Anthropologist sees religious revival in Apple product launches


— 11:53 AM on October 25, 2012

PC enthusiasts have long pointed to the religious fanaticism that seems to permeate Apple's faithful horde. Now, that sentiment has been backed up by an anthropologist from my alma mater. The Christian Science Monitor asked Kirsten Bell, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia, to analyze some launch videos of Apple products. She concluded that those events resembled "religious revival meetings." Bell likened the Apple logo to a sacred symbol and noted the company's emphasis on its "origin story," a trait shared by other religions. Having a charismatic leader helps, too. Then there's this:

"Like many Sacred Ceremonies, the Apple Product Launch cannot be broadcast live," she wrote. "The Scribes/tech journalists act as Witness, testifying to the wonders they behold via live blog feeds."

That assessment isn't entirely accurate, since Apple broadcast the event detailing its latest launches. However, the live feed was available only to those with Apple devices. Android and Windows users were shut out of following the proceedings remotely, perhaps because Apple would rather preach to the choir.

Bell concedes that the religious analogy is "ultimately a somewhat superficial comparison," but she maintains that Apple is "selling more than a product." Her sentiments reportedly echo those of a decade-old academic paper written by Eastern Washington University sociologist Pui-Yan Lam, in which the cult of Mac was described as an "implicit religion." Other brands within the technology industry have devout followings, of course, but none really compares to Apple. You can blame TechEye for this one.

   
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