(published in the December 17, 2005 Washington Post in response to George Will’s November 20, 2005 commentary “iPod’s Missed Manners”)
November 21, 2005
The premise of George Will’s November 20 column “iPod’s Missed Manners” is extremely flawed and quite silly. His thesis, “Many people have no notion of propriety when in the presence of other people, because they are not actually in the presence of other people, even when they are in public” because “multiplying technologies of portable entertainments will enable ‘limitless self-absorption,’ which will make people solipsistic, inconsiderate and antisocial” simply does not make historical sense.
While cell phones and MP3 players may draw more attention because they are trendy, technology is not needed for this “limitless self-absorption” and this so-called “trend” is in fact decades old. Reading a newspaper or a novel in public or on the Metro has the same effect. Does Mr. Will equally decry these older technologies for having eroded our level of civility and as a result our civilization?
Milton Alan Turner, NBCT