Chattanooga Now In Tune: Giving a cold shower to the flame wars of fanboys

Chattanooga Now In Tune: Giving a cold shower to the flame wars of fanboys

September 26th, 2013 by Casey Phillips in Chattnow Music

Unless the rock you live under gets terrible Wi-Fi coverage, you're probably aware that another iteration of the iPhone sprouted off Apple's family tree last Friday.

I get overly excited by these kinds of things. I drool over the addition of an "s" (or a "c" this year) to the end of an iPhone model name. I devoutly follow operating system updates and pore over teardowns that give me a sneak peek at the inner workings of the shiniest consumer technology.

When it comes to gadgetry, I'm unabashedly a fan. What I'm not, however, is a fanboy.

The former are center-of-the-aisle enthusiasts, generally open-minded people who avoid allegiances to one product over another. The latter are the proverbial right- and left-wing zealots who choose a side, blindly trumpet its superiority and deride competing companies and anyone who makes the "idiotic" decision to support them.

To fanboys, forums and comment boxes on the Internet are arenas in which to fling poorly worded insults at one another in heated (generally pointless) exchanges called "flame wars."

If you're feeling particularly hyperbolic, it's like the Civil War for the nerd set, but the fanboy phenomenon isn't limited to techies.

For every angry exchange between proponents of Nikon and Canon or Apple and Samsung, there are equally heated debates between Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners or Pepsi and Coke devotees. It's the Hatfields and the McCoys, circa 2013.

Music isn't devoid of its fanboys. In the '60s, you were either a fan of The Stones or The Beatles, and God help those in the middle ground. In the '90s there was the deadly East Coast/West Coast rivalry that divided the rap community.

This is a practice going back thousands of years. If you squint hard enough, the predecessor of flame wars could be seen in the self-assured righteousness that has fueled countless religious conflicts. Is it a stretch to liken the head-butting of the Cult of Apple and the Cult of Samsung to the Christian Crusades? Perhaps, but they're both the playground of narrow-minded zealots, and they seem equally pointless to me.

I say, just like what you like, and let others do the same.

Can't we all sing "Kumbaya" and love everything equally? The answer, of course, is no, we most certainly cannot, because everyone knows that "We Shall Overcome" is a vastly superior song about peace, acceptance and equality.

Only idiots like "Kumbaya."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree or 423-757-6205.