January 11, 2005

Licking the Boot that Kicks You

by Nick Montfort · , 3:38 pm

I’ve been thinking a bit of the recent Macworld keynote and its slew of announcements, and of Apple’s lawsuit against Apple information site Think Secret, a lawsuit which lines the bad-boy corporation, “rip mix burn” Apple, up against the EFF.

Plenty of consumer behaviors puzzle me, but I do find certain cases of Apple-worship particularly odd. I understand anti-corporate invective, whether directed at Microsoft or trendier corporations, and I understand that people appreciate good, innovative industrial design and sometimes fall into the thralldom of particular brands. I also understand that once people run a site like Think Secret as a business, a site that is basically an Apple fan site, they have to keep running their businesses, salivating over the latest Apple products and releasing information about those products, even after they get sued by Apple. But this sort of voluntary licking the boot that kicks you really doesn’t suit theories of rationality, or even consistent irrationality, very well. I guess it’s no stranger than when college students go purchase albums and buy tickets to movies after they’ve been sued by the RIAA and the MPAA, directly enriching the organizations that harass and impoverish them. I do hope the American consumer can get a handle on this behavior before he calls in a hit on himself.