Globe columnist Tabatha Southey insists, in a column that made her Toronto journo chums misty-eyed, that the Macintosh allowed her to write despite her learning disabilities.

At 21, I bought a Macintosh computer and it was like giving someone with terrible eyesight her first pair of glasses. In many ways the field was levelled…. I needed a prosthetic limb for the parts of myself that failed me, and Steve Jobs – with his insistence that computers be intuitive and responsive, and his uncanny sense of what that meant – made Apple products exactly that.

This makes no sense whatsoever. Is Southey trying to say that she tried using MS-DOS and couldn’t? She preferred the Macintosh desktop user inteface? She kept on preferring it even after Microsoft sold a rival UI?

Is she trying to say that Macs had unique adaptive technologies that would allow her to spell better and write better? In fact, the preponderance of such utilities work on Windows and always have (including Toronto-made WiViK and WordQ, the latter now in a Mac version). Moreover, there was a gap of a full decade in which Macs were essentially inaccessible to every disabled person.

If Southey’s problem is bad spelling (a problem she shares with Peggy), how do a mouse and pull-down menus help?

My answer: They don’t. What she’s really saying is her Mac allowed her to enjoy using a computer for the first time, which removed a number of painful associations that writing used to hold for her. (No more pads and pens, no more typewriters.)

Because she promoted her own column on Google Plus (one of its few plausible uses, I gather), I asked her there what she was talking about and got no response.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.10.10 12:41. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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