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Apple hysteria: The Watch, the Luddite and the Macalope

March 14, 2015, 6:55 PM UTC

448051413242Of all the dumb commentary on the Apple Watch I’ve read since Monday — and there’s been a lot — perhaps the smartest is Timothy Egan’s “Digital Dog Collar,” an opinion piece the New York Times posted on its website Friday but for reasons known only to itself chose not to print.

Egan is an accomplished journalist with seven books, a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize under his belt. He knows how to grab a reader’s attention:

I hate the new Apple Watch. Hate what it will do to conversation, to the pace of the day, to my friends, to myself. I hate that it will enable the things that already make life so incremental, now-based and hyper-connected.”

It’s opinion pieces like this for which the Macalope was invented. I don’t know for certain who’s behind the large hairy pseudonym — one of the few surviving assets of the media empire that was once Macworld — but I’ve always admired the grace with which its author punctures anti-Apple pomposity and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt.)

Thank goodness,” he writes in Saturday’s column, “we have protectors of our very humanity like Timothy Egan who can rush to the pages of the nation’s greatest newspaper to burn the witches of technology as they arise.”

If you enjoy verbal swordfights, this is a good one. A couple of samples:


This has nothing to do with Apple. We can still be friends. I’m writing on a MacBook Air…”


Oh, well then! All is forgiven! Except the lede. And the entire first paragraph. And most of the rest of the piece. But mostly your cartoonish Ludditism.”


Backlash is inevitable. A few days ago, Patrick Pichette, Google’s chief financial officer, announced that he was retiring because he wanted to spend more time offline. He had this epiphany, he wrote, while watching the sunrise from Mount Kilimanjaro with his wife…”


Ah! If only we could all have epiphanies while watching the sunrise from Mount Kilimanjaro! Alas, we are not all absurdly wealthy and/or rhinoceroses.”

No more spoilers. Just the links.

Digital Dog Collar
Digerati, heal thyself: Blaming our shortcomings on our devices

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.