Two weeks ago, we have studied the concept of 'National Identification.' In the concept, a nation is defined as an imagined community. Benedict Anderson, who was mentioned during lecture, explains why a nation is an imagined community, "members of a nation will never be personal acquaintances with most other fellow-members, yet 'in each of their minds lives an image of their communion.'"(Feb 12, lecture).
I personally interpret his explanation as the following way. There are not only physical and actual national boundaries but also mental and imagined boundary which distinguishes us (Americans) and them (non-Americans). In this imagined boundary, many people as a member of the community show high loyalty and even strong obedience. We remember how many young people who had never met before gathered together to fight against "them" after 9/11 in the name of our nation, America. It was truly the revealing moment of American Pride, which totally annoyed our French friend, Alexis de Tocqueville.
When learning these concepts of imagined communities and American patriotism, I was naturally reminded of the video that I saw recently. In the video, the audience cheered and laughed largely by the Apple presenter's mocking comments on Another Steve of Microsoft. It was clear that the people there were more than consumers; they were something hardcore for the company, Apple.
Why do I suddenly mention Apple in this context?
The reason is that I saw the similar imagined boundary by the methods of assimilation and differentiation for the Apple nation's "patriotism". We know what Apple is. Some people love and love Apple while others complain about its exclusionism. For instance, I saw a newspaper article before saying that many women Apple users regard Apple stuff as a lovable thing like 'pets' or even feel sexy when they watch it.....(feel jealousy over a computer).
So, does everybody praise Apple? Certainly, No! We know that to buy a common PC, we only need the same amount of money as one-month aid from charities for the very bottom-line life quality while we need to get a full-time job including night-shifts at McDonalds to have a decent MacBook. What about VGA adapter? Apple simply ignores the standard that all other computer companies sincerely follow. How about non-working Adobe flash player in iPhone or iPod Touch? Isn't that so tiring to see the blue Lego box on the black display on your iPhone?
In the case of 9/11, we have witnessed that the pride and love for our nation, America, became stronger when other people from the outside world hated and complained about the ways of America. I could observe the similar thing in the Apple phenomenon. It has been known that the complainable things mentioned above about Apple products are usually not the big concern for Apple fans, but for Apple "non"-users who currently do not have the apple product that they are complaining about. More surprisingly, I believe most Apple users and fans even enjoy the differentiations which create some inconvenience because it provides an 'imagined boundary' to them. Furthermore, when considering the fact that Apple has been doing excellent in business during the recent America's hardship period, it seems that the pride of Apple's excellent success has been somewhat substituted for weaken American Pride.
Americans are famous for being practical in many ways, so we definitely acknowledge that the success of Apple is mainly from the qualities of its products. We, however, still can assume that there has been the clever strategy - which can be applied to the concepts we have learned in our class such as imagined community and patriotism - by Steve Jobs, the "freaking" genius, according to a random user from Youtube.
* For the sake of convenience and my love for this country, I depict America as 'our' although I am Korean.