Mac & Rush 🍎

Pondering the strange feelings that emerge about a controversial figure—one who died just this week, and yes, THAT one—being into the same nerdy thing that you are.

He literally has the beta software download for Big Sur on his screen.

Last year, stuck inside and watching more TV than usual, I got sucked into doing this thing where I would watch TV shows and movies and point out situations where famous people were using fancy computers.

Two in particular stood out to me: Tiger King harassment target Carole Baskin, who rocked an iMac Pro to manage her livestreams, and Rush Limbaugh, who for some reason decided to put a $6,000+ Mac Pro, complete with $5,000 monitor and $1,000 stand, on his desk for his namesake radio show. (I found out about this because video of Limbaugh had a tendency to hit the mainstream press throughout 2020.)

Limbaugh, who died Wednesday at the age of 70, is an immeasurably controversial figure, someone who took great joy picking fights and poking holes into any social or cultural phenomenon he did not like—including, perhaps most famously, the presidency of Barack Obama.

He made enemies of thousands of people over the years, but also maintained an audience made up of many more people—and the acolytes that his controversial views and demeanor generated reverberate through modern American culture, all the way up to the top.

But beyond the politics, he was in some ways just like everyone else in that he was a fan of certain pieces of popular culture. The most famous example of this is the theme song he used for his radio show, The Pretenders’ “My City Was Gone,” a particularly tasteful choice, and a situation that Chrissie Hynde found peace with despite clearly not being a fan of Limbaugh’s politics. (Not every band Rush was a fan of, like Rush, handled things the same way.)

And then … deep sigh … there’s Apple. Limbaugh was an Apple fan going back 35 years, and occasionally pontificated about the company’s products, even at one point complaining on air to Steve Jobs after a botched MacOS upgrade caused problems for his four Mac Pros.

At times, Limbaugh would frame his appreciation of Apple in political terms, as described in this 2013 quote from the radio host:

I would love to just be able to get to one of these guys and say, ’Now, I want you to do something. The way you see these guys propping up Samsung and Google and Android and the way these guys are ripping Apple to shreds, would you try to see that in the mainstream media? Would you open your eyes and see what’s going on in the mainstream media? Would you try to open your eyes and see that in the mainstream media, the Republican Party is Apple, and the Democrat Party is Samsung, Google, and Android.

To make it clear, I am personally not a fan of Limbaugh. I am completely weirded out that Limbaugh was a very passionate Mac fan. But I guess you just have to kind of accept that deeply controversial figures like things outside of the bubble that we put them in.

I mean, if I was in his position, where I was a legend in my field (albeit a controversial one), and I could have the most powerful computer in the world at my desk almost as a way to show that I got mine, wouldn’t I do the same thing? I don’t know if many people would miss out on that opportunity.

Love him or hate him, he got his. And you’ve got the right to feel weird about it.

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Ernie Smith

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Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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