Posted by: johnhourihan | December 4, 2012

Why technology is passe

There are those of you young people who smile down at the poor old person who doesn’t really know what a hard drive is, or the difference between G3 and G4, or how to use a Kindle, a Droid, or a Nook. You laugh and wag your head while looking sideways at anyone who will commiserate with your total disgust for the old and feeble

This was necessary  technology in 1950. My parents didn't understand why.

This was necessary technology in 1950. My parents didn’t understand why.

You seem to think it is a pitiable situation that your elders are so uninformed about such important things.
I have a secret for you, we are not uninformed about important things. We have just been alive long enough to know that this shit isn’t important.
Let me explain.
In my lifetime I have seen “very important “ things disappear without anyone caring that they are gone.
There have, in my time, been galoshes, porridge, clam diggers, transistors, Macintoshes, rubbers (for the feet), schoolbags, radio tubes, Polaroids, high fidelity, short wave, police band, ICBM, penny loafers, and just in automobiles I have seen the passing of the Edsel, Studebaker, Hudson, Nash, Plymouth Willys, Hillman, Hupmobile, as well as fluid drive, three speeds on the column, rotary TV antenna, fluid drive and a four barrel Holly carb that had nothing to do with pasta.
In their times, they and a thousand things like them were all considered mainstays of society. They are all gone now and you don’t even miss them any more than you are going to miss Twinkies in six months.
We old people have noticed almost immediately something you are missing.
You are being played.
Your toys are rebuilt every year or so in order to make the ones you already have seem not so good. And you buy right into it.
We don’t.
We saw it in automobiles in 50s and 60s. We saw it in almost every mechanical device manufactured in the United States for decades.
It is called planned obsolescence.
Have you heard of it?
You, who believe the newest technological artifact is the most important thing on earth, are caught up in the oldest trick on earth: Making people believe they need something they don’t even want, and want things they don‘t even need.
You are victims of marketing. The dupes of Madison Avenue.
It will end when you say “enough’s enough. I won’t buy your newest gadget, my old gadget works fine for what I use it for.”
So when you look down at me next time and feel a pang of pity for the poor old man who doesn’t understand the importance of a Samsung 4 or any other technological device that is “just so important” to your way of life, I would like to say just one thing to you for your pompous, childish attitude toward me.
Gigabyte-me green teeth.



  1. Ahhhh. Thank You, John!

  2. Hahaha! YES!

  3. That same 1950 (1949?) Ford (your pic) was my older brother’s first car. That was in 1956… we learned a lot from that car… not all lessons I would be willing to repeat…
    Thanks for reminding me about planned obsolescence, I too find myself victim (caught up in slick merchandizing) even as I simultaneously find myself enjoying timeless entertainment (like gardening) more and more these days. Maybe it’s a subtle education that age lets creep in…
    Anyway, thanks for another thought provoking episode…

    • You are welcome, Chuck. You are one of the core people I write for. It’s� a trick. If you write for everyone, no one will enjoy it because it will be too impersonal. If you write for a few friends you put yourself into the writing and more people enjoy it. Thanks for reading. Oh, by the way, it is a 1950 that looks a lot like a 49 because it has been tastefully customized.


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