Friday, July 18, 2008

Back to the future

Maybe it was the Celtics-Lakers final, maybe it was (thankfully) missing my 20th high school reunion, or maybe it's just my inability to keep up with all the IPhoning, Facebooking, Twittering and Plurking technology, but lately, I've been getting kind of wistful with the idea of finding a manual typewriter and a turntable and locking myself up back in the 1970s somewhere. I know that if I did make this fantasy a reality, it would last for about two weeks before I realized why technology, maddening as it can be, has moved us forward. After all, it can be damn hard to e-mail, blog, or hell, even cut and paste with a Smith Corona (unless you actually, you know, use scissors and paste). And vinyl records are notorouisly hard to play in cars and even in the best of situations, you have to flip the darn things over every 20 minutes.


There's something to be said for the sensory experience of holding a vinyl album or watching it spin around and around (BB EC would love that) on the turntable. Or clacking away on typewriter keys late into the night, feeding individual pieces of paper into the machine, crumpling up bad drafts and tossing them into the trash barrel. In both instances, it feels like we've sacrificed something material for convenience. When you listen to a record, there is something there, when you finish typing, there is physical evidence of your work. With mp3s and computer files, it's just a bunch of blips and numbers that we trust in the machines to save and keep safe for us.

Which all sounds nice, but if I did lose my iBook, I'd be pretty damned depressed.

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