How easily do you bruise?

    [Your humble author deeply regrets his recent absence. He still loves you very, very much. — C.R.]

    A couple weeks back, I was pointed in the direction of a short piece in The New York Times by Dan Mitchell. My friend-tipster was roped in by the headline, “The Thin Skin of Apple Fans,” and I too was suckered into reading the write-up.

    I am an Apple fan after all; what’s this guy have to say about me . How might I be offended by the stereotype this time around? Then it hit me…

    The man had gotten me to give him the win with just the title of his article. Does his piece have its own merit though, or is it nothing beyond the fleeting wisdom in the headline?

    The popular thing to do lately has been to point and laugh at Apple users for myriad legitimate reasons — a good number of us, sometimes all of us as we’re each capable, are complete idiots for the cause. Indeed a documentary, MacHeads , was devoted to those among us that might be a little too excitable for the fruit of Cupertino. The case, though, is often made that those we claim to be the extreme of the group are really the core — no pun intended, honest.

    Enter Mr. Mitchell with his piece profiling Salon writer Farhad Manjoo. In Manjoo’s book, “True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society,” Manjoo talks about his experiences with Apple fans, specifically in regard to their skewering of him over his criticism of the iPhone.

    What, exactly, did Manjoo say that was so vile, so negative, so inciting of Sir Fanboi of Cupertino’s rage?

    He said it was too expensive. This after he praised the iPhone as the fans expect it to be praised — revolutionary! best phone ever! Steve Jobs’ offering of messiah! does the dishes! — but still the Apple fans trolled away, calling him “Apple-hater” and questioning him as to whether he was on the books for Darth Gates.

    Why a reaction so visceral? Manjoo points to a 20-year old study showing suspicion of bias against a person’s own view in reporting. In the same way, anything negative said about Apple, no matter how slight and no matter how insignificant when taken against the context, will stick out to the Apple user. Manjoo groups us all in together as being of the same ilk: none of us can approach an Apple product with objectiveness and we want everyone to do the same.

    Is that really a fair thing to say though?

    Often, an online friend of mine will say to me that Apple users are annoying and preachy and pompous and annoying (he said that already, right?) and that he absolutely cannot stand smug, smug, smug Apple fans. To him, every Mac owner is the Justin Long personification of Mac. To him we all wear skinny girl-jeans and flash the sexiest smirk we can muster at the poor PC user.

    I avoid discussing my personal computing choice with him.

    He lashes out at the average Apple consumer, all the while railing on and on about how Windows-based products are wildly superior and how anyone not using Windows is somehow challenged or deficient mentally. Any criticism of his product of choice is immediately dismissed as hate speech.

    I don’t see an article about the thin skin of Windows fans, though.

    More to the point: why the focus on Apple users? I can understand the focus on the outright fanatics among us, but why the insistence on lumping all of us into the same category?

    We’re not all crazy, and not all of us bruise easily.

    But, I mean, the Mac is the clearly better choice, right?