Back-in-the-day (the 60’s), if news happened during the day, we had to wait until the 5:30 Huntley/Brinkley Report to hear about it.
Unless it was of a catastrophic nature, like the JFK assassination. Then, someone who had been listening to a transistor radio passed the news along word-of mouth. (The school janitor?) And people with TVs ran to them for the latest reports. Because, not everyone had a TV!
Otherwise, if the evening news had been missed, it was the next morning’s Arizona Republic that brought the news. Usually bad – because news of a good nature is rarely news.
Fast-forward (another antiquated term from VHS tape days) to this post-Internet era. I’ve a smartphone which I am rarely without. She lives in my right, front pocket (having a fused hip means my back pocket isn’t a good idea for access) with my keys, .38 speed strip and my Blur lockblade knife. (The .38 S&W snub is in my LEFT front pocket, in a pocket holster, me being sinestral, and all!)
I keep my smartphone on, because, why not? She bleeps and chirps with receipt of texts, emails and the latest headlines. (I do put her on vibrate or mute as appropriate!) And sometimes she even rings announcing a telephone call! 🙂 Or a specific ringtone advising me of particular callers, like my roomie or close friends. Roomie’s ringtone is Moonlight Sonata, and Biff’s is the Peanuts theme!
Which brings me to my point (finally!)
Biff has a smartphone, but he doesn’t keep it on. Doesn’t use it for spur-of-the-moment research, or shopping or to-do lists. He doesn’t use it for email or texts, either. Or receipt of the latest news!
He uses it as a telephone, when he chooses to have it turned-on.
And, I razz him mercilessly about this. The term Luddite has been bandied about.
Why have a smartphone, if one isn’t going to use it as such?
He says he doesn’t want to be that connected. And usually leaves it in his car, anyway!
We met for coffee the Saturday evening last, and were having our usual conversations, and I brought up the death earlier in the day of Justice Scalia.
And, he didn’t know about it – he hadn’t heard! And he’s a radio news guy!
(I’d received a notification minutes after it had been reported, from three news sources!)
To be fair, he hadn’t worked that day.
So, which is better? – to be voluntarily ignorant of the day’s events, to choose to call only when one makes that choice, or to be tethered to the electronic instantaneous (or nearly so) news cycle? And at the mercy of people who choose to call, whenever?
Being already a volunteer for the tethering, my opinion in the matter is skewed one direction. Much like having a P.C. at home with a router, I don’t think I could revert to dial-up.
Or no Internet access at all…
So, which is better?
(Not mentioning potential for brain cancer and/or government surveillance/tracking, because so doing would further muddy the issue!)