Rupert Goodwins' diary

Monday 18/06/2001Satan thinks differently. (Ken Kesey)Ah, America!

18/06/2001 Satan thinks differently. (Ken Kesey) Ah, America! Home of the conformist rebel. As Jello Biafra (once lead singer of punk shockers The Dead Kennedys, your honour) said of heavy metal concerts -- "Five thousand kids dressed exactly the same. No gym teacher could get them to do that". And sanitised conformity sells: Apple's computers don't do anything that PCs don't do, but they're different. You're hip, creative, not one of the herd? Buy a Mac. Think Different, the slogan goes. But don't take things too far. The Church of Satan proudly displayed a picture of its goatee'd founder on its web site with Think Different underneath -- fair enough, one would say -- until Apple descended from on high with the flaming sword of lawyerhood and smote the Satanists mightily. In vain did the CoS protest that the Apple logo itself was a reference to certain diabolic goings-on in Eden, they were smitten and that was that. It's not the first time that Apple has courted the counterculture only to recoil in horror at the consequences. Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and leading light of the 1960s Merry Prankster movement was booked to appear at an Apple retro "Groove Fest" party. Very appropriate -- the Merry Pranksters were responsible for zooming across America frantically proselytising peace, love and industrial-strength hallucinogens. Accordingly, Kesey turned up and gave a talk -- only to be thrown off the stage after twenty minutes by an anxious Apple employee for daring to mention LSD. What on earth did they expect? And it's not as if the culture from which Apple itself sprang was exactly clean as a whistle: that really is how to think different.