Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey la, Hey la, My iPod's Back

Can you stand it? They promise you a whole new relationship with "your music" with these things, but they never tell you, you haven't any choice. You immediately try to adapt the iPod to music's classical "app," which is sociable. You lend it out to the young and the otherwise incapacitated, to download stuff they're supposed to know (the sonnets of Shakespeare, the quartets of Josef Haydn, all of Bob Dylan), and still they keep bringing the iPod back to you. Mine's flying in today from the other coast, and already I'm plotting to get rid of it. Most superfluous thing I've ever acquired.

But there you are, 
no child actually trusts an iPod he didn't personally fill. The closed feedback loop of one's own lollipop, I suppose. It's the solace of dialectical materialism, fully hatched as a comestible of one's whole world. Here, our darling Fidel models the first iPod at school in Havana, and there, Bruce Weber documents its moral encouragement.

The thing is akin to a day of obligation; you don't possess an iPod, you undergo it. You plug it into your head and depart our mortal coil, like Pig-Pen in Charles Schultz, impermeable in your cloud. I acquired mine because it was said to "store everything," which I thought it might be handy to be able to fetch - only to find that it demanded that I dispose of nothing, or the whole thing would be emptied out. Much has been said about the alienating effect, the marginalising narcissism of the machine, but too little of its arbitrariness and denial of discernment - akin to Apple's telephone, if you will, which refuses to work in either of the two cities in my country likeliest to inspire a conversation. (They do let you have Chicago, so that's something).

So you find yourself, scanning the brow of the latest beneficiary of an iPod sharing, for the brightening reclamations of an interesting art.

"And what did your lollipop teach you today, my good fellow, of variation in the mode of life?"

Hey la, Hey la.


  1. That's very nice of you, sir. But I still want to borrow your Rollei.

  2. you may well be a candidate for the
    "more mail less e-mail" club.

    unlimited choice not only destroys discernment, but non linear thinking destroys minds. how i hate travelling on a train now - no serendipity, no chance encounter, only the silence of noise.

  3. I shall always believe in strangers on a train.