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Underside - Down With Phones/Down With Humans

Author: Rachel Barrett/Herb Pubesman
Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Down With Phones

The telephone. A feat of genius, or the world’s most annoying convenience- Alexander Graham Bell certainly has a lot to answer for. I doubt that Bell had envisaged that 134 years down the track we would be living in a civilisation completely dominated by the telephone.

I hate phones. I hate talking on the phone. I could go the rest of my life quite happily without speaking on the phone. The phone for me is a way to convey information in an immediate way, “I’m at the bar, see you in 5 minutes.” Every phone call I have can be wrapped up in under 30 seconds.

Yet I live in a world where my job, my friendships and personal relationships are completely controlled by the phone. Mobile phones have become so intrinsically interwoven into our lives that I shudder to think what the world be like in a further 100 years. Will we even have face-to-face contact with people- Or will everything be over the airwaves-

I think it’s a sad state when you see people out alone in the world and they are so insecure within themselves that they cant sit still for one minute and instead scroll through their phones. Call people with banal conversation, text people continuously… seriously- What sorts of information are you passing between each other that you cant put your phone down for 30 seconds-

I see people everyday clutching their phones like security blankets. People wandering down the street with their phone clasped in their hands like a sacred talisman to ward off evil spirits…. uhhh, it’s just a phone dude.

A phone can’t protect you. A phone can’t give you the answers to life’s mysteries. A phone is not an acceptable replicant for human contact.

There is nothing like having a conversation face to face with someone. Eye contact, body language, these are all things left out of the equation when you speak on the phone to someone. How can you trust someone who you can’t even see- How many times have you been on the toilet when you’ve been talking to someone- I do it all the time. Would I do that if that person were in the room with me-- Hell no.

The breakdown of language can be attributed to mobile phone texting. Can you imagine if a spaceship landed and transcribed the idiot conversation that two people send to each other over their phones-

For one thing, ‘LOL’ needs to be explained. This is not a word. I don’t want future genius alien civilisations landing here and thinking we are all moronic drones to LOL about all day. Who invented LOL- Can they please be shot- Why is it important for me to tell you that I’m laughing- Hey maybe catch a cab over here and we can have a real belly laugh session and pee our pants together. Peeing together beats talking on a phone any day.

So yeah, don’t expect a friendly phone call from me anytime soon.

Rachel Barrett


Down With Humans

What’s so great about talking to people in the flesh- For that to occur, I would need to get dressed wouldn’t I- Can’t be going to a job interview in the nude now can I- If I could work it out, I would never leave my house.

Even the phone is getting obsolete these days, in my quest to have my life run by machines. Facebook. Email. I can go a whole year without having to actually speak or see someone in person. This is a great conquest of the ages.

For one, the best thing about having interweb relationships with people is the unlimited time you can take to come back with a witty retort to a situation. In the real world this would never happen.

When I’m “interfacing with the humans” or out in the street as you might call it, and a situation calls for a grand retort I am often lost for words, replaying the situation over and over in my head when maybe five hours later I come up with the burn of the century. Oh, but it’s too late, I’m already home, and you’re already drunk and beating your wife up. However in the interwebs I can spend days on my comeback, which is way better than in the heat of the moment saying something nonsensical like,  “Oh yeah! Well… your mum lives on a roundabout in Cairns!”

One thing that does worry me, is that I might be putting too much faith in the trusty machines that run my life, especially when I get reminders for outings that I’m not even sure I organised. ‘Meeting @ 5pm to plan destruction of all humans’… really-- I booked this in-- Eh, well if the computer is telling me this is must be true.

I look forward to the day when Facebook becomes self-aware. Facebook comes knocking on your door, and Facebook obliterates all life on earth. Maybe one day life will be like that movie Lawnmower Man, I cant wait for that, finally shed this body that needs constant upkeep and get myself a nice 1.21 Gigawatts of storage.

Life would be much easier if you were an iPod. Small. Sleek. No more incessant worrying about carbs. If I had to choose which convenience of modern living I were to come back as, the mind boggles, but if they can invent fridges with the ability to hook up the internet well then, I know what I want to be reincarnated as.

Life in the interwebs would be so much easier. Never have to buy a house, just upgrade your RAM. Get a new desktop background. Download a picture of Megan Fox as your profle picture.

Yeah, life would be grand as a machine. At least I know that I’d never have to worry about going around to my parents’ house ever again for the ‘what are you doing with your life-” speech. Well mum, I’m organising a laser beam to wipe out all of mankind, what are YOU doing with yours-

Herb Pubesman

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