USA Today columnist calls Mac users and Apple fans a ‘cult of blind little lemmings’

USA Today columnist Andrew Kantor writes via his blog at Kantor.com, “I mean, the Mac users. Depserate [sic], as always, to find fault with anything that isn’t unabashedly pro-Mac, the folks at Mac Daily News [sic] have complained about my USAToday piece that dares — dares! — to say the iPod has competition. And like good little lemmings, MDN readers start sending me nasty notes based on the comments they read.”

Kantor writes, “Never mind that the column is inarguably pro-iPod; it simply wasn’t pro-iPod enough. This is why so many of the tech writers I’ve talked with say they just don’t want to write about the Mac. Who needs a cult banging on your Inbox?”

At the end of the note above, Kantor links to the following:

“What is wrong with Mac users and Apple fans? I mean that — I’ve never seen the like. Calling them ‘blind lemmings’ doesn’t always seem strong enough. Get this: I write an incredibly positive commentary about the iPod nano, calling it ‘a beautiful piece of hardware’ and ‘better looking than its competition.’ I had nothing but praise for it.”

“And yet, the Mac lovers find fault. Why? Because I dared to suggest that the iPod is getting some decent competition,” Kantor writes. “In a note entitled ‘Andrew, what competition?’ one writer took me to task (!) because, he said, the iPod’s buttons are well layed out and has a great interface. The fact that I pretty much said this escaped him. Problem: I suggested that other companies were — Jobs forbid! — also starting to make decent products. ‘So far you’re in the minority with your opinion,’ he wrote. My opinion was that the iPod is a terrific piece of hardware. That’s the minority?”

Kantor explains, “The creed of Mac lovers: If you don’t A) praise anything by Apple unconditionally, B) praise it at length, and C) put down anything by a competitor, you’re an idiot. Amazing. Another genius wrote, ‘Whether you like the iPod nano is not the issue; what is evident is that you are unqualified to to write a critical review of music players. Simple as that.’ This because… why? Answer: Because I didn’t heap enough praise on an Apple product.”

Kantor writes, “I got this nonsense from Mac lovers before, when — I kid you not — I failed to play up Apple’s role in the Virginia Tech supercomputer. The curse-filled notes I got came to my Inbox because, again, I simply didn’t heap enough praise. (The writers also thought, incorrectly, as it turned out, that I had some minor factual errors. They were wrong, as it turns out, but why should facts get in the way of a good cult-like rant?) So here we go again. And now I understand why so many of the tech writers I’ve met say they hate to write about anything Apple does. Because the lemmings come calling.”

Full article with the ability to respond here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, it’s not that Kantor’s article isn’t “pro-iPod enough.” It’s that Kantor looks at iPod only from the hardware perspective, ignoring the iPod’s internal software, the iTunes music jukebox software, and the iTunes Music Store; all three of which are integral to iPod’s success. In addition, Kantor made some statements in his “incredibly positive commentary about the iPod nano” that he fails to backup with examples, namely:
• “At least until recently — the iPod’s controls felt better that [sic] the competition’s.”
• “The competition has caught up, and there are some just-as-slick players out there.”
• “Get a Creative Labs MuVo or Zen, or a Sony Network Walkman and you can do the same things.”

Let’s try a brief example of Kantor’s style of writing as a way of explaining why we critiqued his original article in the way we did. We’ve taken the parts of Kantor’s original article and simply replaced Apple with Audi, iPod with A8, Creative with Ford and so on. For the full effect, you’ll have to imagine that Audi is the only maker of fine automobiles in the world, has 80% market share and is being pursued by Ford, Chevy and a raft of generic also-ran car makers:

The 2006 Audi A8 “is a beautiful piece of automotive engineering — and a beautiful piece of automotive engineering that also function[s] really well,” MacDailyNews reports. “The Audi A8’s quality is about form, not just features. For starters, it is better looking than its competition. We wouldn’t call it ‘art,’ but it is certainly something you could spend time admiring as you drive it. The competition has caught up, and there are some just-as-slick automobiles out there. But they came after the A8 had become synonymous with good looks, and they now have a steep hill to climb to catch up to Audi.”

“Get a Ford Taurus or Fusion, or a Chevy Impala and you can do the same things — drive, turn, back up, park, etc. Some even include floor mats and tinted windows,” MacDailyNews writes. “And yet Audi has that huge market share. Some of it may be due to good marketing, but much of it is due to the quality of the A8… The A8 has doors and wheels; so does every car. But — at least until recently — the A8’s handling felt better that the competition’s. There was a quality behind the A8 that other cars lacked… If we had an Audi A8, we would probably stop now and then to admire it.”

Wouldn’t Audi, imagined as the world’s only maker of fine automobiles with 80% market share, and the responsible automotive press wonder what exactly we meant by such unqualified statements such as:
• At least until recently — the A8’s handling felt better that the competition’s.
• The competition has caught up, and there are some just-as-slick automobiles out there.
• Get a Ford Taurus or Fusion, or a Chevy Impala and you can do the same things.

Of course they’d wonder. And rightfully so. Kantor’s ham-handed attempts at damning Apple with faint praise are laughable.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
USA Today: Apple’s iPod nano ‘a beautiful piece of hardware’ – but ‘the competition has caught up’ – September 16, 2005
USA Today columnist blasts Mac users and MacDailyNews in blog – December 06, 2004
USA Today writer unhappy with MacDailyNews and some Mac users’ emails – October 18, 2004
USA Today writer attempts to downplay Apple’s role in Virginia Tech supercomputer – September 03, 2004

134 Comments

  1. I had a dream last night. It was a Jobs release of a new Mac mini that no longer looked like an iPod mini. It was glossy and white, and tiny, like the nano. It had an Intel “M” chip inside like a laptop, and had a tiny laptop HDD, a superdrive, Airport, Bluetooth, 512MB RAM, OS X86…
    In other words, it was similar to the currently mini, but had dumped the brushed aluminium in favour of the glossy white (and there was a black option) of the iPod, Nano, and iMac series.
    EG, iMac is to iPod what Mac mini was to iPod Nano.
    Oh, and it was very very tiny. Impossibly small, as it were. And very cool.

  2. MAC Users aren’t a CuLt. MDN Lemmings are a Cult. Those who praise pretty much anything MDN says.

    Man, this guy totally schooled MDN. MDN, as usual was being juvenile and biased. Leads me to believe that many of the regulars here are nothing but lemming zealots.

    And to the MDN Lemmings out there… I DARE you to point out that i spelt it MAC all capitals.

    I’ll be sending an email of praise… hopefully he’ll realize that all mac users aren’t MdNuts.

  3. Facts are facts and I guess he can’t understand that oh well. A Yugo can go forward, backward, turn left and right. But does it have the style, luxury, and performance of a Mercedes Benz AMG? No.

  4. i love apple. i made the switch about a year ago.

    but you guys are sacs. why can’t a columnist voice his opinion in peace?

    all of the greatest revolutionaries in all of history with the greatest followings faught with peace and love — jesus, ghandi, mlk jr. come to mind.

    if you want your apple revolution, maybe it’s time to try a new approach.

    just a thought.

  5. You know what? He’s right. MDN and a few other Mac websites (but especially MDN) encourages a lynchmob mentality that often generates a vast overreaction to individual quotations from what is generally a fair article or opinion. This is probably because of the habit of MDN readers have of not reading the original article, plus the habit of MDN writers of overstating their case against the article for the sake of having something to post about. Mac rage is MDN’s bread and butter. Without it, this website has no traffic. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is made very uneasy by this fact.

    That being said, Andrew Kantor and any other writer who doesn’t want to write about the Mac because of email inbox attacks are clearly technowimps who should either get a good mailbox filter or go crying home to mommy and let somebody else write the articles for the nasty online world. I have no time for people who cry ‘foul’ in the bloodless wars of internet opinion.

  6. This is a perfect example of MDN baiting for hits by using Andrew Kantor’s poorly written column, which was also a bait for hits at his site.

    This is the new online journalism, folks. Set up a tech news site, flame products and other journalists, allow Reader Feedback, and watch as the hits multiply. Great way to sell advertising space.

  7. I love macs maybe a zealot at times, but its true some people here are way too sensitive, nothing is perfect even our macs and ipods, and there is competition, and although most may fall by the wayside sony and microsoft wont, having said that…. HAIL THE MAC! and please some freedom of speech, you know you secretly love being riled, driven to apoplexy….

  8. So, Apple has competition, eh? I wonder how many people are going to rush out and buy a Sony “Bean” when they can buy an iPod nano? What amazes me is that all of Apple’s competitors continue designing and manufacturing such lame products. And those who think that adding “features” like FM tuners or line in jacks don’t understand one of the things that makes iPods so fabulous. KISS – “Keep it simple stupid”! It is great watching Apple as they keep raising the bar higher and higher! I have to laugh at all of the articles where the author feels the need to remind people that there are “worthy” competitors out there. The public know that the competitors are out there and they are voting with their wallets. You have to wonder how many of the competitor’s players are ending up in landfills somewhere!

  9. An Open Letter to Andrew:

    You poor little bastard.

    For years, Apple fans have been singing its praises. For years, Windows blowhards have been laughing at Apple fans as if we were stupid red headed step children. The sad part is that these blowhards did not know (and appearantly still don’t) what the hell they were talking about.

    Now products from Apple are not only kicking the shit out of the competition, but getting positive reviews from a lot press/critics AND people are buzzing about them big time.

    It appears that your feelings are hurt. What the hell did you expect. If you can’t handle the responses to your articles, maybe you should seek a different line of work.

    I take offense at your “Blind Lemming” comment. Not because you are comparing me to a non-seeing animal, but because the notion would place me in the same category as Windows users. No thanks.

    BTW: Most of us really don’t care what you think.

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