Monday, September 7, 2015

Don’t Hate Me Because I Don’t Have a Cellphone - The Daily Beast

Columnist Elizabeth Ladenson wrote a "survivor's tale" for the Daily Beast about  being someone who lacks a cellphone in world that loathes citizens who are not attached to a device each waking and sleeping moment. She pleads with us to not hate him because he has, through events not entirely under his control (but clearly without his protest) have put him in that allegedly rare sphere of being a citizen without a cellphone.'This would be a lifestyle choice, minor as it is, that would be worth writing about should the scribe have a way with a phrase, a honed sense    of  irony (which means , bluntly, when to quit being ironic), and have fine tuned sense of self deprecation.One shouldn't take themselves neither too seriously nor too lightly.

This article by Andrew Marantz in Mother Jones about his experience in a New Delhi call center does just that, providing atmosphere, background, context, telling details, and, most appreciatively, fine turns of phrase in a winning, quickly paced prose style.Marantz does not brag, berate, or lecture ; his article informs as it entertains, and provides a picture of the world without a self rightous filter rendering the recollection a turgid rant. This fellow rants, he berates, he practices a sort of sociological tone that is less effective in making a point than the most inane observational comedian.There is, of course, the undercurrent that technology has ruined our ability to speak to one another or to function in natural ways; the implication is inverse snobbery that commands you to respect those who have not merely because they have not. 

A lack of different kinds of devices is not , in itself a virtue, and it is the least attractive bragging point one would stake a reputation on.,I don't hate you, but I do think that writing something this supremely inconsequentially makes you a low-grade narcissist who's desire to discuss the banality of their existence is symptomatic of a grosser personality disorder. I am 63, from Detroit, live in Southern California, AND I HAVE NEVER OWNED A CAR NOR HAD A DRIVER'S LICENSE! What I have don't have trumps what you don't have.Again, that in itself could be an interesting premise to write from t, the complications and irony of being from a place called the Motor City , the center of global car culture,  and then moving into a region of the country that is so decentralized that the conventional has for  generations been that no one can flourish, let alone merely survive in such an amorphous space without an automobile, and yet here I am, writing this sentence right now, no car, no license, and no intention of acquiring one now/ Why quit when I'm ahead of the the game? Think of a long witty essay, think of all those self victimizing witticisms that will disarm a skeptical reader, imagine the poetic flights of fancy as I ponder a life without wheels, depending on the kindness of  family friends for rides to where I needed to be. Well, maybe someday, when I dream up enough clever things to rattle off in my theoretical memoirs of being an unmotorized Motowner in the land of sun bleached beaches and glare. Maybe I won't write it because I never considered not having a car to be a virtue, nor a philosophical choice. It is not a mark of superiority, only the way this life turned out and a fact that I've gotten used to.  

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