About | ACP | Buy | Forum | Industry Watch | Learning Curve | Search | Twitter | Xnews
Home » Learning Curve » Red Hat Diaries

Nothing to Recommend?

Charlie Brooker doesn't like anything.


Buy It

Try It

Charlie Brooker is a British comic writer and broadcaster. He works on doing things outrageously. Wikipedia describe his comedy as 'savage and profane'.

Charlie also writes for The Guardian. And on Monday he planted a piece that's garnered a lot of attention.

Microsoft's grinning robots or the Brotherhood of the Mac. Which is worse?

Charlie starts with 'Windows works for me. But I'd never recommend it to anybody else, ever' and then segues straight away into this.

I admit it: I'm a bigot. A hopeless bigot at that: I know my particular prejudice is absurd, but I just can't control it. It's Apple. I don't like Apple products. And the better designed and more ubiquitous they become, the more I dislike them. I blame the customers. Awful people. Awful. Stop showing me your iPhone. Stop stroking your Macbook. Stop telling me to get one.

But this article is about the Windows launch party ad campaigns - or ostensibly so. Actually it's closer to being somewhere in the middle. Charlie calls these Microsoft campaigns 'the most nauseating' in history. That's pretty direct.

But he doesn't like fanboys. Who does?

I don't care if Mac stuff is cool. I don't care if every Mac product comes equipped a magic button on the side that causes it to piddle gold coins and resurrect the dead and make holographic unicorns dance inside your head. I'm not buying one, so shut up and go home. Go back to your house. I know, you've got an iHouse. The walls are brushed aluminum. There's a glowing Apple logo on the roof. And you love it there.

You absolute MONSTER.


And again: it's all readily understandable. Because people can be as insufferable as Charlie describes them. Back to Windows.

I know Windows is awful. Everyone knows Windows is awful. Windows is like the faint smell of piss in a subway: it's there, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Savage and profane. But why stay on Windows? It's not just Apple fanboys.

OK, OK: I know other operating systems are available. But their advocates seem even creepier, snootier and more insistent than Mac owners. The harder they try to convince me, the more I'm repelled.

Charlie does indeed have a problem. All that computer's supposed to do is help him with his work. But he evidently can't think that way. It's not about belonging to a club, Charlie, no matter what dimwit thinks otherwise. It's about getting your work done. Are you admitting you're no less of a mindless zombie than the people you complain about?

Back to pick on Microsoft again. And their new ghastly ad campaign.

The four most desperate actors in the world stand around in a kitchen sharing tips on how best to indoctrinate guests in the wonder of Windows. If they were staring straight down the lens reading hints off a card it might be acceptable; instead they have been instructed to pretend to be friends. The result is the most nauseating display of artificial camaraderie since the horrific Doritos 'Friendchips' TV campaign which caused 50,000 people to kill themselves in 2003 (or should have done).

It's so terrible that it induces an entirely new emotion: a blend of vertigo, disgust, anger, and embarrassment which I would like to call 'shitasmia'. It not only creates this emotion: it defines it.

It's the most shitasmic cultural artefact in history.


Charlie's a comedian by profession - he's one of four creative directors of the comedy production company Zeppotron. Now the pieces should be falling into place. And what's Charlie going to do? What is he going to recommend? Don't you know by now?

Still, bad though it is, I vaguely prefer the clumping, clueless, uncool, crappiness of Microsoft's bland Stepford gang to the creepy assurance of the average Mac evangelist. At least the grinning dildos in the Windows video are fictional, whereas eerie replicant Mac monks really are everywhere, standing over your shoulder in their charcoal pullovers, smirking with amusement at your hopelessly inferior OS, knowing they're better than you because they use Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard.

Snow Leopard. SNOW LEOPARD.

I don't care if you're right. I just want you to die.


Thank you Charlie. At long last at the end of your screed. Now what did you say? Or what did you reveal? But let's not be overly critical here. Your piece did garner a lot of laughter, get you a lot of lucrative attention - and close to 1,000 mostly illiterate comments already.

This isn't just about sitting and hating people because they laugh at your OS. This is about everyone picking the best possible OS and making the Internet - and the world we live in - safe.

Many readers called this a 'troll' piece and there certainly is truth in that - all Charlie and his Zeppotron friends do is troll. That's how they get viewer share. The more outrageous, the better the prospects. Quality and honesty are for pussies. But assuming there's at least a single grain of truth about Charlie and his computing habits in that possibly entertaining piece - then where is it? What is it?

That's simple. Charlie is very good at thinking only about himself. He demonstrates it again in his article. He's totally on the mark about how disgusting Windows is. He's also totally on the mark about how disgusting Apple fanboys are. No contest. No one could possibly debate it.

But there's more to this world than crappy operating systems and incessantly insufferable monster fanboys. There's security. And there's the promise of a free Internet for the people. This isn't just about sitting and hating people because they laugh at your OS. This is about everyone picking the best possible OS and making the Internet - and the world we live in - safe.



Safe so we can all use the web to assemble. Safe so people don't regard the Internet as 'that dusty box in the corner with all the evil things in it'. Safe so people everywhere can embrace it for its full potential - and stop seeing it as this tremendous John Carpenter dystopia with spam flooding mailboxes everywhere, hacks infecting hundreds of millions of Windows PCs, innocent (but stupid) people getting ripped off just by visiting the wrong websites or clicking on the wrong links...

That's supposed to be a technology people should embrace?

And it's not the fault of the Internet anyway. It's the fault of Microsoft Windows - Windows 3, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows NT 3.1, Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows V*STA, Windows Se7en.

It's the same old shit all the time, everytime.

This site has never recommened (insisted) everyone flock to Cupertino. There have been reasons to consider Apple as a strong alternative. What this site has advocated is people using their brains - using anything but Windows. Anything.

You can choose OS X. You can choose Slackware. You can choose Debian. You can choose FreeBSD. You can choose OpenBSD. You can choose Gentoo. You can choose Fedora. You can choose Mandriva. You can choose Ubuntu. It doesn't matter. As long as you get away from Windows.

Anyone with half a brain not completely self-centred and only out to promote his own career would realise that.

About | ACP | Buy | Forum | Industry Watch | Learning Curve | Search | Twitter | Xnews
Copyright © Rixstep. All rights reserved.