Elderly White Male Pundits
Thursday, July 29, 1999 by Dave Winer.
"When you see some guy pulling an iBook out of his backpack a few months from now, tell him his little computer looks delectable and see what he says."
"Women use computers, women run computer companies; equating them with busty plastic dolls shows that no matter whether we've come a long way, baby -- not everyone has kept up."
"'I am computer geek!' he is yelling, 'hear me roar!' Dvorak, secure in his elderly, white male punditry, understands this in a way that sandal-wearing, veggie-munching Steve Jobs doesn't."
I try not to take offense on matters of principle, but referring to Dvorak as an "elderly, white male" is far beneath Wired and I do find it offensive, even if it is written in rebuttal to a piece that crossed well-accepted lines of political correctness.
I am not many years younger than Dvorak, and I am white and male and a pundit. What does that say about someone and their beliefs and attitudes? Do two wrongs make a right? Wired, get a life, get over yourselves, you're worse than Dvorak, at least he's willing to promote beliefs that are not so "correct."
This morning I read a NY Times article on the Walkman turning twenty. It's a great piece. It turns out there are Walkmans designed for teens and for women and for athletes and one that's modeled after the iMac.
So what could be so terrible about designing a computer that fit the sensibilities of almost-elderly white male pundits? I actually think that makes a lot of sense. I can tell you this much, I am not going to own a computer that people call "delectable". I laughed when I read this in Dvorak's piece.
Wired may make fun of us, but I have my own self-image, and it's none of their business, any more than I could tell a middle-aged white female pundit how she should express herself thru products she chooses. Further, people marvel at the economic clout of teenagers, but what about the purchasing power of mature white males? There's money to be made in appealing to us, obviously.
BTW, when I quit Wired a few years ago, they were complaining about a section of a piece I wrote about Jean-Louis Gassee. Some thought it was sexist. "Extend your right arm. Pull your pinky to your palm. Same with the fourth finger and your thumb. Extend your index and middle fingers and pull them together. Move your arm so that these two fingers are directly under your nose. Sniff shortly three times."
I saw a great show on the History Channel last night. We just got it on our cable system a few weeks ago, their programming is excellent, I've seen shows on Lindbergh and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Last night's story was about Elvis, how he opened up teen culture in the US, and how this forever freed teens from having their sexuality (openly) controlled by their parents.
All those girls screaming, what were they screaming about? They were horny! That's definitely something worth screaming about. That's what Elvis changed, and thank you Elvis! The young girls might have liked dreaming about Barbie and Ken, but they also had fantasies of loving Elvis.
When Ed Sullivan, the Minister of Culture in the US in the 50s said Elvis is a nice young man, he passed the torch to the new generation, and it's never passed back.
Just this, we mature men might want something warm, with leather perhaps, no guns please, but something rugged that fits in a carry-on bag, and fits our style. To think that today's laptops somehow are designed to appeal to male style is to underestimate male style.
I just bought a new car, a Lexus RX300. I want something like that. Not delectable, but cool and modern, stylish and comfortable. Easy on the eyes. (The older you get the more you value comfort, it's true it's true.)