The Neo-Luddites

I just saw a meme, which perhaps I’m taking a bit too seriously because maybe it was just meant for humor’s sake, but it’s part of a larger meme (what used to be called a meme before internet memes became a common thing and the word was stolen) about how old objects are somehow superior to new objects. It was an old-timey telephone, sitting on top of a pedestal, and on the pedestal was printed “When the phones were tied down, people were free.”
No, we weren’t. I remember having to look for a pay phone, and then you had to have change. I remember getting to a place on time and then waiting, and waiting, and having no idea if the person would show up in 15 minutes, or ever. Mobile phones, while some people might be more addicted to them than is good, have made our lives easier, by a lot.
Typewriters are another one that tends to fill people with nostalgia. I remember ribbons that got twisted constantly, using white out to make corrections, and after you’d typed something up, all you had was a paper version which, if you wanted anyone to see it, you had to show them. Today, if I write a poem, I put it online immediately, and thousands of people can see it. Mostly, they get ignored, but that’s really O.K. It is much easier to deal with thousands of anonymous people ignoring my poems anonymously than reading them aloud to friends, who would then do their best to ignore them but it could get awkward at times.
People talk about how print books are better than e-books ‘because they love the smell, and the feel of the paper, which seems a bit strange to me. The important thing about books are the words and stories they have inside them – which comes across just fine on Kindle, or any other e-book platform.
I suppose nostalgia has always been with us and childhood is one of the more popular stages of life, but to say we’re worse off because of all the cool gadgets we have today strikes me as ridiculous and unappreciative.
I must admit, I am not exactly an early adapter, and there is a lot about computers and other tech devices that I don’t understand, but I am not a luddite.
Technology, used properly, makes our lives better. Much better.

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