Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Jan. 31
- Community Blog
Reflecting On the Oughts
I hit the stop button on the DVD remote. I have just finished watching Brian DePalma’s Scarface, a Christmas present from my wife (bless her gratuitously violent heart.) I am struck by some obvious social changes since the making of this film. I wish I could write that one of the changes is that a penniless immigrant could never build a multi-billion dollar empire on blood-thirsty, single-minded greed alone, but I can’t. I wish I could write that due to this country’s “War on Drugs,” no supplier would see enough profit to make the risks of importing drugs worthwhile, but I can’t. No, the changes I noticed are of a technological nature. In one scene, Tony Montana, the epitome of a drug-lord billionaire, is sitting in his gold-rimmed bathtub. He smokes an expensive cigar, sips champagne and watches television. This beauty of a set sits a good distance across the room and sports a screen of about 25 inches! I laughed out loud. As any viewer of “Cribs” will testify, a five-foot flat screen is the bare minimum even in a baby’s nursery. In addition to his prehistoric TV, Tony is forced, at several points of the story, to either leave his car or the restaurant in which he’s dining to physically search out a telephone to make a call…shocking!
Now, as I sit here writing on the final Thursday of this decade, I am stuck with how rapidly our technology continues to advance. Recently I’ve noticed that at least half the patrons of restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, laundry mats, or public transportation have their laptops out and are diligently working on a cure for world hunger or trying to advance to the next level of Halo (whichever is more important.) I must admit that my computer is still attached to a wall at home. In fact, I’m still using dial-up service! Yes, I know most people look at me like I forage for berries and pinecones in the backyard; even Geico contacted me and asked if they could use my story in one of their upcoming commercials. Okay, so I’m a little bit behind the curve on the internet consumption.
As for modern telephones, even a Cro-Magnum like me can appreciate the convenience of these babies. Though I must admit I keep mine out in my truck and turn it on only when I’m driving around. Once or thrice a month my wife and I are very glad we still have a landline as it is the only way we can discover where we have left her cell phone!
Another area in which I feel rather relic-like is my mode of transportation. I have no fewer than three internal combustion creatures in my driveway. It’s only a matter of time before I pull up somewhere and children stare, point and ask their parents; “What is the purpose of that big smelly machine?” “Why is that big smelly machine so noisy?” and “Where is that man’s laptop?” Yes, these past few years have been good to human geekdom. I wish everyone a very happy 2010. As for that strange sound you might hear? It’s me being dragged into the technological future.
Daniel J McAuliffe Scripps Ranch 12-31-09
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