Mini Rant: If A Phone Rings in the Woods

I saw a commercial today that normally would have set me off like a bomb, but I must be getting resigned because I just watched and sighed. It was for Verizon and featured a teenage boy, his dad, and the boy’s friend on a hike in the woods. The boy is schooling his dad on the use of his phone and explaining how he can still access the web even though they are in the wilderness. Meanwhile, the friend is taking video of the trees and sending it straight to his web page. In the back of my head I felt the vague urge to throw something at the TV, but inertia kept me slumped on the couch waiting to see which cell provider was responsible for this latest assault on our ability to indulge in an unplugged pursuit. I have to admit that I was less aggravated by Verizon’s ad than I am by the AT&T ads that tout “faster is better.” I know this is the world we live in now; I know the cell providers must compete with one another for our increasingly short attention spans; I know that I risk hypocrisy by ranting about media, TV, commercials, the internet, social media, et al when I use those technologies myself. Yet, I continue to be angered and saddened by what these things herald for the future. I find myself both attracted and repelled by tonight’s Oscar telecast blow-by-blow that I can read either on my friends’ Facebook feeds or on sites such as E! Online, or even on NPR of all places. And, I know that this new world of instant technological communicative semi-social gratification is not a harbinger of a complete societal breakdown; but I am sad for the quiet moments that seem to be losing ground. If a phone rings in the woods, no one should answer it.

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