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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Deconstructing the cellular phenomenon

Technology exists to make our lives easier, or so Sony-Ericsson would tell us, but what lies behind the packaging? The cellular telephone, the one in your pocket and the one in mine, carries with it a social meaning and consequence far beyond its friendly ‘Hello Moto.’

It has its own story, but it prefers you to speak your own and pay no mind to its secrets. It is a creature of desire, love and hate. It provides the means to make the connections you want, as well as the 2:30 a.m. post-Jagerbomb connections you regret.

Our demands change the technology, and the technological marvel that allows the privileged to live a mere phone call away also changes us.

For example, no longer is a RAZR used to remove unwanted hair. And when a Top 40 song unexpectedly interrupts class, it is not because someone has a boom box in their pocket. Today, the miniature camera is not just reserved for James Bond wannabes; we see them every day.

The cell phone is status symbol and status privilege rolled up into a neat metallic package with customizable ring tones. Area codes as much as accents reveal that ‘You ain’t from ’round these parts, are ya’ boy?’

But Nokia-delivered bliss carries with it a hefty price tag and not just in terms of the monthly bill. Just a few decades ago, not having a cell number was an indicator of a clean criminal record. Now a person without one is an oddity, and we always demand explanation from them for their violation of our societal need for this convenience.

Even as the cell phone allows us to maintain the connections we already have, it seems to also inhibit the creation of new ones. With friendships from ‘back home’ still fresh in the minds of college students, the ability to remain connected to persons far removed enables us to walk around town or campus with hand to ear and eye to ground, perhaps inhibiting new connections we could be forming here.

The gift of technology and efficiency is what our society expects, even demands. Explainin g away a missed phone call to come into work early becomes a bit more difficult with that spy in your pocket.

Every social machine in which we are cogs, from the university to work to family, can call upon us to fill our prescribed role at any time and at any place. Boyfriends and girlfriends of present and past are always a speed dial away and always, it seems, at the worst possible moment.

And even though this technology enables us to make and preserve connections, we all too often fail to use it. We are a mere phone call away from most of those dear to us, yet there seems to be something preventing us from reaching out and touching someone.

If we have the ability to connect to others but still elect not to, maybe it is something beyond the technology that is keeping us from one another.

Even free nighttime and weekend minutes cannot save some friendships, and their loss is made that much more painful by the technology-enabled ease of their preservation.

The perils and promises of technology aside, no techophobic prohibitions will follow from this columnist.

Pick it up. Turn it on. Make a call or two to people who will smile when they see your name on the caller ID.

Then turn it off for a day, maybe for the first day since you bought it. Take the time to find out what life is like without the technology we think we need.

Privileges and conveniences, snares and encumbrances – we need fewer of all these in our lives.

Send comments to [email protected].

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