Mac Scope

The Populist Mac

Stephen Van Esch - 2001.05.02

My last piece, The Computer for the Best of Us, stirred up quite a few emails. Some where angry; others agreed with my opinion.

What became clear, however, was that there are two interpretations of "The Computer for the Rest of Us." This week: Interpretation 1, The Populist.

The Populist Mac user is someone who truly believes that Apple makes a superior machine. Mac is synonymous with ease of use, simplicity, and elegance. This statement embodies most Mac users. We love the machine we use, no bones about it.

The unique mark of the Populist, however, is that they believe the Mac is a computer for everyone - it's the machine everyone should use. The simple logic is that the Mac is such a superior operating platform that everyone in the world would be far better off, more productive, and much happier typing away on a Mac instead of a Windows PC.

For the Populist, "The Computer for the Rest of Us" means a machine that anyone can set up and use with a minimum of fuss and input from so-called "experts." It's not a machine that's designed to control the user or make the user feel that they are struggling with a machine instead of their own creative ideas.

The Populist Mac user will spread the Mac word far and wide, converting as many fellow computer users as possible. Their vision is to live in a computer world dominated by good design, a selection of colors, and the Mac OS.

For The Populist, the slogan "The Computer for the Rest of Us" means that it is the computer for everybody, the computer for the majority of people who don't want the hassles associated with many other operating systems. "The rest of us" in this sense and, I believe, as Apple intended it, are the people without the pinstripe suits. Jeans and sweatshirts for us! Power to the masses.

The famous "1984" commercial from Apple epitomizes this belief. The "suits" staring at a huge screen in a dazed stupor are the classic "sheep" that have succumbed to the mind control of "them." "Them," of course, are the powers that be that shackle ordinary computer users and prevent them from achieving true computer nirvana.

To recap: The Populist is a Mac user who would prefer to see Macs spread around the world. "The Computer for the Rest of Us" means the computer for the everyday man or woman just trying to get some work done.

Next time we'll look at another explanation of "The Computer for the Rest of Us."

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