Stop Calling Us Fans

11 Jun 2013

Mellisa Tolentino for SiliconAngle:

It’s too early to tell whether iTunes Radio will be a hit or miss, but surely Fanboys and hipsters alike will be raving about the service soon as it’s available for listeners to try out. We’ll soon find out one way or another.

In an otherwise well written and interesting article, Mellisa ends with this nonsense. I have never read SiliconAngle before, but their claim of focusing on “where computer science intersects [with] social science” is undermined when their writers decide to throw casual insults instead of thoughtfully concluding their articles.

I do not, necessarily, take umbrage with the terms “Fanboy”1 or “hipster”2 as descriptors, but the stereotype of the raving Apple fan is tired and insulting. Not to mention that we are well beyond Apple products being primarily utilized by a vocal minority. My mother might try out Apple Radio before I have a chance to. The product is interesting and it is going to be available in the wild in a few months. And it is more likely that Mellisa and the other tech journalists are going to be declaring it a hit or miss long before us “Fanboys and hipsters” have an opportunity to try it out.

  1. Except, of course, as gendered terminology. That is as good a reason as any for us to stop using it. And, while on the topic, why do people insist on capitalizing “fanboy” – particularly when writing about Apple? 

  2. I have not read his work, but I have been told that Mark Greif has done some interesting work with the notion of the hipster. At some point, I will read his New York Magazine piece that includes the line, “It would be too limited, however, to understand the contemporary hipster as simply someone concerned with a priori knowledge as a means of social dominance”. Knowledge bombs everywhere.