I feel like I’ve been pretty lucky on YouTube. Either that, or the tides are changing.
You see, I’m rarely labelled an ‘Apple fanboy’. It happens, but with nowhere near the frequency I see on other Apple-focused tech channels. So, either I’m failing to attract viewers who are likely to call me such names (highly possible), or the art of fanboy-calling is dying (unlikely, but desirable).
Regardless, this got me thinking. I’ve spent most of 2021 lavishing praise on Apple. While I’m never afraid to point out their mistakes, I think Tim and co. have indeed pulled off a bit of a stonking year.
Does this make me a fanboy? And, if so, does it matter? Should I be ashamed, worried, or apologetic? Do I need to broaden my horizons?
Let’s work this out.
What is a fanboy?
The term ‘fanboy’ (or ‘fangirl’ – we really do need an all-encompassing term) has always fascinated me.
Urban Dictionary offers the following definition:
An extreme fan or follower of a particular medium or concept, whether it be sports, television, film directors, video games (the most common usage), etc.
Known for a complete lack of objectivity in relation to their preferred focus. Usually argue with circular logic that they refuse to acknowledge. Arguments or debates with such are usually futile. Every flaw is spun into semi-virtues and everything else, blown to comedic, complimentary proportions.
More worryingly, it goes on to say that fanboys are likely to use the term “best ever”.
I use this all the time when referring to Apple products.
I have a slightly different take on the term ‘fan[insert gender here]’, though. I think it’s a form of bullying.
Urban Dictionary is a laugh – I love it. But their description of what it apparently means to be a fanboy is rather troublesome, no matter how tongue-in-cheek it might be.
Spinning a flaw into a semi virtue is one of the most positive things you can do in life. It’s why people still drive and love Italian cars. It’s why you can’t bring yourself to throw away that battered pair of Nike trainers. It’s why a pair of crumbling KRK headphones still play a pivotal role in my business. Flaws can be wonderful things, and loving stuff because of those flaws is what makes us human.
Using circular logic to argue or debate your point about something you love isn’t a character flaw (there’s that word again), nor is it anything to be ashamed of.
Anyone who has spoken out (either at scale or simply within their own friend network) about their love for a brand like Apple has probably been called a fanboy/girl at some stage. And as much as we can laugh it off or rebuke, it does hurt a little.
It just isn’t very nice, is it?
My fondness for Apple
My first Mac experience took place at school during my A-Levels. As a Media Studies student, I was fortunate enough to have access to a Power Mac G3, which also gave me my first taste of video editing.
It left an indelible mark, but it was many years before I finally owned a Mac of my own (which, for those interested, was a Power Mac G5).
In the intervening years, I continued to faff about with Windows PCs. I built them, broke them, attempted to fix them, and finally gave up entirely before switching wholesale to the Mac. That’s where my fondness for Apple really took hold, and it grew stronger with each device I added to my collection, from the iPhone to the iPad, and Apple Watch.
I’ve never hidden my affection for Apple. Indeed, my library of content (both written and filmed) tells its own story; 95% of my stuff is about Apple products. And while I will always point out their failings, I do spend most of my time lavishing praise on Apple’s resolute focus on combining beautiful industrial design with serious performance. It impresses me, makes me feel good about using tech, and rarely results in buyer’s remorse.
So, does that make me a fanboy?
I’ll never argue until I’m blue in the face about Apple. The aforementioned circular logic isn’t a trap I fall into, simply because I can’t be bothered to sing the praises of something in the face of severe opposition.
Just like everything in life, Apple isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s why there are so many other brands vying for our attention. It’s a wonderful thing, and I’m glad that others don’t share my enthusiasm for Tim and co.’s efforts – what a boring world it would be if they did.
I think I am a fanboy. But it doesn’t bother me. And nor should it bother you if you’ve ever been called one. Those who use it as a derogatory label sit squarely within the ‘troll’ bracket, which – trust me – is not a good place to be.
If you love something, tell the world about it. Even better, if it has flaws that others deem hilarious yet you find charming – bask in the glory of being an interesting human being.
So, hands up – who’s a fanboy or fangirl?