I guess I’m just old skool

TV’s, I-Pod’s, mp3 players, netflix, fresh direct, amazon.com, ATM’s, drive thru coffee houses, GPS systems, digital cameras etc….. I hate them, I say I hate them and continue to cringe every time I see someone trying to navigate through the streets using their damned GPS in their car or another commercial showing how happy everyone is now that they have an I-Pod and all the other joys of the digital age. First it was cell phones now its cell phone cameras. I cringe when I see a couple walking down a beautiful street, on beautiful day while both of them talk on their phones ignoring one another- or those bastards that check their cell phones for messages missed during a movie or concert, or those people that rave about their 10,000 downloaded music albums, or those people that use GPS systems to hike a simple 5 mile day hike, or those that show their friends the latest pictures they took with their cell phones.

I must be some rabid anti-conformist, you must be mumbling to yourself and you know what they say about anti-conformists “all you anti-conformists are the same”. Well I am not anti-conformist but I do abhor this digital society that has taken over in the last few years. I feel that the digital society is creating the American dream of ultimate passivity. First it was the television that created the large percentages of obese people that exist in America today. We Americans sit like zombies in front of our TV’s until after we fall asleep, most of us need to have it on when we sleep, and most of us cannot live without one. We have gone from basic cable to plans with 1000 channels and the ability to fast forward the commercials and you know what? Many people still watch the basic channels even though they have 1000 others to choose from, why is this? TV is the ultimate form of passivity, information is thrown at you and you have no control over it- unlike GASP books or news papers that offer you choice TV forces information and views down your throat with no talk back from its viewers. I hate TV for this reason and many others including the crap that it feeds our youngsters. Just look at what MTV has turned into and you need not have to wonder any more. How many times have people asked me how I find so much time to go out and do things after an 8 hour day of work. I respond with the simple fact that most people’s lives are completely devoted to prime time TV and the 3 hours before it since they got off work. Many folks I know come home from a long day at the office- pop in a microwave meal and plop down on the couch- every night of their working existence.

Why do I-pods bother me so much? It seems that I-pods are more convenient and why would someone want to carry around all their cd’s when you could have them all on a little digital device. I will tell you a few reasons, personal reasons. First of all the I-Pod takes away the connection people have with the music- instead of going to a record store schmoozing with the dude with the green Mohawk about the latest metal album- one enters into a state of passivity with the convenience of downloading music- they forgo the process of selecting music- because it is all at their finger tips- basically this ruins the personal connection with the music. The accumulation of thousands of albums forces many into downloading mode where they rarely listen to the music they have and become rabid down-loaders rarely listening and appreciating the music they have on hand. The other problem with I-pods is the fact they feature built in obsolescence. They are built to die- their batteries costing almost $100 last for a year, the machines themselves don’t last very long and the technology is constantly being developed to the point where your machine is worthless and incompatible with newer ones as time goes on. Hard copies of music force the listener to appreciate whole albums and whatever lost songs may exist beyond the few hits that artist may have had. Hard copies of music also don’t lose their value since cd players are readily available. What happens when you drop your I-Pod and lose all your music? What happens when the software changes? Yeh I know Ill receive tons of comments about how I don’t know what I am talking about- but I did almost buy one until I found out that it is unlikely it will last- with the amount of music I listen to- for more then three years I have had some of my cd’s for 15 years and they work perfectly.

My qualms with digital cameras are almost exactly the same- it is kind of like the philosophy of bolt action vs. semi-auto, with semi auto you don’t focus as much attention because you know another shot is coming right up, but with bolt action you must concentrate to get the one shop in the chamber to its mark. Digital cameras take the fun away from photography, and the passion. Just take as many pictures as you want and erase the rest. Its like no one feels connected or remembers the story behind the picture. Furthermore, like I-Pods the technology makes your camera obsolete every three years. My camera is from 1977 and still works perfectly and takes way better pictures then digital cameras. Its also very pleasing to feel like “you are” doing something. Holding that manual, film camera and hearing it click and knowing that light is being captured on something real is a great feeling- and it is a feeling- it seems that digital pictures have no feeling. Just my thoughts.

We have become a society that relies on digital items to do our tasks and this has brought upon us extreme laziness, and the inability to do basic tasks such as read a map or go into a bank to withdraw money or look up words in a dictionary. Books, newspapers, non-digital music, maps, and anything that is not self serve are going the way of the Caribou. Even services like netflix, fresh direct, amazon or ebay- have further helped our society become lazy, boring, passive, impassionate and obese. These services help folks stay inside on their asses while they search for bargains online. Gone are the days when one went to the video store and argued with fellow customers about which Godfather was the best one, gone are the days when one would actually go out buy food and cook it thanks to fresh direct, and gone are the days of the hunt for antiques in rural garage sales and flea markets. Gone are the days of the independent bookstore stocking obscure books that were gasp- not on the New York Times bestseller list. Gone are the days when people walked around browsed and didn’t know what they would find. We have become so uniform with our big box suburban stores and online shopping that guarantees that our item we want will be there whenever we want it. This sucks frankly- what is the fun in shopping if there is no work and everything is 100% there. Maybe I am just old school or crazy you tell me.

The lazyness will only get worse as people forgo natural activities for the digital “feel like we have more time” lifestyle. Do we have more time due to these conveniences? It seems like people are more depressed and pissed off then ever. What’s the deal with all the commercials for anti-depressants? I just cant take it anymore. Every time I see someone yakking on their phone while others are trying to enjoy themselves I get pissed, every time I see someone showing their photo albums that they have on their cameras I get pissed, every time I see a girl walking clutching their phone in one hand and purse in the other I get pissed, every time I see a commercial showing every one happy with their I-Pods in their own worlds I get pissed, every time I see someone downloading music I get pissed- I guess its my nature. By pissed I don’t mean I am mad- I actually just feel bad for society and their obese selves, passing away time in front of their computers trying to meet people through an artificial setting such as myspace and listening to music for which they merely had to push a button for.

Ok there’s my rant.