Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chevrolet Redefines "Lucky," and triggers another Society is Dead rant from me

Back in the Bad Old Days, when you traveled in a car with family or fellow adults, you'd engage in actual conversations- hey, we are together in a small space, we've got a way to go, let's talk.  Maybe we'll learn something about each other.  Maybe we'll clear the air.  If we get bored, we can listen to the radio.   Then we can comment on what the radio guy is saying or sing along with a familiar song.

Or maybe we'd play tapes/DVDs.  We'd talk about our favorite music, and do more singing along.  Either way, we'd be sharing an experience and bonding and the car ride woudn't just be a car ride.  (It didn't even have to be a car ride; I've written before about the girl I met on an Amtrak train back in the 80s- we talked and shared music for hours.  We never saw each other again, but I'll never forget her name or her voice or how quickly that 12 hours on the train went by- or how a lack of "connectivity" made that experience possible.)

Staring in the early part of this century, the odds that you'd be having a conversation with the people in your car began to drop dramatically.  Suddenly there were DVD players everywhere.  Ok, they kept the kids calm on long car rides- but they were being used ALL THE TIME, so when did parents talk to their kids about what happened at school, or how things were with their friends?  And when adults transported adults, more than likely the passengers would be on their cell phones or staring at them- and the person driving was no longer a friend to talk to, but just a valet; Let me know when you are at my stop so I can get out, ok?

*throughout the 1980s and 1990s, I drove neices and nephews back and forth between Vermont and the Washington DC area, usually two or three times a year, to visit their grandparents.  I'll never forget the first trip in which one of them had a cell phone.  It was much quieter- and nowhere near as pleasant.  It was clear to me that something very important had been lost, and was not going to be coming back.

And now we are being told that cars that are their own Hot Spots are some kind of great benefit, and people who own them are "lucky."  Funny- there's nothing in this ad that indicates that the owner of this car is "lucky" in any way- his passengers are braying jackasses who can't even be satisfied completely ignoring the driver while gazing at their loved ones (I mean, Tablets.)  They have to loudly comment on what they are doing instead of being with each other.  They might as well be total strangers in a taxi, for all the respect and gratitude they are showing the driver.  And yet the message is clearly supposed to be "look how awesome it is to have built-in WiFi in your car."  What am I missing?

I know what I'm missing- the basic human dignity and decency that includes interaction, and that is being steadily eroded by this constant addiction to Carry Everywhere Television and Electronic Distraction.  To hell with people, check out what's going on here on this screen you can bring with you.  Why would you want to get to know the people around you by talking to them when you can watch this pointless crap and pretend that you are alone in your living room?

Maybe I really was just born too late.  But every time I see one of these "never stop watching stuff ever" commercials, I'm so grateful that I grew up before "connectivity" became a religion, Antisocial asshattery became the norm, and conversations became something you have when there is absolutely, positively no alternative.   Because this- this is just gross, sorry.

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