It’s the morning after Election Day. Well, I didn’t wake up happy.
But here it is…
For the last 15 years, I have made my living as a Macintosh aficionado (or MacGeek, if you prefer) living in a world ruled by Windows. In fact, the domain name that this blog squats on [originally MacBigot.com] comes from having been harassed daily by ‘Windows bigots’ who truly believe that if it didn’t come from Microsoft, it’s not a real computer.
To those of us who have fought those battles, this struggle has often been compared to a religious war, and sometimes — as a cultural divide.
When the protagonists on the MacOS side of the battle were at their most active peak, a group called the ‘MacEvanglists’ (initially organized by Guy Kawasaki) would combat the incorrect information provided, by default, to anyone within the long reach of Microsoft’s arms. You might have called us crusaders for a lost cause. Our logo (shown at the top of this post) was chosen by vote in an internal contest to represent us and our fight (I still wear three of those tshirts!).
But those battles are over — the war for acceptance was eventually won — not because of any particular skirmish; but because over time the establishment realized that we could all get along in this diverse market and be stronger for it. There are Linux servers in almost every basement in corporate America. There are Windows and Mac users living and computing side-by-side at adjoining desks, and browser-based applications mean less of an ongoing need to roll proprietary (single-plaftorm) tools out to staff.
And Microsoft came to realize that no matter how they fought, we were not going away.
Now that the war is over (the ‘real’ IT people still poke me in the ribs about my platform choice), it is a lot easier to exist in this Windows world; even though it wasn’t designed for me and my favorite OS. I still come to work every day to a place that is designed almost completely around Microsoft software. I haven’t quit my job to go work somewhere that has an all-Macintosh network.
Mostly because there is hardly anywhere to go that isn’t designed around Microsoft Windows.
But it’s telling — about why I’m not looking at travel brochures for Canada after yesterday’s election of an almost all-Leftist government. Though I truly believe that our government will be less like what the Founders intended, now that we have elected a Left-leaning President, a Left-leaning Congress, and have a decidedly Left-skewed judicial system — it’s still America.
There is hardly anywhere else to go — that has kept Lefty-thinking at bay.
So no, even though we may joke about finding a few acres up above the Canadian border — we are all likely to stay, and find a way to be productive citizens in this new environment.
Among the MacEvanglists, we often called Microsoft, ‘Big Brother’.
We referred to our choice of platform as ‘reason-based’ and Windows users’ choice as ‘following the crowd’ or ‘just doing what’s popular’.
We endured mocking, belittling, and blatantly unfair treatment from the IT service industry, the media, manufacturers, and Wall Street.
Lies and marginalization by Windows salespeople, ‘bigoted’ IT professionals, and armchair tech experts is just another day at the office.
Even now, Windows proponents arm themselves with numbers, white papers, and millions of marketing dollars to squash the impact of competing technologies (like software, programming languages, operating systems, and online services).
We became comfortable comparing the plight of our favorite operating system to the experience of a minority culture (see the MacEvangelist logo, above). Many of my friends smirked at my struggle in this — because, they hint, it’s good for a middle-aged white guy with a face for radio to ‘not have it so easy all the time’.
After a decade and a half, I no longer fear my plight. Hegemony continues to annoy and frustrate me — but cannot crush my will to continue being the stalwart Mac user. Every time a Windows user reboots, I tell my children, “See, those people think that daily reboots are normal, but since we only have to do it four or five times a year, we know that there is a better way to live than that…”
Maybe I’m more prepared to survive this troubling time than I’d thought.
But I don’t think that The New Hegemony is OK just because it comes with such a dazzling smile.