Good-Bye, Rodney

Rodney O. Lain was one of the most erudite, informed, opinionated, and iconoclastic writers on the Mac Web. In other words, he thought for himself, spoke his mind, and did it well.

Rodney O. Lain, teacher, speaker, writer, iconoclast, Mac advocate

He was one of the few trained journalists writing about things Macintosh. On top of that, he was one heck of a likable guy, as my wife and I learned when we met him over dinner at Macworld San Francisco 17 months ago.

We shared a love of the Macintosh, the Mac Web, and good writing. We’d both been burned by organized religion, although we responded to that pain in different ways. We both affirmed the “think different” creed and held ideas outside of the mainstream.

Rodney fought a long battle with depression, and the darkness continued to pursue him. Rodney chose to leave that battle behind last Friday. We hope he has found the peace that so often eluded him.

Rodney drew critics like a magnet draws a compass needle. They shuddered – or even dropped him from their site – when he had the audacity to use the n-word, as in The Mac Is the “Nigger” of the Computer Industry (originally published on MacSimple). Of course, a lot of us thought it his right as an African-American (or black, or whatever word is politically correct this month – something I don’t think Rodney really concerned himself with). After all, everyone should be allowed to speak from their heritage.

Although at one point it seemed that Rodney was writing for half the Mac sites on the Web, his ongoing bouts with depression forced him to cut back. By 2002, he was an occasional contributor at The Mac Observer (Rodney’s Soapbox and iBrotha, 2000.07.28 to 2002.05.28) and Low End Mac (Things Macintosh, 1999.09.15 to 2002.04.08).

Other archives of Rodney’s Mac-related (and sometimes unrelated) musings:

Editor’s note: We’ve created our own Rodney O. Lain Archive containing articles that are no longer available on their original sites, along with his Masters thesis. This includes both his Mac-related writings and articles written about racial reconciliation, his abuse within the Worldwide Church of God, and his struggles with clinical depression.

There may have been others, but these are the ones Google can find. TMO notes that Rodney also wrote for MacConnect. I hope Rodney’s columns on MacSimple, MacAddict, and other sites have been archived somewhere rather than lost to posterity – and that the iBrotha site will be kept going for a while as a testament to Rodney’s unique vision.

Born Graphics includes Rodney among their “best writers who exhibit critical thinking on the Web.”

Rodney had been working on an article for us on the perception of race on the Internet, a response to a study that found people tended to assume others on the Net were white. His last emails to me came on June 2, 2002. “I hadn’t forgotten about the article on race and cyberspace. I’m writing it right now.”

The next message said that due to a thunderstorm, he wouldn’t be able to complete it until the following day. Now something worse than a thunderstorm has stopped Rodney from sharing his ideas. I’m grateful for the thoughts he left us. His words outlive him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Irma, Rodney’s wife, his family, his friends, and all those touched by his thoughts and hurt by this loss.

Other Articles about Rodney

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