Dan Lyons, Paul Thurrott: the Fake and the Phony
January 18th, 2009
Daniel Eran Dilger
Two notorious Microsoft shills, Dan Lyons and Paul Thurrott, have sunk to new lows of historical revisionism order to decry that “the media” is conspiring to uncritically fawn over a company other than the one they have uncritically fawned over as paid flacks over the last decade. They’re wrong, here’s why.
Paul Thurrott and the Amiga.
Thurrott has lived the majority of his adult life bitter and angry about Apple. He started out his tech career as an Amiga fan. This is an important detail to consider because there was something about Commodore’s Amiga that attracted an intensely religious fervor that even Commodore’s death couldn’t extinguish.
For extremist nerds, the Amiga was Elvis, Jesus, alien abduction, heroine, the Qur’an, and the Klingon language all wrapped up into one product and branded with a name that suggested the idea of having a hot Spanish girlfriend: a life changing, unforgettable fantasy that had to be aggressively advocated until death.
Amiga was a Mac that was cheaper than the Mac, and it had some cool nerdery hardware that set it apart on a technical level, even if it didn’t look as sharp. This made Apple the natural enemy of Amiga fans, because religious devotees hate nothing more than a stronger, smarter, and more popular alternative to their own deity, particularly when they can clearly see that their god is the only true god and that all alternatives are phony heretical impostors that deserve a painful death.
Despite the fact that the two companies didn’t every really directly compete, when Apple outlasted Commodore, certain Amiga fans vowed revenge upon Apple in a blood pact of hatred that could never be overcome. Like many Amiga devotes, Thurrott channeled his intense hatred for Apple into Windows advocacy in the mid 90s, thinking that only the death of Apple at Microsoft’s hands could atone for the company’s sin in outlasting the Amiga. I am, of course, not making any of this stuff up.
Amiga Replacement Therapy as a Windows Enthusiast.
Over the next half decade, Apple’s squirming torture in the hell created by the spread of Windows fed Thurrott like a loving mother. He celebrated every word uttered by the man he always referred to as “the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft,” Bill Gates. Year after year, Gates would introduce some ridiculous product idea destined for failure, and Thurrott would write about it as if it were magical manna from heaven that would poison remaining Mac heretics to death.
However, around 2004 something horrible happened to Thurrott’s comfortable world of nursing at the bosom of Microsoft; Steve Jobs’ Apple began to gain traction in areas where Microsoft was flailing out of control. Microsoft’s plans to dominate music and other digital media with Windows Media DRM began to unravel as Apple built itself a competent foundation with the iPod and iTunes. Microsoft’s Longhorn operating system turned into a joke even as Mac OS X started being taken seriously.
Previously, Microsoft had been so isolated from any real competition that the company’s failures were exempt from criticism. Microsoft had been held afloat by a servile tech media like the Supreme Soviet in the pages of Pravda: no amount of failure could possibly matter because there were no other valid alternatives to even consider. The official advice: it’s best to just wait and see how the supreme commanders would solve the problems they caused.
When Microsoft released slow software, the potential for faster hardware was offered as a solution. When Microsoft delivered products full of security holes, performance-sapping layers of anti-virus diapers were presented as the remedy. When unworkably absurd levels of DRM were issued by the company as the future of digital media playback, passive acceptance was enthusiastically recommended by Windows Enthusiasts, including Thurrott himself of course.
The Jehad upon Apple
Thurrott and his compatriots of Microsoft Apologists found it increasingly difficult to maintain their devoted ideology once Microsoft started looking ridiculous in direct comparison to Apple, a much smaller company with a fraction of Microsoft’s resources. Thurrott first sought to console his readers with the idea that Apple could never matter because of its limited size in terms of the worldwide market share of all PCs and server products. He simply begged people to ignore the company.
When Apple became impossible to ignore by encroaching into markets that represented the holy territory granted by god to Microsoft, Thurrott began posing as an Apple user so he could less threateningly communicate his great displeasure with every aspect of the company’s products. One of the most troubling problems with Apple products, Thurrott the Phony complains, is that the company doesn’t use its products to sell Microsoft’s. One example is that MobileMe doesn’t sync with Windows Vista Calendar; of course, that’s actually because Vista’s Calendar doesn’t yet work yet. Not even Microsoft can sync with it.
While complaining about Apple’s products as a phony fan, Thurrott also takes every opportunity to castigate a phony, invented stereotype of Mac users as worshipers of Steve Jobs who never complain and eat up the company’s products like brainwashed zombies. Of course, anyone who has ever stumbled upon a Mac-centric web page knows that Mac users are really the biggest bunch of unsatisfiable complainers ever. And while they may sometimes acknowledge a respect for Jobs’ style and contributions, they’re quick to tease, question, accuse, or even sue the company’s executive whenever a hat drops.
The Mirror Attack.
Thurrott the Phony’s schtick is difficult to maintain for years on end, so Thurrott has lately put into use the most devastating weapon from the toolbox of disgruntled ideological losers: take everything bad about yourself and your ideology and blame it upon whatever entity you despise. Suddenly, it is somehow Apple, not Microsoft, which is the media-coddled darling despite having no real accomplishments to warrant it.
And it is Steve Jobs, not Bill Gates, who has been deified and worshipped as a golden god by a reverent audience of followers, Thurrott insists. In contrast, he maintains, it is Microsoft that is the victim of lies and propaganda attacks. There was nothing wrong with Vista, or Windows Media DRM, or SPOT watches, or Windows CE, or the Zune, or the company’s terrible marketing, or the Xbox 360′s Red Ring of Death and its spontaneous fires.
Those problems were all fictions invented by the all powerful media to hurt the good guys at Microsoft and propel forward unremarkable products from Apple, products that are only popular because of the company’s mind control advertisements, which are really all lies that no one can see through apart from him and his Windows Enthusiast scribes.
Paul Thurrott calls Apple “the Bad Guys” of Microsoft’s $300 campaign
The Phony Loves the Fake.
Thurrott isn’t the only one to happen upon this vast conspiracy of liberal media elitism. He was recently delighted to find a similar mindset emanating from Fake Steve Jobs blogger Dan Lyons, the man who for years defended Microsoft and SCO and vilified open source, Linux, and IBM’s support for the otherwise defenseless volunteers who wrote the open code that dared compete against the Redmond monopolist. Lyon’s support for SCO and contempt for Linux was so intense that he found new adoration from the equally phony Rob Enderle.
After SCO was exposed as a lying bunch of worthless scammers, Lyons moved on to a secret gig lampooning Apple’s CEO in an often comical blog. At the same time, his Fake Steve Jobs character always seemed to utter Microsoft talking points at just the time Microsoft wanted them talked about. Later, writing as an ostensibly real journalist, Lyons wrote enthusiastically about a box of Media Center gear Microsoft shipped to his house to review, carefully ignoring any flaws while weaving in scathing contempt for the competitive offerings from Apple.
The Fake now insists that he halted his Fake Steve Jobs column out of respect for Jobs’ health condition, not because his fifteen minutes of fame (and corporate sponsorship) had been exhausted. At the same time, he continues his speculative autopsy of Jobs in the role of a “journalist,” desperately trying to find ways to profit from lurid stabs into Jobs’ personal life before the man can recover. Most recently, the Fake has instigated a campaign to vilify Jobs for expressing too much optimism about his own health, and subsequently taking a break to focus on recovery after finding it necessary to do so.
The Fake has styled himself as a fearless whistleblower for calling Apple’s PR team “liars” and denouncing Jobs’ attempts to recover faster than his condition allowed, writing “the last six months have been the most outrageous example of the reality distortion field I’ve ever seen.” Outrageous, really? When members of the press make such ridiculous accusations about nothing, it only serves to erase the credibility and impact of the media when it says something important.
Additionally, prior to the eruption of a gaggle of book writing phonies that churned out books about Jobs that all purported to offer some deep insight into the man, but really only perpetuated tired stereotypes invented to create a vilified legend, the phrase “reality distortion field” was coined by Jobs’ employees to describe his ability to encourage them to do the impossible by challenging their notions of what they could accomplish. RDF has since become a derisive term suggesting evil mind control, thanks to these hacks with no perspective and less imagination, who have never accomplished much on their own besides bending the truth in their books in order to make things sound more entertaining and dramatic in predictable ways.
Like Thurrott the Phony, the Lyons the Fake also takes everything bad about himself and blames it upon the entity he despises. The Fake says Steve Jobs is an out of control, lying, emotional child prone to tantrums. At least that’s the idea he intended to suggest on CNBC recently, as he attempted to scream over the top of other speakers in fervent outbursts of unprofessionalism. Apple, he insisted, only wants to deal with journalists who aren’t scathing, prejudicial hacks out to vilify the company and its products. The nerve of the company! It should be handing favors to Microsoft shills just as Microsoft does.
The War on Rational Thought.
The Fake and the Phony are only echoing (rather ineffectually) the last gasp of another band of losers: the religious right neocons. Lyons’ self-affiliation with this group of ideological failures, who continue to make up roughly a third of the US voting population, was highlighted in the Fake’s assertion that “in the eyes of the media, Apple is the corporate equivalent of Barack Obama—a company that can do no wrong.”
Warning, yikes link: Rotten Reporting – Paul Thurrott SuperSite Blog
That extreme of an outlandish, unashamedly disingenuous claim would make even the worst ten dictators of the past century blush. When has the media given either Apple or Obama a free pass? And is this in contrast to Microsoft and outgoing President Bush, who have been apparently nailed to the cross by an aggressively critical, truth seeking press in some alternative universe? With that line, the Phony Dan Lyons has lost any shred of credibility he may have still had.
Even the most devoted Windows Enthusiast would have to admit that Microsoft was never seriously criticized in the media through a decade of criminally anticompetitive behavior and embarrassingly shoddy products. Only when Apple got its game plan together and began systematically embarrassing the company did anyone ever meekly point out that perhaps Microsoft’s offerings were not quite as good in some areas. And all the while, the tech media complained about niggles in the iPod, echoed the sentiment that despite its product quality Apple faced poor chances, worried about the iPhone’s $2000 price tag compared to $99 phones, and regularly cited Rob Enderle’s pessimistic outlooks for the company. It’s all there in the Internet Archive, folks.
Similarly, it is just absurd to a ridiculous extent to suggest that Obama has been given a special exemption from criticism when he was repeatedly badgered for knowing a man with a anarchist youth activism past, or having ties to a church where an angry cleric ranted criticism of the country, or being too physically fit to lead a nation a fat asses, or having too little experience, or being too closely related to people with a non-Christian religion, or being associated with a land deal attached to shady friends.
What Apple and Obama share is a respect from those who have examined their accomplishments and vision. That’s not fake or phony, it’s real. Microsoft and Bush are not victims of a critical media, they have merely destroyed their own reputations through a pattern of illegal and often incompetent behavior, something that occasionally ends up getting passively reported. This is not a partisan or biased ideology, it’s facts based on the events that have occurred over the past decade.
Fair and balanced reporting is not the art of making the world appear equal and non-controversial. It is reporting things that are wrong, and reporting things that are right. It is not done by comparing events to a list of ideological concepts to determine which events should be reported and for how long, but rather in presenting all the facts without an agenda. By this measure, the Fake and the Phony have failed miserably. When they lie about themselves and everything they’ve stated in the past ten years, and try to flip reality on its back to insist that up is down and black is white, they only beg to be ignored.
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