Haters Gonna Hate

I don't understand some people. Ok, a lot of people. Internet people, mostly. The type of people with the need to proselytize their views about meaningless crap.

You know, like what I do. Only, not paid.

These malcontents have a passion for posting vitriol wherever their sensibilities about good and bad companies/products/technologies are impugned.

To which I say, WTF?

There are two prime topics that result in this phenomenon. The first is Apple.

More than any other company, Apple has shaped the consumer electronics industry of the last decade. They have developed a following that views The House that Steve Built as an infallible entity of pure sacrosanct goodness.

They're not. They have, on occasion, missed the mark completely. Their vigilance in keeping their electronic universe proprietary - sometimes to a product's detriment - is legendary. In many ways, they act like Microsoft, who many consider the evil empire. In my opinion, their computers are overpriced, underperforming crap.

But, they make some fantastic products. The iPad is brilliant. The iPod is the most important CE product of the last 20 years. They have a better track record for products that just work, than any other company. Their stuff usually operates just as a consumer would want, so are therefore good products. Everyone should own an Apple TV.

See, this is a balanced, healthy view of what is just another electronics company (albeit a popular and successful one). Some good, some bad.

Yet some people lose their freaking minds when anything negative or positive is said about Apple. I don't get it. I am neither a "fanboy" or a "hater," seemingly the only two labels ascribed to those who speak ill/well of the Rainbow Fruit. At various times, I've been accused of being both.

Take this post for example. It has nothing to do with Apple. I make a joke at the end about buying an iPad instead of the goggles. I said this because:

1) It was funny.

2) The products are the same price, and if you hold the iPad close to your face, it will appear to be about the same size as the virtual screen Sony claims their visor produces.


I need you to take a moment and read the first comment. Marvel at the insanity. Marvel at the fact that I said these were the best goggles I'd seen. Yet the mere mention of Apple makes me a fanboy, and according to a follow up poster, I'm likely paid by Apple to mention their products.

Yes, clearly the only reason someone could like an Apple product is if they're paid to. This, by the way, is called an ad hominem attack. As in:

"Of course I'm not paid by Apple. You'd be able to understand that if you'd had more than two grandparents."

See what I did there? Paid professional, right here.

The first poster wants so bad for others to love Sony like he does. What has Sony done to invoke this kind of loyalty? What has any company? You're paying THEM. Entire articles could be written on the anti-consumer blunders Sony has committed. But honestly who cares? It's the individual products that matter.

Then there's plasma. Do NOT say you like plasma TVs. You'll be ridiculed and derided by every manner of fool and braggart.

This one, to me, is even more fascinating. There's no such thing as a perfect television. Every TV (every product, really) has strengths and weaknesses. I, as a TV reviewer for this and previously other publications, am coming at a TV looking for the "best picture quality" by the metrics of my own personal tastes. Tastes like: "accurate color," "sharp detail," "low noise," "excellent contrast ratio." I know, what ridiculous things to want in a TV. I don't, for example, care what TV looks best in a sun room, or which is ideal for the kitchen. Maybe you do. More power to you.

Yet when I say, in print, TV X is better than TV Y because of A,B, and C, I'm accused of bias, fanboyism, incompetence, etc. Not that it matters I back up my opinion with objective measurement data. You know, facts. But since you can't argue facts, just attack your opponent. It's certainly what <THAT POLTICAL PARTY YOU HATE> does. Am I right? Those bastards.

My point is this. A product is either good or bad depending on how you need/want to use it. The product is what matters. I don't hate my car because it doesn't make me coffee. I don't hate your TV because mine looks better. To hate a technology because another technology is better for you is not only stupid, it's spectacularly self-involved.

Along the same lines, I don't love Apple because my iPod is awesome. It's a great product, but it's not without flaws. Apple makes it, but they are not without flaws. They are a massive company that wants (and gets) your money. Not a judgment. They're just nothing more, nothing less. To intensely love or hate a company because you like/dislike their products is just irrational.

There was a study done - frustratingly I can't find it - that found men's choices in products, when threatened/questioned, is mentally registered as an affront to their masculinity. Hilarious. "This speaker is better than yours," is heard as "you have a small tweeter." Makes me want to make fun of these haters even more, with their diminutive (audio) equipment. I bet they all drive Porsches and have oversized televisions.

Crap, I drive a Porsche and have an oversized television. Well, ahem, clearly not everyone. . . I mean I have. . . forget it.

I guess what it comes down to is that some people just have a need to argue. Some people need to feel like they're on the winning "team." I'm not big on the sports, so maybe that's why I don't get it. But having an emotional investment in convincing others of your product choices is like getting wasted at a bris. Sure you think you're hilarious, but after a while, you're just making fun of someone else's tiny