Sunday, November 12, 2006

Homeless iDrones

From Alternet:
Indeed, it may be the iPod's role in constructing the illusion of a home away from home that is the most monstrous thing of all. As cultural critics are fond of pointing out, the German title of Sigmund Freud's famous essay on the uncanny, Das Unheimliche, translates literally as "the un-home-like." That's an apt description of the eerie feeling we get watching people who sit for hours staring blankly into space, ears plugged with music of their choosing, looking like they've lost the passage back to the place they were before. They are out in public, to be sure, but primarily to act out their desire for privacy. Maybe what these listeners want is to be seen wanting both company and solitude.

It's a paradoxical wish, but one that captures the peculiar anxieties of the postmodern era in their most acute post-9/11 form. In the end, the iPod is the ideal product for the era of homeland insecurity.

from "The iPod's Moment in History"

(Hat tip to k-punk.)

Whereas I understand the sentiment above, I can't say that I agree with it. For example, at home, I would never listen to crappy commercial radio or other versions of corpo noise pollution and sometimes when I am out in public it's nice to have the option to tune out the commercial noise machine. Like when I am at the gym and, for reasons unbeknownst to me, the stereo volume inside the weightroom is cranked up high to some bullshit '70s rock radio show (like I want to aerobically exercise to "Stairway to Heaven" for the 1000th time), it's nice to have my iPod Shuffle randomly playing what I want to hear when I workout. It even helps me work out by giving me reason to move-dance.

Having said that, I am more surprised at the mobile phone drones who spend all day staring into their phones as if receiving messages from God (when in reality it's probably just someone inadvertently reminding them how unimportant their lives really are). Hey friend, throw that antiquated loser gadget in the trash, "I got your mobile phone right here - and it's on auto-vibrate!"

Meanwhile, is last week's shocking Democratic victory in both chambers of Congress really the result of the growing influence of the Colbert Nation?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

cellphone vs ipod: if anyone has anything really interesting to say to me, i expect it will be more or less ipod-ready. It will be a song or a text. On the phone, its just a reminder to pick up the laundry.

2:19 PM  

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