Hello boys and girls, here's sending you DVR dreams and iPodelicious wishes. Finding the life electronic overwhelming? I'm thinking of starting a neo-Luddite movement. That's right, down with technology! So first steps first, let me put it out on my blog, tweet my friends, and oh yeah, gotta facebook that sucker....damn.
When was the last time you turned it all off? Tried living without the boob tube for a week? Put down, GASP!!!! the cell phone?! Clearly, as I'm blogging this, I may myself have a problem. But it amazes me that the principal increases in technology seem to be moving more and more to expose people to constant communication, and the end result is (once again, GASP....yeah...) mindless drivel.
Is my life so bad that I need four hours of TV a day, PS3, radio in my car, iPod at work, twenty-three text messages an hour, email, the web, a blog, a blackberry, and my cell phone to distract me from it? Do I really need the latest up to the minute news about the Jonas brothers' insulin pumps to maintain a social life?
How about you? Can you sleep at night without the radio or TV on? Does having the radio off in your car make you uncomfortable? How many times have you gotten in trouble at work for having a dead cell phone? Do you have a kid under 10 with his own computer? Cell phone?
What's particularly shocking to me, is the rapid rate at which technological bread and circuses are infiltrating our lives. Telegraph was early, how many decades to Marconi's radio? Then the first big TV event was the Olympics in Hitler's Berlin. Even when I was a kid, late seventies, early eighties, many people didn't own TVs. I think I have six. I'm not sure.
I can remember my first Commodore, the briefcase cell phones, the Atari, my first CD at age 16. Now it's something new every year. Social lives seem to have dwindled down to nothing. Offline anyways. And yet, with all the constant communication, education is dying in our nation. We have vast expanses of knowledge literally at our fingertips (god bless the wikipedia, the new library at Alexandria), yet remain incredibly ignorant. With the power to communicate to millions, what do we chose as our favorites on TV? American idol, Survivor, reruns of Jackass......well, you get the picture.
My old friend, Farenheit 451 starts with a quote essentially that you don't have to burn books if you can get people to stop reading them. Heinlein maintained that the downfall of any society could be directly correlated to a downfall in manners, and satirically, that those who chose to ignore politeness were worthy of instant mortality. (On a related topic, did you know that politeness comes from the old Greek word for city, polis. Polite in it's older form means someone who acts civilized, or belonging in a city, like policeman means man of the city.)
At any rate, I too am one of the great unwashed masses, with the same access to instant fame and fortune (clearly) as the rest of you. Screw it all. I'm joining the Amish. Pictures of the barnraising and my beard coming in will be posted on Myspace.
(unless otherwise noted, this article was written on organic foolscap using a goosequill pin and iron gall ink. please note that no geese were harmed in the writing of this blog, and PETA members were on hand both to ensure no animal cruelty, and to provide their caps as noted above.)