Smash All The Phones!

Was it Aristotle who said several thousand years ago that the youth of today are lost or something to that effect? That was the perception way back then and it seems each generation shares much of this estimate. Only speaking for my generation, the "youth" of the 60s and 70s so twisted our culture that we are still living with those actions and results in the form of what you see in the crippled American Government. Seems the 70s bloom brought us the beginnings of the MTV mob and mind set which can pretty much be summed up with, "You owe it to me. Give it to me. What? Reciprocate? Me? I want it now!".

Suddenly there appeared on the scene a small thing, carried in almost everyone's pockets, which has had such an impact on civilization and culture as to virtually turn the world into a great mass of boors. That "thing" is the mobile phone, now referred to as "my cell".

I look about me today, any day, and all I see are people, primarily young, between, oh say, 6 to 35 or so, peering at wee screens, their fingers and thumbs a blur on wee keyboards. Groups of school kids walk along without speaking but wearing the blinders of the "Cell Phone". They seldom look up, they seldom speak. They almost NEVER answer direct questions, preferring rather to play with their damned "cell phones". Oh, its not just kids. Drive anywhere and watch empty headed drivers with cell phones firmly attached to their heads, often swerving from lane to lane, missing stop signs. Yep, its against the law but then so is the use of dope and that sure doesnt stop them from continuing their activities. Sit in a cinema, in the dark, and you are constantly interrupted by someone opening their cell phone and illuminating the area and speaking over the dialogue of the film. Sit in a restaurant and look about you. Phones firmly attached. Stand in any queue and what do you see? Cell Phones. Conversation is almost always limited to what the user can fit in between texting and talking. When my family comes to visit, their visits now pretty much consist of each one of them sitting in silence and playing with their damned cell phones. On my birthday I advised that I was going to go in my shed and get my hammer and smash every cell phone I saw in use in my living room. A tittering of snickers which was followed up in mere moments by these same people going back to their damned texting, etc. It reminds me of those "waves" you see at sports stadiums where people stand up and sit down to imitate a wave all around the area. As soon as they sit back down the resume their prior activities. Ask them a question and you are almost always met with, "Huh?" because you have ceased to be part of their world.

The "cell phone" seems to almost single handedly, turned much of our nation into a nation of BOORS. Oh, for those of you who have no idea what that word means, it is uncouth and ill-bed people lacking in culture or refinement. Yep. BOORS. I am at a loss to define these activities in any other way. At least one can carry on a limited conversation with a doper. Even if extremely busy, ideas and concept can be exchanged with busy people. Pretty hard to do the same with someone intensely involved with their cell phone. Remember, wearing those blinders, YOU just dont exist except in small snippets. Their text pals are always far more important than you and this is evident in their near inability to look away and talk or specifically to turn off the damned machine.  You Just Dont Exist.

What does this say for, in Aristotle's estimation, today's youth, for, in fact, nearly everyone? Not very much. Oh, I have a phone. I use it to MAKE PHONE CALLS. If I must contact someone, there it is. I speak with them at the time then Disconnect. My daughter is, and this is just my personal observation, one of the greatest offenders in this regard. Nearly 50 years old and she, like the other 12 year olds she seems to emulate, is constantly on the phone either talking or texting. Especially whilst driving! I refuse to ride in her car because of this seemingly unbreakable habit.

And what is sad is that, if you even bother to read this piece and sit and ponder it, you will probably pick your phone back up and begin texting, just like everyone else. Have YOU ever stopped to look at yourself and what you are doing? Have you ever considering your boorish actions when with close friends and family? Of course not. Remember - They Dont Exist In Your World. And that is sad. Think about this: One day that family member will be gone and you'll sure never have an opportunity to put down that phone then and have a meaningful conversation. They didnt exist then and they sure wont one of these days. Jeepers! What would we do without our cell phones? Well, we sure wouldnt be a nation of BOORS, thats one thing.

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Comment by Kevin G George on August 29, 2013 at 2:20pm

You're correct about all that, but throwing out the music art and literature of that time is the baby with bath water.

I like Frank Sinatra as much as anyone but I'm glad rock and roll came along when it did. I like Hemingway and Steinbeck as much as anyone but I'm glad Jack Kerouac and Hunter Thompson came along.

It was a turning point in American culture, mostly bad but where would we be without the good stuff to balance it out?

My apologies for the treatment you received, truly a black mark on America.

Comment by David Stanley on August 29, 2013 at 1:56pm

Kevin, I have given thought to your mention of "Flower Power", The term, coined by Allen Ginsberg, referred to the so-called "peaceful" anti-war movement. It also referred to the culture of "If you dig it, do it" and "If it feels good, do it!". This "why cant everybody get along" attitude rapidly degenerated into a nation-wide culture of permissiveness and anti-everything. Originating in Berkeley, this "movement" was adopted by any and all who were anti-government and particularly anti-military. I know. I was on the receiving end of this crap both in the military and as a police officer. This "movement" spawned the 60s and 70s radicals and bombers so inspiring to today's "president". This "movement" spawned the peudo-intellectuals who later became the politicians that run the country today and one can actually see the 60s and 70s "movement" in their actions, speeches, demands, and in general their day to day absurdities. Witness the Clintons, who proclaimed that they "loathed the military" and then used that same military for personal purposes, like bombing aspirin factories when Bubba was caught literally with his britches down. "If you dig it do it!" The morals, or lack thereof, the absence of honesty, of integrity, of any sense of right or wrong so long as their personal agenda is promoted and accomplished, is being played out today with the support of feeble minded supporters who know little or nothing about why these things happen or how they evolved. I will admit, there were some good things coming out of "Flower Power". Music was pretty good. People, however, generally dressed like filthy circus clowns and quite literally STANK. Politicians, like Johnson and his mob, continued to destroy the military with the constant tampering resulting in over 58,000 deaths. Have to tell you though, being spat upon, both as a returning veteran and as a cop battling the frequent riots, I was and continue to be pretty jaded and very little can be said that can convince me of "The Good Things" about the "Flower Power" movement.

Comment by Kevin G George on August 29, 2013 at 9:06am

David, read it and agree with almost everything.

I would only argue the minor point that the effects of the " Flower Power" decade were both good and bad. Other than that the damage of this cell phone tsunami is ubiquitous as you have stated so well.

But this is so typical of American culture( and therefore almost all modern cultures), take something that is legitimately useful or enjoyable and then do it, and do it, and do it until it becomes  overdone to the point where it is no longer enjoyable and its uses are subverted, as in this case, to the point of damage.

I have said it for years: " Americas favorite pass time is finding something that works, then doing it until it doesn't anymore". This is closely related to our propensity to improve good things out of existence.( Can you say Oktoberfest?)

You mentioned a perfect example in your piece, the "Wave". Originally enjoyable for both the participant and the viewer. Then year after year it goes on and on like a heroin habit that slowly eats away at the user. The enjoyment and originality is gone yet they keep beating the dead horse right down to the comical point of " three person wave".

Unfortunately the cell phone trend only seems to be gaining speed and impetus.

Comment by David Stanley on August 28, 2013 at 4:34pm

I shall file that info. Thanks, mate

Comment by David Stanley on August 28, 2013 at 3:40pm

Must have been sometime around the early 70s or so. I bought my first "phone" around then. One of those five pound bricks with the shoulder carried battery. Was awful but sure got the job done. Had gobs of offers to buy it from me.

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