9.25.2008

Text MESSages.

I am reminded of the movie "Meet me in St. Louis" as I endeavor to write the first line of this post (which is not this one, but the one under this paragraph).  There is a line where Rose says to her father: "I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate money," to which her father replies, "you also spend it."  And with that:

I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate text messages. (and facebook and twitter, for that matter)  To which one may reply, "you also use them." Right, right, right.  As with the movie, most people laugh that conversation off with a light-hearted, "he's got her there."  But does he?  To the casual viewer, Rose is dubbed a fool, as if her father's argument had stumped her, as if she had never thought about the practicality of money before, as if, somehow, once again, the realist had brought the idealist back to earth.  To this i would say, "not so."  

Rose wasn't an idiot.  She spent money. She knew she spent money.  She never proposed that money or capitalism or credit cards (did they have those in 1904?! :)) be done away with.  She simply spoke about her feelings towards money.  Her father made the assumption that she had a problem with what people do with money, but what Rose really had a problem with was what money does to people.  So too with little technological advances like text messaging. 

The big problem has never been what people do with text messaging.  I mean, I suppose people can employ it to use foul language, to gossip, or to degrade the english language by use of LOL and TTYL and the like, but this can be done in just about any medium.  The real problem lies within the way technology uses people.  The way that it can trick a person into thinking that text messaging is a quick, efficient way to transport thoughts--UNTIL it becomes a medium that envelops all of one's time.  A medium that was intended to expedite communication has had the opposite effect, it has slowed down true conversation, real person-to-person interaction.  In the words of Shane Hipps, "it had reverted into its opposite intention."

I have often laughed when people say that technology makes people dumber. (eg the calculator)  However, if not the technology itself, our reliance on it, no matter what it is, probably degrades our intelligence more than just a bit.  If we rely too heavily on something, if we use it because it is "rational," our thinking may become truly irrational.  A quick way to alert someone of something (a text message)=rational.  A way to spend a class period, the walk to class, your time in the library, your time at lunch, and on the walk back to your dorm (a text message "conversation")=irrational. 

Rational:  (In a text): Wanna meet at the union at 10? 
                             Reply: yes, see you there. peace.
                   (In person): How was your day?
                             Reply: (Long answer that gives the ins and outs and dirty details of the day.)

Irrational: (In a text): Hey, how was your day?
                              Reply: It was so so, how was urs?
                            Reply: Purty good, so why was yours so so?
                                Reply: Just not the best, ya know?
                              Reply: yea i know. what are you up to?
                            Reply: (short answer that will easily be forgotten by the reader in ten                                                        minutes and if the reader sees their texting buddy later, will proceed to                                            ask all the same questions that were answered via text conversation,                                                because the "conversation" was not a conversation at all, it was an                                                    addiction to interaction and attention and nothing real was said)

All that to say, there is nothing wrong with being an idealist. Rose was, so you should be too. It doesn't mean you stop text messaging, but it does mean you become aware of what you can become if you let your attitude towards technology, or anything really, go unchecked.

Don't let yourself become a textMESSage. (ha. that was lame.)




4 comments:

Andrew said...

That was beautiful, Annie. I'm pleased.

annie.marie.dimond. said...

Good, since you are the giver of topics these days.

When you coming back to see me?

colorcast said...

Annie, I thoroughly enjoy the way you think! Lately I've really missed having you at westminster with me... I love the way you challenge me without even meaning to, and for that reason I'm always looking forward to new posts, new thoughts, new choice morsels of thought and wisdom to chew on ^ u ^

love,
April

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