Sunday, August 14, 2011

And their music? It's just noise

Never underestimate the power of journalism to comfort the comfortable, afflict the afflicted and belabor the obvious. Here, the Sunday Freep devotes its 2A commentary space to ... those pesky cell phones*!

Has any product ever grown so fast, changed so many things ... and caused so many problems?

Well, there's radio. (There's printing,** for that matter.) There's powered flight. There's fission, which when loaded into powered flight and dropped on other people changes a lot of things and causes a lot of problems. So these modern problems must be really, really serious:

For instance, there is nothing else we must be admonished to not use at the movies, theaters or in church.*** Without such admonitions, there is nothing that so easily distracts us from whatever we are supposed to be doing wherever we are, such as driving, watching a hockey game or going out on a dinner date. Why is whatever's coming in on the phone suddenly more important than whoever is sitting across the table?


If you sit in meetings, classrooms or conference sessions, you know that at least every third person is devoting more attention to the phone at hand than to the subject at issue.

Get off my lawn, you kids! But there's more. Cell phones make people send pictures of their naughty bits to other people. Cell phones make you lazy and stupid because "there's an app" for crossword puzzles and driving directions.

... It seems the developing world is better for cell phones, but here in advanced society, I wonder. They are contributing to our physical, intellectual and moral decline, as well as creating hazards.

In short, all this communicating makes us worse at really communicating -- just as those pesky lines and squiggles on paper killed real storytelling, and those darn newesletters destroyed the art of coffee house conversation, and txting mrdred English kthxbai. Somewhere, Gutenberg is shaking his head in dismay, until he gets back to his Sunday column on those kids and their darn harpsichords.

* The online hed is strangely specific: "Ron Dzwonkowski: Cell phone proliferation aids developing world revolutions, causes problems in U.S."
** It took about 70 years for news of "Wineland" to reach Germany after Leif Eriksson got home. News of Columbus's voyages took about two months to reach Italy after his return to Spain.
*** This is one tangled bit of coordination, isn't it?

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Oh, yeah? He's never been told not to read at the table or in church? Probably not at the movies, 'cause it's dark there...

10:24 AM, August 15, 2011  

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