Intolerance Can Be Fun (11/6/00)
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Well, here's something we never thought we'd see: a whole country rejecting Microsoft software. Hang on, that's not the surprising bit; what has us scratching our heads in wonder is the fact that the country in question rejected the software for a reason other than the inherent suckiness of the product itself. No, what's fueling this anti-Microsoft fervor is, of all things, religion. Faithful viewer Mr. Nick made our day just that much more surreal by pointing out a Seattle Times article which explains that Germany is so uptight about the fact that Windows 2000's disk defragmentation module was produced by a third-party company whose CEO happens to be a Scientologist, Microsoft actually caved and provided instructions on how to remove that "integrated" portion of the operating system.

Wait a second, here. How come all of a sudden it's so easy for Microsoft to remove a tightly-integrated part of one of its operating systems? We're sure that the Justice Department is smacking itself on the collective head right about now for not having tried the same tack a few years ago. Evidently they could have avoided this whole "Redmond Justice" trial rigamarole if, instead of demanding that Internet Explorer be removed from Windows because it constituted an antitrust violation, they had simply objected to the software on religious grounds. Yes, if they'd just complained that the IE logo is reminiscent of an obscure Satanist sigil, we never would have heard all that whining from Bill's boys about how IE is an inseparable part of the OS blah blah blah-- out it would have come, tout de suite. We'll have to keep this in mind for next time.

But we digress. The thing that really freaks us out is that Germany is actually rejecting a product just because it was made by a company whose CEO happens to be a Scientologist. (Do they have a standing ban on Travolta flicks, too? And, heaven forbid, the playful hijinks of "Dharma and Greg"?) That's not to say that the AtAT staff is pro-Scientology or anything-- as far as we're concerned, you can all believe whatever you want-- but it sounds to us like the German government might be overreacting just a leetle bit. What do they think, Windows 2000's going to start proselytizing when the defrag utility kicks into gear? "3642 blocks optimized. Psychiatry is hurtful and wrong. L. Ron rules. Have a nice day."

Our biggest concern is that if tenuous ties to Scientology are all that it takes to keep a product out of Germany, what's going to happen to Apple? As you all know, Apple signed a deal with EarthLink making the company its official ISP for Mac customers. Well, you may or may not be aware of the fact that EarthLink was founded by a Scientologist. Gasp! In fact, unless we're mistaken, we're pretty sure that the EarthLink Total Access software that's been shipping on every Mac for years now was written by a Scientologist. Granted, you wouldn't get many Germans scrambling to sign up for EarthLink accounts anyway, but is Apple going to get burned in Germany for having signed a deal with members of, as the country apparently considers it, an "unwelcome cult"? Oh, the humanity...


 
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The above scene was taken from the 11/6/00 episode:

November 6, 2000: Whatever possessed two honor students to steal $30,000 worth of Macs and then sell hot iBooks for $20 apiece? Meanwhile, Microsoft faces heat in Germany for its tenuous ties to Scientology-- is Apple in for trouble, too? And the Redmond Giant need to get better about installing patches; someone compromises one of its web sites by exploiting a known security hole...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2658: Society Made Us Do It! (11/6/00)   Oh, these damn mixed-up kids today-- using their powers for evil instead of good. Have they learned nothing from such modern moral compasses as Xena: Warrior Princess? Granted, the attention span of the average high schooler in this day and age almost makes the AtAT staff appear alert and focused by comparison (naaahhh), but surely if teens today never figure out that walking the Dark Side only leads to heartache, they're actively trying to steer clear of any sort of moral education...

  • 2660: The Break-In Of The Week (11/6/00)   Okay, settle down-- everybody quit pushing. If you all relax and wait your turn like civilized human beings, sooner or later everyone will get a chance to compromise Microsoft's corporate data...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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