Left Behind

A column in the NYT's Style section a couple of weeks ago crystalized what I've been feeling lately about new trends in digital media. Michael Winerip writes in Aging by Megabyte that, "Somewhere between the cellphone and BlackBerry, I stopped. I pay my bills by mail, not online. I listen to music on a CD, not an iPod. I e-mail, I don’t I.M. or friend people on Facebook or Twitter."

Winerip, who admits to being in his "late-middle 50's", is a little bit older than me. I do download music, and I have a minimal Facebook presence. But I'm 55. I've never liked telephones, and I don't own a cell. I think Twitter was the end of the line for me. Y'all go on ahead, I'm going to sit down.

Browsing the NYT blogs, I read an article in Bits about a "web tool" called StumbleUpon, yet another social networking site where users share cool stuff they've found online: Umbrella Art Installations, Free iPod iPhone music, Top 9 Video Game OCD Moments. And I didn't care about any of it. These posters are perhaps 20-30 years younger than me.

It's not that I've lost my sense of curiosity. I am rather in deep waters now, late in life. I want to read Gibbon and the classics: Thucydides and Virgil. The StumbleUpon kids are trading marbles.


Wayne M. said...


Me too.

And dipping a toe into (as a sort of compromise) is very difficult to do.

Nevertheless that is my compromise. There will just be less Thucydides.
And less facebook. But I'm glad I checked facebook today.

Brett said...

My toe has been marking my place at p. lxxxiii of David Wormersley's intro to the Allen Lane ed. of Gibbon, which I bought about a year ago. "Decline and Fall" is one of those works that provided the underpinnings of modern culture, but how many of us have actually read it?

Phillip K. Dick had a saying in his late work, "Valis", "The Empire never ended".