Monday, March 31, 2008


A couple of evenings ago I was playing volleyball with some students down at the dorms. A handful of students were wandering around in an iTrance with wires dangling and eyes staring. A couple of them were even trying to play sports in this condition, which seemed downright dangerous. I found the whole experience to be slightly unsettling and I wanted to set them all free from their machines and tell them to climb trees and build forts and listen to the birds and smell the pine needles and engage in the world around them. Many students at my school would say they would die without their iPods, and a few of them might believe it. A few of them might be right.

I have (naturally) decided to focus on the bright side of this societal threat.

iPods, whose capitalization and pluralization is confounding me at the moment, do create stable citizens. The electronic device satisfies all of a person's emotional need for originality and romance and art and rebellion without allowing them to become original romantic artistic rebels, which are a serious threat to any society.

iPods present a thrilling business opportunity. How far are we from subliminal advertising via iPods? The people who glide through their lives of enchanted oblivion with wires hanging from their ears certainly represent a customer base (of ample proportions) waiting to be fleeced. And could we get a little video implant for a person's eye? Or both eyes? The most advanced model will plug directly into your brain and tell you what to think in pure binary.

iPods could allow politicians to amass support almost effortlessly. Is it possible that a couple of strategic podcasts from Steve Jobs could turn all of my high school students into a lethargic global army of iComrades? Are podcasts even necessary?

While a person who has read Vonnegut and seen The Matrix feel may not feel great about submitting to technology in this way, the modern high school student does.


  1. I am always telling my students to unplug. The other day I read an article in defense of boredom - saying that internet and ipods and cell phones make it almost impossible for anyone to get bored anymore. And that's our loss, if we don't let our minds wander once in awhile.