Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Luddite Manifesto

I do not 'Twitter'.

The very name itself sounds like a synonym for "incessant, meaningless babble".  I cannot imagine anyone, except perhaps my dog, who would find a constant play-by-play of my life, in 140-characters-or-less messages at a time, the least bit compelling.  I have yet to find myself in a situation where I absolutely need to communicate a 140-characters-or-less message to anyone, unless that person was in the room with me, i.e. "My clothes are on fire.  Please put them out."

I do not 'Facebook'.

I am immediately wary of any noun that suddenly attains verb status.  Any one growing up in the ‘70’s remembers this happening with "dialogue", which morphed from a sophisticated way of saying "a conversation" into "using vague terms to dance around important issues, in order to accomplish or decide on absolutely nothing".  Now everyone is "Facebooking", spending hours on their personal Facebook page, much the same as folks used to do on their "personal home page", and it’s not the slightest bit more interesting.  Since I already keep in touch with everyone I care about, I am not in the least interested in maintaining a Facebook page or becoming the "friend" of people I don’t know or haven’t heard from in years, and I certainly have no desire to keep myself informed on the minutia of the daily lives of such "friends".  I received an email through the site about a month ago from "Steve".  We were basketball teammates in high school, and though we barely knew each other, he wrote to urge me to "get on Facebook, man!!"  Yeah, I’ll be sure to sign right up.  I have neither heard from nor thought about you in 25 years, but I sure am interested in keeping up with what your favorite breakfast cereal is.

I do not 'Instant Message'.

Want to have a real-time back-and-forth correspondence with me?  Great.  Pick up the damn phone.

I do not 'Text'.

This is largely for the same reasons as my avoidance of Twitter and IM, with the added rationale being that I didn’t pay for texting on my cell phone plan, and every text I receive costs me money.  Also, the texting and IM craze is turning America into a nation of grammatical morons.  Every once in a while, someone tells me, "Jerry, you are such a good writer."  I used to think that this meant "Jerry, you write interesting things in a thoughtful, compelling manner."  Now, I take it to mean "Jerry, in your writing you use elements I rarely see anymore, like words and punctuation."  Yes, it’s true: I prefer my written communication to be in complete thoughts, using actual words.  I don’t want to know WUD, if MWBRL, if you’re CRBT, or DOS.  I have no desire to be LOL, or LMAO.  I think the whole IM, Twitter, and text message thing is a CWOT, and IHBTTDOTTJAFDOSAATUTMAWA**.

[**- I Have Better Things To Do Than To Jabber All Freaking Day One Sentence At A Time Using The Most Asinine Method Available.]

I do not own a Blackberry or iPhone.

My cell phone cannot not play movies, surf the web, or play music.  At home, I have a TV for watching movies, a computer to surf the web, and a stereo for playing music.  If I leave home, it is because I want to do something other than watch a movie, surf the web, or play music.  "OK," you would say, "but what if you have to wait in line or in a waiting area...then what?"  Oh, heavens!  God forbid that I’m not able to watch Braveheart for the 43rd time or retreat into my little world of my music.  I might actually have to talk to someone or read a magazine not tailored to my interests that I otherwise wouldn’t read.  The horror.  If I absolutely must, my cell phone will allow me to access sports scores and movie times, and if I need to go to the bathroom while out shopping, I can play Tetris while sitting on the john.  That’s all a man really needs.

I do not own a Playstation 3, Xbox 360, or a Wii.

Once I got married, and was now living with an adult who spends her time at home either a) doing productive things, or b) watching reasonably intelligent TV programs, I felt like an idiot playing video games in my living room.  I do, however, own a few other "home entertainment systems":  they’re called "books".

I have never played Guitar Hero.

Here’s an idea for all the Guitar Hero aficionados out there:  what if, instead of spending hours mastering the video game, you spent those same hours, you know, learning how to play an actual guitar?  Might be a bit more fulfilling, no?

Hell, for 4 years, I didn’t even have a radio in my car.

It is possible, and even preferable, for me to drive my automobile, alone with my thoughts, and just enjoy letting my mind wander.  I do not recommend this for people under 25 and/or Obama supporters, as their minds are too small to be out wandering alone.

If someone needs to reach me, I have a simple cell phone, an e-mail address, this blog, and a mailbox.  That’s all.  That’s enough.  If something important happens, I know how to get in touch with the people who may care.

Other than my wife, none of these people live close enough to me to do anything other than pray, though in case of my death they may want to know as soon as possible so that they can get a head start on coming up with excuses to skip the funeral.

I eagerly await the development of new technologies, so that I may ignore them too.

So there.



  • Thanks for following through on this, Jerry. I was looking forward to reading it after our last conversation!!

    By Anonymous Kristen, at Wednesday, April 15, 2009 8:45:00 PM  

  • My are we grumpy? Lent penance get to you? The Easter Octave just ended.
    I gather you are bothered by people texting you and so forth. I too do not have a text plan, and very very few people have my cell phone #.
    I enjoy yours and Tom's blog and reading about my teenage granddaughter on Facebook. I can't imagine a world (even in the car) without music.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, April 21, 2009 12:49:00 AM  

  • Grumpy? Moi?

    My Lenten penance - to abstain from bubble baths with Shania Twain and Jessica Alba, same as every year - didn't get me down too much, though I hear Jessica was nearly in tears over it. Lynda was pretty happy about it, though, so it evened out.

    Mostly, I don't like the idea that we NEED - and seem increasingly expected - to be "plugged in" and "reachable" at all times. It seems like the movie theater is one of the final frontiers of "unreachable" places, though I have noticed more and more folks accessing email during a movie.

    By Blogger Jerry, at Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:31:00 AM  

  • It does seem a bit off-putting to watch people seemingly talking to themselves. Being a psychologist, at first (5-10 yrs. ago) I thought I was witnessing someone in trouble when standing next to someone in the grocery store talking to themselves..(I thought)
    Well Jerry, since 9/11 and the D.C. area sniper I feel strongly compelled to stay available to my daughter, and my grandkids, not to mention my hubby...hence the cell phone...but I too, believe they are used way too much and inappropriately as when they ring in Church.
    As always,
    P.S. I don't even know who you mean by those names..that is how out of touch I am. I gather they are celebrities of some sort?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:54:00 PM  

  • AC:

    Jessica Alba is an actress. She is quite well known for her beauty, which is a good thing, because she is a mediocre actress and is somewhat of a flake. To her credit, she has been smart enough not to appear nude or even topless in any of her movies: moral implications aside, once an actress takes off her clothes and the mystery is gone, people start to notice her shortcomings as an actress that they were willing to overlook before.

    Shania Twain is a country music star, who unlike a lot of country music stars today, writes her own songs. The first time I ever saw her, on a country music video station on a TV in the basement of Fisher Hall at Notre Dame, I thought to myself "I have GOT to move down south." She's my age, and she still looks terrific. Recently, her husband of 15 years, producer Mutt Lange, cheated on her with their nanny. Since I would not even consider cheating on the equally stunning Lynda, Mr. Lange's reign as the stupidest man who has ever lived will be quite lengthy.

    By Blogger Jerry, at Wednesday, April 22, 2009 11:16:00 AM  

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