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03/13/2012

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Ben

Yeeshhh I'm addicted to my iPhone4 ... I guess I've been fucked since the day I got a phone in 6th grade ........ sometimes I even make posts on this blog via iPhone ... in between classes LOL!

Dave Cohen

@Ben

Actually, as Carter explains, heavy texting is a fairly recent behavior.

The trouble is that texting arose suddenly, not gradually: Originally included in mobile phones as a tool to enable service providers to spam their customers, it actually came to the U.S. later than most of the industrialized world. David Mercer, in his 2006 book “The Telephone: The Life Story of a Technology,” suggests that the popularity of the practice rose sharply when viewers were urged to text their votes for the winner on such television programs as “American Idol.”

American Idol started in 2002, but the texting technology wasn't robust until several years later. I seriously doubt you were doing much texting in the 6th grade, and certainly not addicted to it as kids are now. I also assume you are not in the 13-17 age group.

And of course your smart-ass reply doesn't change the truth of what I wrote.

You know, I would like to go through an entire day on Earth without somebody fucking with me. Is that too much to ask? Sadly the answer is "yes".

And today's my birthday.

-- Dave

Ben

Dave, I don't know how I can tell you that I'm not messing with other than to just say it - I'm not messing with you. I was just sort of feeling like crap for engaging in that behavior! For what it's worth I respect you too much to fuck with you.

"assume you are not in the 13-17 age group." yeah man, I'm not. I turned 21 last November.

Dave Cohen

@Ben

Well, that's good to know, but you should be aware that "messing with me" is how your comment read.

That said, I'm going to leave my reply up as a message for others, because that's pretty much the way I feel about living on Earth and especially about living in this fucking insane asylum called the United States of America.

Allow me to paraphrase George Carlin.

When you're born you're given a ticket to the freak show. And when you're born in America, you're given a front-row seat.

-- Dave

Karin Belanger

Thanks for a really thought-provoking piece, Dave. If this is true, it certainly would explain a lot of the behaviors I see every day -- people texting as they walk down the sidewalks, members of a group all texting as they walk or sit together (are they texting one another, or persons not present?), folks texting as they drive their cars.

I know that my stepmother (!) is an addict; she always has her Blackberry on and beside her, lest she miss something. You can rarely have a conversation with her that isn't subject to continual interruptions from the tiny machine.

Still, whether this and all the rest means that Western Civilization is "circling the drain" or not, let me wish you a Happy Birthday. I read you every day, and you never fail to be informative, intellectually provocative, and amusing. Thanks.

-- Karin

John Andersen

Not to mention the probability that the radiation these cell phones emit may not be good for the long term health of those who carry them close to their bodies, or put them right up against their head to talk.

Ben

@ Dave

"Well, that's good to know, but you should be aware that "messing with me" is how your comment read."

That's on me Dave. I apologize. I'll try to be more careful about the comments I make, and how they can be interpreted in the future.

"Allow me to paraphrase George Carlin.

When you're born you're given a ticket to the freak show. And when you're born in America, you're given a front-row seat."

I couldn't make this up so brace yourself Dave. There was a TV Program that was recently canceled in China called Interviews Before Execution. The show was about criminals being interviewed literally days, hours, or even minutes before being executed - that's a freak show par excellence.

http://www.newser.com/story/141650/chinas-execution-show-axed-after-west-takes-notice.html

Happy birthday Dave!

rumor

Folks who text a lot - I was going to say 'young folks' but I'm not that old and I don't have a cellphone - don't seem to understand that sprinkling communication with poor grammar and LOLs drastically undermines any possible impression of sincerity, hence leaving the impression that one is being fucked with or otherwise not being appreciated with a little polite decency. I take it Ben didn't mean it, but maybe he'll catch on now. We can hope.

For what it's worth from a stranger, happy birthday, Dave. As always, I very much appreciate your work.

Dave Cohen

@rumor

That's an excellent point you make concerning texting, tweets, and the rest, and one which we can only hope people will take to heart.

I wish.

-- Dave

chris in chicago

I do some equipment maintenance for a restaurant that has a lot of teenagers working at it. I ask most of them how much they text because they seem to be doing all the time and most say between 8 and 10 thousand per month.

I asked the owner if he ever thought of having them check there phones at the door when they come in. He said he couldnt get any body to work there then.

A Natural Mystic

Happy Birthday, Dave! Thanks for keeping us informed, engaged, and grinning through the slow, painful decline.

You've reinforced my decision to avoid all "smart" phones - I purposely bought an old, crappy cell phone that doesn't do much else aside from send and receive calls - to say nothing of Twitter, Fakebook, etc. I have also taken to reading 19th century literature, both for its own sake and to counteract the effects of internet exposure - nothing contrasts with a "tweet" quite like one of Melville's or Dostoevsky's long, meandering sentences.

By any chance have you read Gary Shteyngart's novel Super Sad Super True Love Story? It's a brilliant dystopian satire set in an all too near future where American kids are no longer taught to read books, only to "scan" "text", and colleges offer majors in subjects like "Images" and "Assertiveness". People have become so used to just texting each other that among young people, actual face to face conversation is referred to as "verballing". Also, it does have a love story. I highly recommend it to you and everyone who enjoys your blog.

Wanooski

Technological Progress, a glorious march, straight off of a cliff.

Lin S

I work in a CA public high school and have to live with this nightmare, everyday. Everything you've said is true, true, TRUE.

S P

Huxley was right. We are tranquilized with the trivial.

Kevyn

Happy birthday, Dave and thanks for all your work writing this blog! One of the few places to get some decent information.

Mister Roboto

I have a high-school friend with a daughter who is a textbook case of this. There are months where the daughter sends something in the neighborhood of 17 thousand texts a month. (If you're asking how is that even possible, that was my response.)

step back

What about excessive blog commenting by adults?

Isn't that addictive as well?

Don't we all want to feel as if we are part of some exclusive club (the iPhone owning texters versus those who must use the oh-so-yesterday talking thing, or the clued-into-Decline blog readers versus those who still don't know what we special DOE readers know)?

adam

Dave, you may feel the internet is a differnet technology, but texting and other things people do on their phones is mostly an extension of internet tech through mobile devices. Famously, many people check their email more than once an hour.

I want to be clear, I absolutely think this is a problem, but it is a difference of degree from TV, not of kind. If TV is beer, the internet is port wine, and smart phones are vodka (texting being only ONE of the bad habits promoted).

This is also probably part of why environmentalism (involving the love of the direct experience of nature) died so easily and unnoticed.

adam

Oh, Happy Birthday Dave. Keep up the good fight. This blog is one of the best out there.

Mike Roberts

rumour, you're absolutely right but don't get me started with text speak. LOL has actually become a word used in verbal speech by kids. Instead of actually laughing our loud, they say "lol". How fucked up is that?

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