Halp: Googling "your fucking Macbook Pro" didn't bring up any MeFi results. November 2, 2012 12:44 PM   Subscribe

My Google-fu is failing me: someone posted a comment a while back, probably on the Blue, ranting against the privileged idiocy of "minimalism"/"simplifying your life". It brought up the privileged idiot's Macbook Pro several times, and how they'd like everything in life to be more like it, not realizing that their smooth-lined aluminum shit costs money and most people don't have that. If anyone remembers the comment, I'd greatly appreciate a link!
posted by randomname25 to MetaFilter-Related at 12:44 PM (69 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

It's probably this comment in the 2010 "Cult of Less" thread on the blue.

Or it might be this one from the same thread.
posted by k8lin at 12:52 PM on November 2, 2012


The Privileged Idiot's Macbook Pro is going to be the title of my memoir.
posted by griphus at 1:03 PM on November 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


The Privileged Idiot's Macbook Pro is going to be the title of my memoir.

I'd like this comment on a teeshirt.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:06 PM on November 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Privileged Idiot's Macbook Pro is going to be the title of my memoir.
I'd like this comment on a teeshirt.


This would make a great bumper sticker.
posted by misterbrandt at 1:08 PM on November 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Privileged Idiot's Macbook Pro is going to be the title of my memoir.
I'd like this comment on a teeshirt.

This would make a great bumper sticker.


I need to use this as a comment on a website.
posted by DU at 1:11 PM on November 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


You know, a regular Macbook would probably work just fine and be cheaper.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:20 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Googling "your fucking Macbook Pro" didn't bring up any MeFi results.

Well, I for one am surprised.
posted by box at 1:21 PM on November 2, 2012 [33 favorites]




If we can somehow make this meme super popular and also kill it in the next 10 minutes, that would be a life-cycle impressive enough for a National Geographic special.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:31 PM on November 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Or at least something on Vimeo.
posted by box at 1:33 PM on November 2, 2012


MetaTalk: Red in tooth and claw.
posted by griphus at 1:34 PM on November 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I submitted griphus's image to Reddit tooth and claw.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 1:38 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to make this a meme.
posted by The Whelk at 1:40 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn, now I'm sad that I didn't properly capitalize the 'B' in "MacBook Pro".

Well, as a Samsung user, I'm not THAT sad. Fuck Apple.
posted by randomname25 at 1:46 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, k8lin, I don't think either of those comments are it. The one I had in mind had a LOT more grar. (Though maybe the glorious rant comment was actually a hallucination. Either way, thanks for the links!)
posted by randomname25 at 1:47 PM on November 2, 2012


ranting against the privileged idiocy of "minimalism"

I'm always reminded of that episode of AbFab where Edina rushes around her house shouting "Flat spaces! Flat spaces!"
posted by octobersurprise at 1:53 PM on November 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Privileged Idiot's Macbook Pro is going to be the title of my memoir.

I just had it etched on my Macbook Pro.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:56 PM on November 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Over on Etsy I just ordered this entire thread custom embroidered on a wool MUJI slipcase for my MacBook Pro.
posted by carsonb at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Over on Etsy I just ordered this entire thread custom embroidered on a wool MUJI slipcase for my MacBook Pro.

I submitted your order to Regretsy.
posted by item at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2012 [22 favorites]


I just made an FPP of the BuzzFeed post on this MeTa.
posted by griphus at 2:18 PM on November 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it this? I just literally searched for "fucking MacBook".
posted by beandip at 2:31 PM on November 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


ranting against the privileged idiocy of "minimalism"

I'm always reminded of that episode of AbFab where Edina rushes around her house shouting "Flat spaces! Flat spaces!"


You should read Nothing by Jon Agee. It's a children's picture book, but manages to take down capitalism, trendiness and taking a good thing (in this case, simplification) too far all in just 32 pages.
posted by DU at 2:33 PM on November 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ooo, I haven't read that one yet. I'm a huge fan of his book Terrific (teaches kids about sarcasm! I can't imagine anything they need to know more.)
posted by asperity at 2:35 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


If we can somehow make this meme super popular and also kill it in the next 10 minutes, that would be a life-cycle impressive enough for a National Geographic special.

5 mins and it'll be an NYT Lifestyle piece.
posted by arcticseal at 3:06 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes! That's it, beandip! I don't know why I was convinced it was a MacBook Pro. Thank you so much!
posted by randomname25 at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I spent most of my 20s and early thirties wandering around the world. I owned what I could carry.

Now that I actually own a place to put stuff, I find that 15 years of training has inclined me to own as little as possible.

That may be 'privileged idiocy' -- after all, I had enough money (barely) to leave Canada, and was able to find work (from dubious to very lucrative indeed and every stop in between) -- but I do kind of bristle at the characterization.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Pony request: being able to mark best answers in meta.
posted by bonehead at 3:24 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hooray!
posted by beandip at 3:48 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


All that said, I do like the minimalist aesthetic. Though I'm kinda in to wabi-sabi at the moment.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:48 PM on November 2, 2012


That may be 'privileged idiocy'

Only if that gives you a sense of superiority over the common herd clinging to their ad-driven useless possessions.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:49 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Privileged Idiot's Macbook Pro is going to be the title of my memoir.
I'd like this comment on a teeshirt.

This would make a great bumper sticker.

I need to use this as a comment on a website.


The trick is getting all this to fit on a coffee mug.
posted by chavenet at 3:52 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's that comment where someone explains how owning a bunch of (what appears to the outsider as) shit is actually a safety net for some people? Anyone remember that?
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:53 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Now I know griphus uses professional white and I think less of him. Sad times.
posted by maryr at 4:32 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's that comment where someone explains how owning a bunch of (what appears to the outsider as) shit is actually a safety net for some people? Anyone remember that?

Is it this, from the same thread?
posted by randomname25 at 4:52 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just posted this meme to /b/, I'm not going to tell you what they called me. Expect to see it on reddit in 2 weeks.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:54 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we replace the "Google-fu" meme with the MacBook meme?
posted by Brocktoon at 6:37 PM on November 2, 2012


I love that comment. Thanks for digging it up!

I've always had the minimalist aesthetic, but the difference is that when I was ACTUALLY poor, my one piece of lounge furniture was an old mattress covered in a ratty bedspread from a second-hand shop, and now it is a nice clean-lined sofa that cost me several thousand dollars. And when I was actually poor the rest of the lounge was carpeted in twenty-year-old speckled synthetic carpet courtesy of crappy landlord, and painted in peeling beige. Nowadays it's walnut floorboards and crisp white walls.

In both cases I preferred that look to the alternative (which in my poor days was the same peeling paint and ugly covered mattress, but surrounded by piles of other, equally cheap shit), but the earlier incarnation of my living room was not exactly something I was proud of, nor would it have occurred to me to try to convince anyone else that my room was the way they should decorate too. If anything, I was ashamed of it. So yeah, I think there's nothing wrong with having few possessions, but the only people who are going to go around bragging about it are the rich assholes who don't recognise their own privilege.
posted by lollusc at 6:53 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's that comment where someone explains how owning a bunch of (what appears to the outsider as) shit is actually a safety net for some people? Anyone remember that?

Is it this, from the same thread?


Ironically enough, that comment was written on a Macbook Pro...
posted by Forktine at 8:02 PM on November 2, 2012


I made my MacBook Pro from multiple broken/water damaged conputerz. Privileged with time.
posted by Packed Lunch at 7:43 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Privileged Idiot: I only drink beer from brushed aluminum cans.
posted by ifandonlyif at 8:06 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anodized
posted by Packed Lunch at 8:23 AM on November 3, 2012


The Privileged Idiot's Macbook Pro is going to be the title of my memoir."

It's going to be the title of my how-to book. It'll be just like those "Complete Idiot" guides, but with a hand-stitched binding made of sustainably sourced nutria hide, letterpress printed on acid-free rag cotton paper.
posted by adamrice at 9:34 AM on November 3, 2012


I thought maybe there was a rant in the Simple Desks thread but I'm not finding it and it looks like you found your specific comment. But, I think it fits into the oeuvre of this partical MeTa so I felt I'd share.
posted by amanda at 12:13 PM on November 3, 2012


So... I read the linked thread and its just making me want to buy more Apple products. I think I'm Doing It Wrong™.
posted by modernserf at 12:36 PM on November 3, 2012


> with a hand-stitched binding made of sustainably sourced nutria hide

Scott Forstall iPad ebook version would've looked like that, anyway. Since skeuomorphism is Out now I can't queue up the sound of Jonathan Ive galloping to the rescue.
posted by jfuller at 12:44 PM on November 3, 2012


Hey, I won my MacBook Pro three years ago in a work contest and I'm a borderline hoarder. So, priveleged idiot? CONFIRM/DENY (circle one)
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:47 PM on November 3, 2012


I'm reading this using a Lynx emulator on my Apple ][, from my cardboard box hut.
And I enjoyed your meme.

Spare change?
posted by Mezentian at 6:15 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the nice things about finally having a decent income is being able to get rid of most of my possessions. When poor, it makes more sense to hold onto random things you will maybe need. The worn out shoes that don't quite fit right. The clothes that may fit you again if you finally lose that weight. The random tools and appliances and craft supplies you have not had time to use in years but maybe someday you will have the free time for it again.

The better off you are financially, the more sense it makes to ditch all of it, and know you can replace it if you ever really want to.
posted by idiopath at 7:24 PM on November 3, 2012 [30 favorites]


idiopath: that is my actual goal in life: to once again have an income good enough that I do not have to hold onto so much.
posted by batmonkey at 7:29 PM on November 3, 2012


I made all of my possessions in a cave from a box of scraps. I had to walk there and back everyday in a blizzard without shoes on, too. So YEAH.
posted by two lights above the sea at 11:58 PM on November 3, 2012


Maybe put a bed & a camp stove in your cave?
posted by Packed Lunch at 1:11 AM on November 4, 2012


MacBooks aside, don't most of us agree that the will to possess more and more useless stuff for the sake of owning everything we can see might be problematic in an era of ecological catastrophe?

Snark about privilege but don't minimize the problem of mindless consumption, which is just as much a mark of privilege.

Asceticism is not really a hipster value either. Minimalist aesthetics are perfectly compatible with over consumption and waste.

Make yor MacBook last 6 years. That's cool.
posted by spitbull at 4:11 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Snark about privilege but don't minimize the problem of mindless consumption, which is just as much a mark of privilege.

The linked comments in that thread (mine included) make the point very well that a certain kind of ostentatious minimalism is all about privilege and in fact requires significant resources, and that being poor prevents that lifestyle.

But at the same time, as you allude to, it has to be acknowledged that resource consumption goes up with increased wealth. Despite perhaps having a cluttered house, the poor consume far less resources than does a wealthy person, even if their living room could be featured in Dwell (or, in the case of that FPP, the NY Times).
posted by Forktine at 5:28 AM on November 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


don't most of us agree that the will to possess more and more useless stuff for the sake of owning everything we can see might be problematic in an era of ecological catastrophe?

Yes. But at the same time, people sitting comfortably in their middle-class tax brackets need to understand the realities of living in poverty. Sure, most of your wardrobe can consist of three t-shirts - if they are not three crappy t-shirts from Target, and if you own a washer and a dryer and can afford to run them at least twice a week. There is a fundamental blind spot here where people fail to understand that the ability to function well with less is largely a feature of money. There is also a continual failure to understand the mechanics of living in poverty, and how time consuming and expensive it is in actual hand-in-pocket monetary terms.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:15 AM on November 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


spitbull: "Minimalist aesthetics are perfectly compatible with over consumption and waste."

And massive clutter and a horde of belongings you never use are compatible with a frugal environmentally friendly lifestyle.
posted by idiopath at 8:50 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And massive clutter and a horde of belongings you never use are compatible with a frugal environmentally friendly lifestyle.

If you obtained most of the clutter and horde of belongings secondhand, then, yeah.

Also, it's not so environmentally friendly to throw stuff away. Sure, it's no longer an eyesore in YOUR environment, but it has to go somewhere.
posted by randomname25 at 8:55 AM on November 4, 2012


Is it this? I just literally searched for "fucking MacBook".
posted by beandip at 2:31 PM on November 2 [13 favorites +] [!]


Oh fuck yeah. I had to restrain myself from ripping all my clothes off and running through the streets screaming after that comment. If anyone wants to start a people's revolution in the future, get schroedinger to give the speeches.

I think most people who have never been desperately broke have no idea how it is. I am way way happier now that I have money, there's no question at all about that.
posted by cairdeas at 9:21 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The better off you are financially, the more sense it makes to ditch all of it, and know you can replace it if you ever really want to.

Yes. Yes. You nailed it.

This is how I still am with clothes. Even now I have this really deep-seated sense that I might be in a position again where I will need nice clothes to be able to get a job, and I won't be able to afford them. I still keep quite a few of them that I don't wear at all, ever, so that they stay nice, and they are packed away, but I'm not going to be able to let go of them any time soon.
posted by cairdeas at 9:29 AM on November 4, 2012


I grew up working class (single immigrant mom, etc.) and now that I'm lower-middle-class I am slowly learning that I can throw broken old shit out. It really is a privilege to say "you know what, I don't need this THING taking up space when I haven't used it in years and if I do need one, I can just buy it again" and that is a really, really nice privilege to have. I've had to train myself to think things like "these knives are awful and old and make cooking a chore, which means I cook less and order out more and end up spending more money, therefore I will invest in new knives" instead of "these knives are awful and old but they're not broken and I can't really afford them even though I'm spending the money anyway, so I don't need to replace them." Hell the entire concept of a purchase as an investment in saving time and money in the future -- knives, boots, computers -- rather than something you do to satisfy a need I have right now is a concept I'm still getting used to.

It's a lot easier to make an omelette when you have the eggs to break.
posted by griphus at 9:44 AM on November 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


don't most of us agree that the will to possess more and more useless stuff for the sake of owning everything we can see might be problematic in an era of ecological catastrophe?

Absolutely, or even not in an era of ecological catastrophe. Everyone does it a little differently, of course, and the challenge is trying not to get all judgey about other people's choices that may be difficult to understand at the same time as you make your own principled choices for reasons that you believe are important. And different people draw the line in different ways (a comment I made about this in AskMe) and it's a natural tendency to place your own set of choices in the normative middle [people more extreme are radical, people less extreme are lazy/uncaring]. Everyone's life has multiple battling priorities.

I'm personally driven nearly crazy by this and I swear some days that I moved to Vermont because I could be me, be lifestyle-judged by as few people as possible, and still live in the US (but then the NY Times started to fetishize us and it was all over), but my sort of crazy is the "I don't know where to draw the line with my relentless frugality now that I am in a personal financial situation where I can make choices" situation. Because in Vermont competitive frugality is like a spectator sport. I buy things when I need them, but I'm bad at defining "need". And what plays well here in town (we all brag about how low we set our thermostat at night) seems nutty to others.

Not complaining, it's just my own particular problem, being aggressively anti-capitalist but wanting to support the things I want to support and the fact that for a lot of people support=cash and cash only (election time especially, and don't get me started about how most of your donations went to pay tv networks, ad writers and big money consultants) and anti-poverty work is somewhat unappealing to people who want to make nice shiny digital things and not have you remind them about the digital divide. My iMac is five years old, I don't know if that is old enough (and I have other computers).
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:16 PM on November 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


n principled choices for reasons that you believe are important. And different people draw the line in different ways

FYI that link seems to be broken.
posted by Forktine at 5:05 PM on November 4, 2012


Thanks, fixed it. No idea where that weird letter/number munge came from.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:15 PM on November 4, 2012


a frugal environmentally friendly lifestyle

Consumer action cannot solve our current environmental challenges. Living an environmentally friendly lifestyle is nice, but has no real impact other than to make yourself feel better. Furthermore, it's like dieting: obtainable for some people, but far from possible for the great mass of people for various reasons.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:10 AM on November 5, 2012


While I agree that living an idealised environmentally friendly lifestyle isn't achievable for a lot of people, I am baffled by this statement:

Living an environmentally friendly lifestyle is nice, but has no real impact other than to make yourself feel better.

If nothing else, it has landfill impact, so... what?
posted by DarlingBri at 6:55 AM on November 5, 2012


I think if more people aspired to live in such a way that makes them happy and impacts no one else in any significant manner, things would be a lot better than they are now.
posted by griphus at 7:07 AM on November 5, 2012


"If nothing else, it has landfill impact, so... what?"

"I think if more people aspired to live in such a way that makes them happy and impacts no one else in any significant manner, things would be a lot better than they are now."


Also, we could save many thousands of lives a year (and conserve valuable fuel resources) by driving 20mph slower on the highway. Are you going to suggest that the right way to make this happen would be if we all individually decide to drive slower? Similarly, there are assholes that claim we could replace the government safety net with voluntary charity.

Relying on individual decision to solve institutional scale problems is almost always doomed to failure. And the attention put into the individualist consumer solution actively takes away from the kind of solution that actually works.
posted by idiopath at 7:42 AM on November 5, 2012


I'm not sure how "it would be nice if people tried to not make things worse" translates to a "[reliance] on individual decision to solve institutional scale problems" but okay.
posted by griphus at 7:51 AM on November 5, 2012


In public discourse, the language we use in addressing problems determines the set of solutions that will be considered reasonable.

By talking about "being nice" and "not making things worse" you participate in the dominant manipulative framing of the issue: peoples consumption of resources is a question of individual freedom and discretion, and the only hope of improvement is for all of us to individually decide to make better decisions and be nicer to one another.

This is how one dismisses effective change.

When segregation was the norm, people defending segregation would emphasize that they were kind people with negro friends, they just didn't want a legislative mandate that equality be enforced, when people just needed a bit of love in their hearts.

People who want to do away with the social safety net claim that individual generosity and charity will replace institutional efforts to reduce suffering.

People who oppose gay rights will claim that they don't hate gay people, but they just don't see a government need to recognize what is a private lifestyle choice.

The framing of political issues as questions of personal kindness and discretion is fundamentally conservative, and is an ideological assault against effective social change.
posted by idiopath at 8:08 AM on November 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I prefer to see change in terms of cycles of activism and education. Activism is necessary, the call to action, the marking of wrongs, the framing the problem, to use your vocabulary. Getting the message out in a form that resonates is central to developing the moral and ethical core of a movement.

However, activism is not universally helpful when it comes to actually helping people cope with that change. Education is a much better model in my experience: slow, constant efforts, in small groups, in one-on-ones. Educational modes need the activist message to support them, but the activist mode, no discourse, no discussion, sit down, shut up and listen, doesn't work on the small scale, and, in my experience, results in stasis and re-entrenchment of the status quo. It also make the educators job a lot harder, and thus impedes the change the activists want.

Both are necessary. Dismissing one tool in the toolbox as being ideologically impure means many fights without much progress. The protestors have to let the educators do their work.
posted by bonehead at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2012


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