Originally Posted by a_recording
I might be starting a war here, but I always think that in every enthusiast culture there are brands that people love to hate just because they are generally popular or successful. It seems to be less of a question of the product quality and more of a identifiable enemy and a rallying point for a community to maintain an idea of exclusivity. I can think of any number of brands that are overpriced, aren't all that bad, but are just popular to hate. It actually seems like a natural tendency - the hipster gene? I never see the point really - it seems really terribly condescending and simple minded to disparage people for liking what they like.
Of course, its a different question when companies actively lie to their customers by making products that always fall apart, or melt in the rain, or explode and burn or otherwise maim their users. Here's an observation though: those companies are NOT popular and do not stay in business for long.
It would be amusing to compile a list of enthusiast groups and the brands they hate, to see if there is any similarity between them.
Headphone enthusiasts: Beats
Coffee enthusiasts: Starbucks
PC Enthusiasts: Apple / Apple Enthsiasts: PC (That's almost by definition :P )
Is there one for cameras? Cars? I'm really not sure what is public enemy no.1 in those cases.
I think this is pretty true. With audio in general I would say Bose is the more popular brand to hate, but I've noticed Beats has taken a lot of that ire at least on Head-Fi.
Regarding cameras or cars - tough to say. They have much larger fanbases, and they're much less "conspicuous consumption" kinds of objects. I mean, sure, there's jokes about British cars in general ("if there ain't oil under it, there ain't oil in it" ; "you buy two, so you have one to drive while the other's in the shop" etc), and long-standing "rivalries" like Ford or Chevy, but I don't think there's any universally despised or hated automobile marquee. The same goes for cameras - sure there's a lot of film v digital back and forth (as barley alluded to), at least a few years ago (anymore though, just because of market proliferation, film is pretty rare). And then the age-old Nikon vs Canon thing, but because Nikon has changed so much in the last decade, again, it changes the tone of the debate.
I'm not sure it's so much about "hipster gene" though - I think it's more of an identity formation act. In other words, "oh I'm an enthusiast, I can't like the mainstream, because then I can't demonstrate that I'm an enthusiast." Like people who refuse to drink Starbucks and prefer whatever the newest "obscure" brand is, just so they can act/feel cultured or enlightened for going against the grain. I don't see hipsters (at least in the American sense of the word) as being in that alignment - most of them are quite content to go with the grain.
And that's where I think it's a difference in enthusiasm or whatever - between actual gearheads and mere consumers (this isn't meant to turn into a true scotsman argument).