-brand preferences. I mean, really – own brand over PG? Have a word, will you?

Today’s confession, though, is that I’m a snob when it comes to Macs. Heck, even my nickname is Mac (though for reasons more maiden-name than Apple) so chiefly, I suppose, I'm Mac the snob: the Mac snob. And not, I’m afraid, a snob of the cutesy, oh-you-and-your-ways, tea-brand kind… Nope – I have to admit that, when it comes to anything with the Steve Jobs seal of approval, I’m a prissy, superior, condescending, ner-ner-my-gadgets-are-better-than-yours horror; an evil version of myself that should never be seen, like the Incredible Hulk or Dr Hyde or Hannah Montana.

As far as I’m concerned, Mac snobbery is innate – you either is, or you isn’t. I’ve often tried to pinpoint why I am this way – maybe it’s my name… maybe it’s the Apple-logo Beatles connection… maybe it’s just the shinyness... – but actually, I prefer to think that you’re just born one way or another, like being gay or straight. But with added turnability. Right now I’m working on converting four or five Mac-PC-curious friends. Mostly by a steadfast refusal to send emails to them from anything other than my iPhone or iPad so they’re always forced to read that default signature.

For argument’s sake, however, if it were nurture rather than nature that caused my Mac snobbery, you could argue that its my mate Jonze (@quarkmonkey, for those of you on Twitter) who brought me up. As one of the first people I met at uni, he encouraged me onto the student mag: a hallowed room filled with free CDs, sweet wrappers, endless fizzy drinks… and a shiny wall of iMacs. So, if Mac-love weren’t, indeed, inherent in me, it’d be almost exclusively his fault. (While we’re at it, I suppose, it’s also Jonze’s fault that I got into journalism. In fact, fuck it: ALL OF THIS IS HIS FAULT.) See, Mac-heads always find each other. Like Trekkies or football fans or religious groups or Marmite lovers or tweeters. We always welcome an opportunity to meet someone else to be snobby with. Or spoddy with. Or both. (Snoddery, anyone?) Hence, I’m hoping that at least a few fellow Mac-snobs will have found me here. As for everyone else? Well... shame on you. (Seriously, though, isn’t it difficult to be a PC snob right now anyway? Haven’t the ‘I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea’ adverts made that physically impossible? Surely the only message anyone’s taking away from that campaign is ‘I’m a PC and I’m a highly irritating fucknuckle.’)

I turned P into a burgeoning Mac snob before we got married – my twisted version of a pre-nup. Having only ever worked on PCs, I had his card marked from the moment we met, giving him my evangelical Mac-sermon at every opportunity until he finally agreed with my beliefs. (Read: gave in to my incessant preaching.) And the beauty of that status quo is that now, whenever a new Apple product is released, I know I’ve brainwashed P enough for us to be able to move past the tiresome months of will-we-won’t-we procrastination and – to quote Brian Clough – decide that I was right.

This let’s-skip-past-the-disagreement-and-just-admit-we’re-going-to-get-it schtick is always my defence with Apple products. Hell, ‘we both know I’m getting it’ is practically the Mac lovers’ motto. (Apple: we all know it’s going to happen.) Which is why those conversations we all have around the release of a new product are little more than a ludicrous charade.
‘So, are you getting an iPad, then?’ I asked of Andrew, my Mac-loving colleague-in-crime, earlier this year.
‘Well… yeah. I mean, I’m probably going to wait until the second batch comes out and I might see if I can hang on until any bugs are ironed out and…’ 
Translation: ‘Of course I’m fucking getting it. And so should you.’

I’ve had numerous different versions of that conversation this week – since the news broke that The Beatles’ records would now be available on iTunes (I know, right? Apple on Apple? I may yet spontaneously combust) – in particular on Twitter where, it seemed, I was one of the few people excited about it.
‘Here’s a challenge,’ read one tweet. ‘Find me one person who thinks that the Beatles appearing on iTunes is in any way significant.’
I retweeted it with a simple ‘me’.
‘£125 for music I already own? No ta,’ said another mate.
‘Well I’m buying it all again,’ I replied. ‘But you already knew that.’
‘You’re having a laugh, right?’ he said, running a dangerous risk of being beaten about the head with an iPad to the tune of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
‘Duuuuuude! It’s the Beatlesssss! On Apple!’ I protested. Because a whiny repetition of the facts is a sure-fire way to win any argument, right?
‘Erm, excuse me, but have you run this by the budget-keeper?’ interjected P.
Babe,’ I patronised. ‘Its like the Apple TV. You know its gonna happen, so let’s cut straight past the discussion and get to the good stuff, yeah?’ (I later followed up my default line of reasoning with a defensive case of how often we listen to our copied-from-CD Beatles records in iTunes and how they’re always in our playlists and how the sound check is rubbish and… oh, he’s asleep.)

You see, to me, the Beatles finally being on iTunes was the embodiment of all my snoddery dreams come true…. and the key moment at which to invoke the ‘we all know it’s going to happen’ defence. I tried again with P during last week’s X-Factor Beatles week (which, with hindsight, might not have been my best strategy, since it turned out to be a bloodbath of a show that saw John Lennon murdered all over again), but not even a series of Chinese burns could elicit anything more than a ‘we’ll see’.
‘It’s like I said the other day, babe,’ I (un)reasoned. ‘We need it.’
‘Need it?! Why do we need it?’
‘Peeeeeee! It’s the Beatlesssss! On Apple! We have to; it’s cool!’

It kills me to admit it about a man who refuses to worship at the Church of Mac, but my brother Jamie called me on the cool-factor of my Apple-snobbery recently, while boasting about his decision not to get an iPhone (which, to me, is like boasting about ordering a salad in a steakhouse, but hey).
‘The thing is,’ he argued, ‘by having an iPhone, you’re just like everyone else.’
‘Erm, I think you’ll find, actually, that BlackBerry sells more than iPhone, actually,’ I quipped. ‘So if I wanted to be like everyone else I’d get one of them. Actually.’
‘Oh whatever, sis. Having an iPhone just means you’re desperately trying to be cool.’
‘What, like not having an iPhone means you’re definitely not cool?’
‘No,’ he objected, ‘It means I am cool because I’m not trying to be cool by getting a phone that people who are trying to be cool say is cool.’
‘What’s so amazing about them, anyway? What does it do that my phone doesn’t do?’
‘Everything! And better!’
‘Bollocks. Seriously, there’s no difference.’
‘Yes there is!’
‘What, then?’
‘Look, everything else is… is… it’s just shit, okay?’ I huffed, stomping away like Simon from the Inbetweeners.

What Jamie had dead right in that conversation – whether or not I wanted to admit it at the time – is that the currency of snobbery is coolness. Coolness and an unswerving belief that whatever it is you’re snobbish about is inherently better than any of its competitors. Jamie and I could have swapped places, substituted the word ‘iPhone’ for ‘Converse’ or ‘Friends box set’ or ‘Tabasco’ and had exactly the same conversation. And so, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a snob about vinyl or Twitter or sports cars or Dr Who or Marmite – if a new way/product/episode/release for you to assert your snob-story presents itself, well… we all know it’s going to happen.

So am I getting the Beatles back catalogue on iTunes? Well… I mean, I’m probably going to wait until it comes down in price and I might see if I can hang on til any additional bonus material is released and… ah, screw it. Of course I’m fucking getting it. And so should you.

Sent from my iPad


Fletcher of the Day said...

In this (admittedly small) house have no less than 3 MacBooks (2 of which are pro's) 1 iMac, 2 iPads, and 2 iPhone 4's. And tell your brother that you get an iPhone not only because it does everything easily (and with a high cool factor...) but because without the iPhone, the other phones wouldn't do much. The release if the iPhone brought game to an industry that forced the others to be more innovative. Like the smart girl you're competing against to be top if the class, she pushes you to do more than you thought you were capable of.

My name is Lori and I am a mac snob too...

Ps. We're wondering how long we'll hold out before getting Fletcher an iPad. He already plays with mine...

Unknown said...

I have to say lisa, while I agree that windows 7 and the accompanying ad campaign that goes with it are not doing the image of the old pc much good, Macs are horrible, horrible machines. Give me my home built, case hanging off it, motherboard held in by bluetack, audio production frankenstein pc any day ;) As for mac snobbery and the depressive quantitys of life stile iaddons, don't even get me started.

Eliza B said...

My name is Eliza and I am a Mac snob.

@LucyAnnabel said...

I met my boyfriend two years ago and he almost immediately installed Linux on my Dell Piece-of-Crap D400. Almost the same as you and P, but he did it the IT-geek way...a small diversion. It was the perfect transition from PC to MacBook (which I got my hands on 6 months ago). New boyfriend, new operating system, bliss!

My name is Lucy and I am a Mac snob too.

Rhys Wilkins said...

My name is @mauvedeity, and I wouldn't claim to be a snob, exactly...

Although, of course, an air of insouciant superiority whenever people complain about viruses and crashes probably counts.

And there is the small matter of a completely Apple'd up house. I've converted @pinkgoddess too, and I'm working on others.

You go, girlfriend!

Marc B said...

Er, it's "Doctor Who". It's only 'Dr Who' when you're talking about the 1960's Peter Cushing/Dalek films, which I concede you might have been but is unlikely given the more traditional TV 'Doctor Who's current popularity.

Anyway, stop being such a geek. Loser.

Paul McLean said...

Well, that story could easily be that of me, with P playing the role of my wife! Heck I was such a Mac geek that I gave up a career to go work for Apple the first chance I got!

However, I wouldn't pay £125 for the Beatles. In fact I rarely buy from iTunes, I prefer CDs... But I say nothing about people who do, I commend them!


MBNAD woman said...

Blackberry vs iPhone???
I have both. The sad git machine for work (no choice) and the iPhone for the real world. No contest.

Yes ... another Mac snob. But, I won't be getting the Beatles collection on iTunes. I've got it all on vinyl. Nothing to play it on of course.

Freda said...

I became a mac user only recently. What I want to know is whether i'life is worth updating to. Any advice?

Mark Jones said...

All I want to know is how on earth you managed to find that photo of me that was taken (I think) in 1998.

That Bill Gates is sure going to get it now.

Anonymous said...

Oh Hello fellow Mac snobs!!

I get teased all the time about it. Infact many of my friends refer to me as 'Mrs Apple'!!

1 Imac, "macbook pros, Ipad, 2 Iphones,1 Iphone 4, Itouch and more Ipods than I care to list.

I am an Apple, and Macs were my idea!! (I wish)

Wizzy x

swisslet said...

I'm a mac. And remember that Microsoft stole the whole "I'm a PC" idea from apple anyway.
That said, as I saw quoted the other day: "If you love the beatles enough to spend $149 on their back catalogue on iTunes, but not enough to own any of their CDs, then this is a great day". Sorry, but why would you download from iTunes if you already own any? (plus, in spite of their reputation, some of their back catalogue is a bit meh)
I'm still mac though, but surely you're not blinkered enough to realise it's a cult. Plus iPad? Seriously?

Kirses said...

I'm a mac too. Funny thing about the iPhone, everyone I know who finally got one after months and months of complaining how shit they probably were, are complete converts now. It just IS good.

lilianavonk said...

I am a Mac snob too, but have been forced to go the PC route owing to finances. The bottom line was that my nephew was happy to give me his new-ish Dell which runs a helluva lot faster than my old iMac, and despite how much I wanted a MacBook, that just wasn't going to happen unless $1K fell into my lap. (And even then, I would probably spend it on taking my newest feline acquisition Tyler to the vet and getting him sorted out.)

I hate the Windows environment, though. Hate, hate, HATE IT. I hate how inadvertent random keystrokes--which, as someone who was certified for typing 105 wpm, I am rather prone to make--opens up other windows or throws me into 'insert' mode when it's not what I want.

Though the iPhone 3G is going for $97 now too, so maybe I may yet have at least a partial return to the land of reliable, intuitive devices that rarely get viruses. *massive sigh*

PS: Agreed on Marc's comment. See to it that you never abbreviate, "Doctor Who" again lest the wrath of geeks fall sharply upon thine golden head! (And remember, we tend to get very irate about such things because we have No Lives otherwise.)

Jansman said...

I'm a PC and I run Ubuntu Linux. :-)

Anonymous said...

Several things annoy about Macs:

1) People tend to be evangelical about them. "Macs are the best at everything, everything else is a pile of wank, there is nothing wrong ever with macs"

2) They are extortionately expensive. My netbook cost me £100 it does everything an ipad does and more (except not touch screen obvs), is roughly the same size and it has handy things like usb ports and such.

3) I can upgrade my PC bit by bit, a new graphics card here, more memory there.

4) I can take my PC/netbook/laptop to *any* place and they can fix it. I don't need to book and appointment at some poncy "genuis bar" wait several weeks for an appointment then schlep to the next city over and wait 3 weeks for my shiny macbook to get back to me to have a *teeny* crack in the case fixed (happened to a friend at uni)

Macs are really good in some ways, much more intuitive to use than PC's, much better if you're a photographer/designer etc their design is certainly swish. If I had the money I'd probably have one in some form as I'm a photographer and artist. But even then I'm dubious about whether they're worth the money. Given the choice I'd go for a sexy Alienware PC or somesuch instead of a Mac.

So although Macs have their pros they also have their cons and aren't the be all and end all.