Sunday, October 31, 2010

This commercial has a camera in my head!

The disconnect here is AT&T's apparent misconception that when people are "using" their cell phones to text, surf the net, etc. they are actually USING them, and not just filling empty space in their equally empty lives. The misconception is that people who stare at cell phone screens are actually seeking information and not just trying to drown out the dull echo of nothingness that inhabits their skull. That they are trying to accomplish something, not just avoiding eye contact. That they are trying to get a question answered, not actively avoiding their children, spouses, and other fellow life forms.

Please, who are they trying to kid here? People who spend huge chunks of time staring at their phones are not victims of spotty service or slow connections. If they really are looking for specific info and find it a few seconds faster with this new phone, they'll just move on to some other brainless "activity" more quickly than they planned to previously (if the word "plan" has any application here.) I guarantee you that a phone which provides instantaneous, lightning-fast web access will cause people to cut back on their vapid, antisocial phone staring about as much as McDonald's Dollar Menu cut back on the consumption of cheeseburgers.

I do get what AT&T is trying to do here, though- people don't want to believe that they spend so much time staring at phones because their lives are so pathetically devoid of meaning and actual human friends. People don't want to believe that, left without their shiny toys, they'd be driven insane by their inability to form coherent thoughts about anything more deep than "I wonder what's for dinner?" I'm quite sure that nobody wants to admit that 99 percent of the time they spend on their phones is about as fulfilling and useful as a mouthful of cotton candy. And I'm also quite sure that there's a large audience of delusional morons out there who are capable of conning themselves into believing that if ONLY I could surf a LITTLE FASTER, I'd be able to get off my phone and have an actual conversation with an actual human being who is actually in the same room as I am. Just look at the vacant half-smiles on these zombies- they aren't doing work. They are just so devoid of personality and meaning and purpose that they can only find satisfaction and belonging with their phones.

The question is, what happens to these people when they purchase this phone-- and nothing changes? It would be nice to think that the hot girl in the teddy tells the asshole to take his phone and get the hell out. It's pleasant to imagine the little kid telling his dad to just stay the hell home and skip the ball game altogether next time, you useless prick. (The frustrated "here's a baseball to the head because you value your pointless surfing more than watching your son play baseball" is a good start.) It would only be justice if these worthless jackasses were just cut loose from society and left to waste their lives in sad isolation with their real loved ones, so we could stop pretending that what they really want is to put them away.

Meanwhile, back here in the real world, I'm not buying the "save us from our phones" line. For way too many people, it's an offer to "save us" from our security blankets or cloak of invisibility. I don't know anybody who honestly WANTS to be saved, because it's way too comfortable in that electronic womb.


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