The Franzenstein Effect: Jonathan Franzen on the ‘Eternal’ Battle of PC versus Mac

Those sharp eyes and the stare! (Image credit:

As he was reading his own essay on the Kraus Project, the contemporary renowned American author Jonathan Franzen showcased his bitter, cynical view towards the latest progress of the world of technology. And that makes him so much intelligently ‘sexier’ than any other authors, in my view. I’m glad that he spoke about it with utterly no regret.

During his brief reading, anyone can notice the underestimating tone he was using to explain Apple’s product that J. K. Rowling said while interviewed by Anne Pachett to have changed her own life because of its light weight. Thanks to the slim design and dimension of MacBook Air, the British writer admitted she now can write “really anywhere”.

But, Mr. Franzen begs to differ! He’s got his own belief and stance.

And I coined the term “Franzenstein” to show you how much I love this dark, studious and super serious literary monster, like one created by Frankenstein in a gothic novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (the creator’s name is commonly used to refer to his creation). He is the man who obviously escapes control (of the society’s) and destroys its creator (society too).

Franzen refers to this as “Kraus’ dichotomy” of coolness and uncoolness, content versus form.

He lashed out with his eyes swiftly sweeping the audience and entire room he was in,”Is it the essence of the Apple product that you have coolness by virtue of owning it? Doesn’t matter what you’re creating on your MacBook Air, simply using a MacBook Air and using its elegant design of hardware and software is a pleasure in itself. Like walking down the street in Paris, while we’re working on some clunky utilitarian PC, where the only thing to enjoy is the quality of your work itself… As Kraus said in its Germanic life, the PC sobers what you’re doing. It allows you to see it unadorned.”

The author again added spontaneously,”This was especially true in the years of DOS Operating System and early Windows…”

To emphasize his point, he sheepishly whispered, almost unheard,”I like DOS…”

And he didn’t want to stop there. Franzen also criticized Microsoft on how messy Windows now has become since the corporation’s engineers decided to choose the pursuit of becoming more like Macintosh in and out. As Franzen put it,”One of the developments that Kraus would decry in this essay is the Viennese dolling up the German language and culture with decorative elements imported from Romans language and culture has a correlative in more recent editions of Windows which borrow ever more features from Apple but still can’t conceal their essential and uncool Windows-ness. Worse yet, it was chasing after Apple’s elegance, they betray the old austere beauty of PC functionality.

The MacBook that Franzen says won’t stop teasing you switching from your virus-ridden, sluggish PCs.

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Writer & yogi

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