Smartphone Scolds

Here at Irreal, we've been grumpy for some time about the seemingly never-ending onslaught of articles and television pieces about the evils of smartphones. There are the academics, desperate for a publication cred., claiming that using cellphones causes young brains to turn into cement and set. There are the social scientists constantly telling us the smartphones are destroying our ability to communicate with each other, destroying families and maybe the human race. And, of course, there are the talking heads needing to fill a 90-second slot until the next advertisement.

It's apparently become too much for the Macalope too. In his usual hilarious way he takes on the anti-smartphone Luddites by pointing out that—among other things—the whole point of smartphones is communication. Communication with friends, acquaintances, and loved ones. Just because we prefer to text with our absent sister instead of listening to crazy Great-uncle Ed expound again on the Illuminati doesn't mean that we're somehow impoverishing our lives.

One of the worst aspects is the hypocrisy. That hypocrisy is perfectly captured in a scene from the television series Blue Bloods. In it, the Police Commissioner is talking to his granddaughter when the granddaughter's cell phone beeps. “Turn it off,” he says. “But what if it's important?” she asks. “Choose,” he says. At that moment his cellphone rings and, of course, he has to answer it because he's the Police Commissioner and it might be important.

That's how it is with the smartphone scolds. Those psychologists have to keep their cellphones on during Thanksgiving dinner because patients. Those reporters have to keep theirs on too because breaking news. In other words, they're important and you aren't so turn off your phone and listen to Great-uncle Ed while they check to see if World War III has broken out.

It's always been this way, of course. Television, according the day's experts, most certainly foretold the end of the family. And don't even get me started about Rock and Roll. Every new thing is seen as a sure sign of the Apocalypse. The proper response is to ignore the doomsayers and text your pal Joey to see if his Thanksgiving dinner is going as badly as yours.

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