Farhad Manjoo believes new communications technologies are loosening the culture’s grip on what people once called “objective reality.”
Machinist is offering excerpts from his new book on the subject, True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.
In this clip, the author examines the cult of Mac and how fast the Apple brand evangelicals will jump you, should you dare challenge any point of their doctrine.
There are many tribes in the tech world: TiVo lovers, Blackberry addicts, Palm Treo fanatics, and people who exhibit unhealthy affection for their Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners. But there is no bigger tribe, and none more zealous, than fans of Apple, who are infamous for their sensitivity to slams, real or imagined, against the beloved company. “It’s funny — even if I write a generally positive piece about Apple, I still get more complaints from Apple partisans” than from opponents, Walt Mossberg says. He has even coined a term for the effect. “I call it the Doctrine of Insufficient Adulation.”
They care little for honest opinion. They want to pick up the paper and see in it a reflection of their own nearly religious zeal for the thing they love. They don’t want a review. They want a hagiography.
Another new media nay-sayer on the book circuit, Andrew Keen, takes great pleasure in dressing down the net. And there’s an audience for this, as surely as there’s an audience for screw-loose talk radio. But what about it? Do Manjoo and Keen have a point? Is communications technology partially responsible for dumbing us down? Many would argue just the opposite is true, that communications technology connects communities of interest and allows people to share vital information at a scale never before imagined, much less realized.