Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

iPods and the future of social interaction

Jerry Stratton, April 26, 2005

Scott at Luxagraf has written a much better article (and was nice enough to link back to Mimsy) about the same thing I wrote about in “End of Society”.

Why is it astonishing that a generation which finds itself bombarded with advertising and the crass commercial commodification of public space at every turn would want an isolationist bubble?

What Mr. Naughten seems to ignore is the second to last sentence of his own nightmare, one that has nothing to do with headphones and everything to do with cultural changes that precede the iPod “moving from one retail opportunity to another.” This is fast becoming the sum total of our public spaces--retail opportunities.

...the iPod allows us an escape from the so-called public space.

Scott also addresses my quoting Joni Mitchell: “the more out of tune voices the better.”

I for one would much rather everyone carried around a pair of speakers with their iPod and blasted them at 11 so music became a truly public space. But apparently I am alone in this desire and there are noise ordinances against this sort of thing.

The more out of tune voices the better. That’s what the blogosphere is: a cacaphony of out of tune voices. Even combined, they still sound horrible, and yet, as when the barflies in Rick’s Cafe Americaine burst out in La Marseillaise, there is a beauty in it because of the freedom and passion of individual voices.

I found it interesting that Scott admits to keeping headphones on specifically to ignore people. I would never do that--it lessens the effectiveness. I don’t have noise-canceling headphones, just the standard iPod earbuds. I can hear you. I can hear conversations, traffic, even the damn musak at the supermarket. If the musak is too loud, I have to remove the headphones; it’s an unsatisfying Solomonic gesture.

Some of the articles Scott references are funny in their own insular way. “a generation lost in its personal space”? That title just screams “I am boomer, hear me whine”. Go sit on a fucking candlestick, ya dork.

In response to Society never ends, it just fades away: Andrew Sullivan writes about the “end of society” brought on by our ability to choose our own communities.