Monday, July 11, 2011

...Technology is changing our lives...

And in this case...not really for the better. These days, everything is about integration. You don't just want a phone anymore. You want a phone that is also a camera that is also a computer that is also a video camera that is also a prophylactic which can surf the web, check email, make phone calls, send texts, stalk people on facebook, test the mineral content of your tap water AND transform into a smart car. (For an extra $30 a month, AT&T will upgrade you to a Prius, but you can only drive it 20 miles each month...)

Now all of this is well and good from a consumer standpoint, but to be quite honest, there have been some serious downsides to this trend in technology as well. If you have been to a concert in recent history, you'll know what I'm talking about. Yes I'm talking about "that person" that everyone hates. You know which one I'm talking about. The one who pushes their way to the front and, rather than enjoying the music and the crowd, or even basking in the glory that is the band's lead singer. Nope, that person insists on trying to capture every moment of it on their phone. Yes this is that person. That person that insists on experiencing the concert through the 3 inch screen of their phone, attempting to capture every single moment, despite the fact that their phone's camera has the resolution of a brick and the sound capture capabilities of a jar of old mayonnaise. Inevitably, this video makes its way onto youtube, and you, like I, eventually stumble on it. You, like I, think "hey, someone took a video of that concert I went to! Maybe it will be a professional quality video of the great time I had!" and you, like I, click on that link, hoping to recall all those good times you had that night. But calamity strikes the moment the video loads. The camera can't see a goddamn thing and the bass keeps blowing the levels on that puny microphone that was only designed to capture the sound of a human voice from 2-3 inches away. But SOMEHOW, despite the cacophony of the concert, one sound ALWAYS finds its way through the noise. At first you don't want to believe what you are hearing...but as it continues and continues, you can no longer deny your ears. The camera operator is singing...and INCREDIBLY poorly at that. It is pretty clear that they are singing vicariously through the lead singer of the band, and you wish that they could hear themselves...because if they could, they would never EVER sing at a concert again...because what they interpret as singing is not singing, it's rhythmic screaming...and we all know how I feel about that...

Nowhere is there a more prescient example of this than what I encountered over the 4th of July celebrations down in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Every year we gather as a country to celebrate the birth of our nation by getting drunk and blowing shit up. More to that point, fireworks, in my opinion, are the manifest definition of transient beauty (that's right I'm getting all philosophical up in this bitch). Fireworks, by nature, are meant to burst and burn bright before fading away quickly, beautiful in its brevity. Well I was quite dismayed to see that, out of every 5 or so people around me, one of them had their phone pointed towards the sky, attempting to capture the fireworks display. Now it's not as though I've never seen fireworks before in my life, but there is definitely something lacking when you watch even a professional display like the Pops goes the Fourth on television. You miss the percussive wave of the explosion, the feeling of your eardrums discontent with being subjected to such noise, the smell of sulfur afterwards. All these things are, in my opinion, crucial for the proper fireworks experience. To say that these same people, the ones who would attempt to capture a concert on their phones, were filming fireworks struck me as an incredibly backwards way of thinking. Not only would their phones have an INCREDIBLY difficult time focusing with the changing light levels, the noise would do quite a number on the mic AND when there were no loud bangs, only the chatter of the crowd would come through. All technical issues aside, to film fireworks is, in my opinion, entirely contrary to the POINT of fireworks. More than that, these people were staring at their screens trying to make sure that the shot was framed well. This is a perfect manifestation of everything that is wrong with this mentality. You, a spectator at a fireworks show, are opting to STARE AT YOUR PHONE'S SCREEN because you want to make sure that your shot of the fireworks going on RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU is good so that you can GO BACK AND WATCH IT LATER.

I hope I'm not the only one here who things that this kind of behavior warrants some kind of phone-suspension or at least a severe talking to. Sure I have no real moral ground here because there is nothing illegal about recording a fireworks show, but if you're just going to record it and watch it on youtube later, why don't you just skip a step and watch it on TV while recording it on TiVO and don't bother showing up for the real thing? Just saying.

...And that's what I learned today.

PS saying "that person" to be PC was incredibly difficult for me, I hope you appreciate the effort :)


  1. Not enough swearing.

    That aside, this statement was pretty pointed:
    "You, a spectator at a fireworks show, are opting to STARE AT YOUR PHONE'S SCREEN because you want to make sure that your shot of the fireworks going on RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU is good so that you can GO BACK AND WATCH IT LATER."
    Mainly because it's true and people are ridiculous.

  2. ^^^^ Yeah, basically this.

    Also, we second the motion about more swearing. And creative swearing too, some real above-and-beyond stuff. Don't just call a guy an asshole or call a girl a bitch. Call him sexless duck-fucker or call her junk-hungry dick-chugger.

  3. Everything you said is so TRUE! And who, by the way, will ever go back and re-watch the fireworks display badly taped from their phone?