Saturday, January 12, 2013

Trapped by Technocrappy

Norman Rockwell updated

When my son bought me an iPhone, I thought about the business I ran for thirty years with 1800 employees, none of whom had a cell phone that plays music, makes videos, takes pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. 

I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grand kids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters allowed for each item.

That was before one of my grandchildren hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting World. As a result I’ve become twitterpated, and Alas! may never recover.

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. 

I am not ready to live like this. I now keep my iPhone in the garage at the bottom of my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday, because they tell me I get lost every now and then going to the grocery store or the library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue Tooth [It's red !] phone I am supposed to use when I drive. 

I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife and everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I guess I got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dashboard, but “Mildred,” the lady inside that gadget, was the rudest, most obnoxious person I’d run into in a very long time. Every 10 minutes, she would intone sarcastically, "Re-calc-u-lating." 

You’d think that she could at least try to sound a little friendlier. It felt like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh , and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead, ... well, it was not a good relationship.

When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Mildred, at least I know she loves me.

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We’ve had them for four years already, but I still haven't figured out how I can lose three phones all at once, and why so often I have to run around digging under chair cushions, checking bathrooms and rifling through the dirty laundry baskets whenever the phone rings.

The world is just getting too damned complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves, but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those reusable cloth bags the environmentalists recommend just to avoid looking confused, but I can never remember to take them with me.

Now I toss it back to them, when they ask me, "Paper or Plastic?" I just say, "It doesn't matter to me. I’m bi-sacksual." Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look. 

I was recently asked if I tweet. I answered, No, but I do fart a lot." 

We senior citizens don't need any more gadgets. The TV remote and the automatic garage door opener are  all we can handle.

~ Anolte Furbo-Fascisto 


  1. Technology is grand -- until it isn't.

    I find it disconcerting to be enjoying a party only to look around to see so many people checking their devices so frequently that they can't engage in much conversation with the people right in front of them. The Twilight Zone has arrived!

    And NONE of it really makes our lives better! :-)
    Good find, FT! xx

  3. No way I'm giving up my iPod touch.

    I have thousands of songs, dozens of podcasts, the complete poems of Dickinson, Eliot, Lowell.

    Film reminders for shows at the Brattle, MFA and Harvard Film Archives.

    Reminders, my address book

    The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy audio book.

    MBTA alerts.

    A slew of apps and games.

    An art history course, a medieval history course.

    This thing rocks.

  4. Yes, indeed, like so many, many other aspects of modern life:

    Technology may
    Be as great as they say,
    But it wouldn't be missed
    If it didn't exist?

  5. Ducky,

    All of that is great if you're trapped on a desert island or in some redneck community of corn-husking yahoos, but as long as "the real thing" is still available, it's MUCH better to socialize and experience cultural events directly than through this electronic medium.

    Why should any of us live the life of a virtual shut-in before we have to? That IS what's happening to us whether we like it or not.

  6. That was funny and true in many ways.

    FT, I'm sure Ducky will tell you he is trapped in a community of corn-husking yahoos. He's become one of them.

  7. Last night, Mr. AOW and I attended THIS CONCERT at the Washington National Cathedral. Not the best concert I've ever attended, but still quite a wonderful experience, particularly in a cathedral.

    As I said at my own site earlier today (Many of the people obsessed with their devices were not of the younger set)...

    Last night, it came home to me just how wacky Americans have become. Mr. AOW and I went to the Washington National Cathedral for a concert. During the intermission, instead of walking around and soaking up the wonderful atmosphere inside that cathedral, so many people were playing with their iPhones! Hell, some were even leaving their seats during the concert so as to access their iPhones; mostly these people seemed to be accessing their email or updating their Twitter accounts. Sheesh.

  8. The "virtual" social space has surpassed the geographic / architectural public space. The consequences to society have yet to be assessed. Man's isolation is almost complete.

    ...divided we fall.

  9. The >derive of the virtual is irresistible. Psychogeography, and the lure of the derive in "social spaces" has been rendered "virtually" obsolete.

  10. Social spaces are being both physically and cybernetically designed to prevent people from "massing", for the masses constitute a threat to bureaucratic social orders.

  11. The object of the Society of Control is to allow the people the freedom to passively explore an infinite number and variety of "texts"... but the ability to "author" and/or "alter" none of them.

  12. The internet is the "ideal" forum for this project. For like the "birds" in Aristophane's classic story, the bureaucrats are in the ideal position to "intercept" and/or "restrict" all "smoke" offerings to the gods.



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