Skip to main content

"Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?" — Oui

Another article alleging what we all suspect, that the spy cams in our pockets are also psychic poison. It would be nice to include the data.

I held out on getting a smartphone well into the era where my choice was popularly regarded as odd, but it never seemed necessary to me. Even then I had an uneasy feeling about it. Then in the midst of a big ghostwriting contract, my faithful flip phone crapped out. I had a phone interview in three hours so I trekked to the Verizon store and picked a phone that would be a free upgrade under my plan. The only options were smartphones and I picked the LG POS.

It was loaded with bloatware (including an un-uninstallable golf game) and laughably slow and half the time the software to actually make a phone call crashed, so in many regards it was a huge downgrade from my phone that could actually work as a phone. But having non-stop access to the internet was transformative. I can barely remember what life was like before I was plugged into to the all-mind. Dual-state living, or split consciousness is just something I accept now.

Social media has never held much allure for me, but I suffer bouts of news addiction and after obsessively reading every article I scrape off a paywall I never feel good. Certainly not post-election.

A few other causes for the timidity and passiveness and depression shown in the post-Millennials:

One, driving is terrible and dangerous, and it gets worse every day with increasing traffic. Cars are expensive to buy and maintain and fix if you fuck them up, which you are likely to do as a young person. Since the boomers are determined to drag every last resource on Earth into the grave with them, it's not surprising that we Millennials and our posties are less interested in cherry-topping our debt to drive a rolling death box two hours every day. Not to mention being in a car is a great way to get shot by a cop or have your shit stolen by a cop. Cops: a legal protection racket.

Two, America is in many ways worse than it was ten years, twenty years, thirty, or forty...hmmm what changed? It's harder than ever for a younger person to make a living. And when the author comments on the ready availability of low-wage teenage jobs, I'm glad she points out that these jobs are pointless to gaining work ethic or experience. They likely don't even pay enough to be worthwhile to a teenager.

There are a hell of a lot more people today than there were even a decade ago, and more people means more hell. The natural world has been and continues to be annihilated with consumerist nonchalance. Ecosystems that took millions of years to develop are wiped out. Gone. And they will never come back. This knowledge is a major point of sadness in my life, and I imagine it saddens anyone with a drop of empathy in their veins.

Not to mention, kids are smart enough to see that since its founding this country has been a heavy perpetrator of evil, and no amount of red, white, and blue lipstick can cover up that pig. The country is fighting two or three or however many fruitless wars. A proud racist is president and we're hurtling ever deeper into the chasm of fascist thuggery.

Three, society has great expectations for today's youth,  and a great many rules to follow too. I won't comment on parenting, but I can imagine the pressure to succeed is also as high as ever, with the experience of childhood ever more circumscribed by school, and testing, and extra-curriculars, and sports. And not to go on a diatribe about schools, but the gutting of public education has turned many into low-level incarceration.

Smartphones make it easier to see the darkness all around us, and for an addict there is no escape.

Image: Cell Phone Man, by Willie Buck, Delmark Records.