In the darkest days of the 1990s, the Mac user community was a corpus of people absolutely committed to defending and perpetuating a technology, a sociology and a way of life. Somewhere in the post-1997, post-iMac, post-Mac OS X and post-iPod world, Apple came good. The eternal victim became the unimpeachable behemoth. Along the way, we were given these weapons from America. The iMac, the iPod, Mac OS X. Now we think of ourselves as armed and thus invulnerable, yet still unimpeachable due to our prior victim status.
There was a time when the Mac community didn't have time to engage in idle speculation. We were too busy doing what we could to keep the platform alive - helping each other get by in a Windows world, getting Macs accepted and connected to the wider infrastructure.
Nowadays, it seems, what used to be called the "Mac web" is filled with what appears to be loudmouthed and naive children. It's increasingly difficult to find that sense of community where informed, level-headed and smart people can help you get your stuff done. If you need some evidence, visit the fora at MacNN or Ars Technica and look for threads which contain anything more than a hint of criticism of Apple. Then behold the wrath of the peanut gallery. Curiously the Finder - the Emmanuel Goldstein of Mac OS X - is exempted from this computational Political Correctness.
Where did it all fall apart? The media characterised us as the Apple Cult. They were wrong then, but we're now playing up to the stereotype even as the media tires of the image. People have fetishised Apple hardware to the point that Apple is not permitted to have the usual failure rates of mass production, yet we demand the machines to be price-competitive with Dell. Children - egged on by Apple, I might add ("crash proof" MacBook? Hardly.) - have made unsupportable claims for Mac OS X that no human engineering effort can live up to.
I believe we have the overall best OS on hardware that is no longer lagging behind that of others. A strong case can be made for it.
That does not imply that Mac OS X is perfect. Is is not and all such claims should be refuted. Apple products are good. They do work well. However, the software is not perfect and the hardware will fail. You demanded price/performance competitive hardware and you got it. Steve Jobs is not some kind of demigod who can defy the normal trade-offs of engineering and manufacturing.
A period of humility and realism on the part of the Mac community would be most welcome. I and many others fought hard in the 1990s for your freedom of choice in computing. Don't waste it through ad hominem attacks on anyone who doesn't like the Dock.