Remembering Mac writer Rodney O. Lain
It was six years ago this week that the Mac world lost a prolific Macintosh advocate, and I lost a friend. Rodney Lain, popular writer for Mac sites AppleLinks, The Mac Observer, MacAddict, and our own MyMac.com, died on June 16th, 2002.
A controversial writer from the start, Rodney loved nothing more than to stir the hornets’ nest. He was very good at knowing which buttons to push in his readers to get them so hopping mad that they would leave the most vicious email in his in-box, or post after post on message boards and forums around the world. Very few writers could get away with using the dreaded and racist “N” word in an article to describe the state of the Mac faithful. But Rodney could, and did.
He took a lot of flak over the years, weathering it all as the professional he was. Rodney never got rich from his writing, nor did it lead to any more high-profile opportunities, he continued to write even at the height of his depression. A depression that ultimately led to his death, at his own hands.
Rodney was also a religious man, even after being excommunicated from his church years before. The reasons are not important now, but it did leave a lasting impression on him. Rather than simply fading from view, Rodney joined the Mac web writers in evangelizing the Mac platform as he once did preaching the word of Christ. And with equal fervor.
Very few sites or articles exist today about Rodney. Sure, there are a few out there, most posted or written days after his death. Even Wired Magazine had a brief write-up on Rodney after he died. I have written a few articles since, including my much-read initial article on his suicide, as well as the mostly overlooked MacDaddy tribute to him.
As one of the only Black writers on the Mac web, Rodney was a minority within a minority. He never hid his race behind the keys of his keyboard, instead reveling in his race and computing platform of choice.
When Rodney saw something he did not like, be it a perceived error by Apple Computer, Inc., or another article he disagreed with, Rodney wrote with a “pull no punches” style that was very popular with his many readers.
Today, six years later, is the anniversary of his death. I hope to at least see some other website acknowledge it, though I don’t expect to. Without looking back, we cannot move forward. Rodney brought a unique voice to the Mac web, one that has yet to be duplicated.
Thanks, Rodney, for everything. I hope you know, wherever you are, that you are not forgotten.