The Best Video Evidence Yet That Apple is a Cult

Yeah, it's a familiar refrain by now; Apple is a cult. Its shiny products and aesthetic inspire slavish devotion amongst fans, its Stores are bastions of eerily synchronized helpfulness, and workers are willing to accept lower wages and fewer benefits...

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Nov 13 2012, 4:45pm

Yeah, it’s a familiar refrain by now; Apple is a cult. Its shiny products inspire slavish devotion amongst fans, its Stores are bastions of eerily synchronized helpfulness, and workers are willing to accept lower wages and fewer benefits just to bask in the glow cast by iPads. The tech media isn’t shy about drawing the comparison; the Week ran the listicle 5 Signs that Apple is a Cult not too long ago.

But all that’s intended as tongue-in-cheek hyperbole; haha, look at how obsessed with Apple people are! Now this, a video documenting the opening of the first Apple Store in Sweden, this is something else altogether.

This is something closer to actual religiosity. This is a ritual, this is communion. This is Jesus camp. You stop laughing at the participants halfway through and kind of just stare at it. It’s kind of troubling.

And it’s even creepier when set to twee indie music intended to advertise the debacle.

Swedes were weirded out, too. The Wall Street Journal headline reads Apple Store Opening Make Swedes Feel Awkward, and the story notes that the “clapping and cheering of Apple Store retail employees caused a storm on social media in the northern country, with many likening the enthusiasm with that of a cult or sect.” WSJ points to a tweet of a prominent radio producer: “On behalf of my country I apologize to the world for these scenes at the opening of an Apple store near Stockholm.”

Don’t apologize, sir—scenes like this regularly spill forth from our own native Apple Stores. And let’s not be quick to mock it, either, though what is captured above is clearly ridiculous. Because it’s also genuine. Some of what’s propelling this cult of consumerism is the sincere exhilaration people feel for being part of what they perceive to be the future; they get to usher in the age of beautiful, convenience-enhancing technology. They get to hold the artifacts in their hands, they get to share it with, or rather, sell it to others.

Sure, we can scoff at them or decry their hollow worship of corporate products. But we should be spending more time looking at the psychological implications here, since it’s no longer that much of a stretch to discuss Apple as we would a cult. And it’s another thing altogether to figure out how to get everyone to stop drinking the Kool-aid.