Apple and Technological Fundamentalism

In a post earlier this year at Re/Code, Walt Mossberg nails his 95 theses to the door of the Church of Apple. Apparently fed up with the amount of criticism he receives from unwavering Apple fans, Mossberg argues that users need to remember that “it’s not a church, it’s just an Apple Store.” As a tech reviewer, Mossberg says he faces loads of self-righteous criticism any time he questions the company’s ‘magic touch’:

“It’s really not okay to pour down personal hate and derision on people who happen to use and like a tech product that competes with the one you prefer. I’m pretty sure that kind of behavior violates the tenets of, you know, all the real religions. And it’s really over the top to become so devoted to a tech company that you can’t see the point of view of others who don’t buy, or even like, that company’s products.”

As Mossberg notes, Apple cultists tend to not only praise their favorite Apple products, but to be completely intolerant of any competing view. “And, because they can’t see any other way of thinking, they assume that if you praise or use an Apple product, you must have signed up for the whole religion.”

But really, how can you blame the cultists? If any product experience comes close to a religious experience, isn’t it the Apple experience? Just look at the way their marketers present them with the new “Your Verse” campaign:

That ad isn’t selling a technology product. It’s selling poetry, beauty, romance, and meaning.

And, while Mossberg claims that the Apple Store is definitively not a church, the company sure spends a lot of money on its architecture budgets–the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York cost $7 million. In The New Cathedrals, Brett Robinson argues that “the transcendent design of the Apple store fits a historical pattern wherein the dominant media technology of an age acquires a sacred status.” He goes on to explain: 

“When books were king, their homes were built in the highest architectural style of the day. Libraries were imagined as sacred spaces because they were instruments for transmitting culture to future generations, promoting community, and organizing chaos.The Apple Store is a shrine to the modern media technologies that now perform these tasks. “

If the cultist mentality of Apple fanboys, the architecture of the Apple stores and the Apple marketing itself doesn’t do it for you, just ask Siri what she thinks about religion, and maybe she can shed some light on the issue:

siri do you love jesus

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Up&Up. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is benjamingrobertson.com

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