Monday, August 27, 2012

Re-media-ted Experiences

Saturday night at an at outdoor concert were the ingredients for a perfect evening: balmy weather, talented musicians, a vibrant audience.  During the first set, behind us a group of men were hooting wildly over an app one had shared with the others, followed by a loud and extended discussion on predicting Facebook responses.   To my right a woman tapped at her glowing screen; in front of me another couple checked their photos from earlier in the day.  A number of people were viewing the performance from behind the safety of their video-recording phones.

Sunday morning at a local coffee shop I watched a couple having brunch, their baby parked securely in a stroller.  Between bloody marys and mouthfuls of food, the husband kept reading his messages and texting; the wife tapped at her screen.  At another table a very old grandmother and a mother sipped at their martinis while the teenager tapped beneath the table at her phone. 

As we mediate our experiences via technology, we hold our experiences and each other at arm's length.  Our constant separation of ourselves from the moment at hand is the collateral damage of technological innovations.  As if we're terrified of being alone and still with ourselves.  As if we need a safety valve of distraction while with others. 

During a class this summer a student corrected a misconception of mine regarding the Amish.  "They're not against technology," he said, "they're against any technology that separates them from God."

Sign me up.  Just because it's new and shiny, doesn't mean it's progress.

Thoughts? Quibbles? Corrections?


  1. Let me put it this way: as much as I enjoy your blog (and this is one of your finest posts), a cup of coffee with you at Cafe de Leche beats it, hands down.

  2. I agree with you 100%. Cell phones, iPads, internet on your phone etc. have turned friends and family into strangers. Put them away. Enjoy your food, your wine, your friends, and your family again. Thanks for this post and thanks for the sanity.

  3. Everytime I come here to read your blog or check out your latest writs alá ritz I get hands, paws, tail-ends in my face and no one will just leave me alone and STFU already. LOL, LMAO

  4. PI: Sounds like you need a little mediated entertainment! Steve-thank you for posting your thoughts! P: Just to let you know how out of the loop I am, I had to reread to understand your reality affirmation:)

  5. No screens at the table. Ever. That is the rule.

  6. ....and please don't play on your i-phone and then proceed to rear end me when your pre-technology child grabs it out of your hands. I am not enjoying the out of pocket time I am now forced to add to my schedule, fixing your fuck up - at the least, your car should have received some damage. But then after telling my shrink about it, she informed me I should have claimed whiplash and gotten every dime possible out of the situation - which makes me think she's nuts.

  7. PA: 3 words: ay ay ay!
    M--Perfect rule. I have quite a bit of pushback from a spousal unit. Not naming any names here...