Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Editorial: Touchtone Apocalypse

This is the Final Essay that I wrote for Comp. I wrote it in about an hour and a half. I am rather proud of it, and thought I would share. Enjoy.

Touchtone Apocalypse

Decades ago, viewers of Star Trek were amazed and dazzled by the Communicator, able to cross light-years to reach people with the push of a button. Now, in the early morning light of the 3rd millennium A.D., the wonders of the Communicator have allegedly been made reality in the form of the cell phone. The cell phone has been proclaimed as the great achievement of our time, a bridger of geological chasms and conqueror of distance, but be not deceived, good people of the world! This device which has been hailed as the peak of our current technological creativity conceals dangers and malice within. There are three types of problems with the cell phone that hold the potential to bring about the fall of civilization as we know it.
One of the most prominent features of cell phones is known as “text messaging” and is collectively lowering the intelligence of users around the world. “Text messaging” refers to text-only messages sent between cell phones, used as a matter of convenience instead of speech or used to deliver short, concise messages. Since many users utilize text messaging to send messages too short to warrant a full-length phone call, they seek for ways to shorten words and phrases to allow for quicker messages, and herein lies the danger. Shorthand begins innocently enough, utilizing acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud) or ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing) to express joviality or mirth. However, these phrases are often used to obscure a complete lack of substance and content within conversation. Soon users mysteriously lose their ability to spell basic words, using phrases such as “R U reddy?” (Are you ready?). This affliction proceeds to loss of grammar skills (“I is goin 2 da park!”) and lastly begins to worm its infectious way into spoken conversation. Victims of this condition are marked by glazed, staring eyes accompanied by constant attention and care given to the cell phone in the victim’s possession. Truly, the end times are at hand!
Secondly, cell phones cause a rapid loss of social skills in frequent users. While an individual may seem perfectly capable of communication with fellow humans through the distorted lens of the cell phone screen, he is revealed as an awkward, dull, borderline incoherent person when engaged in person. This is the result of a complete lack of human contact when engaged in cell phone communication. Users are often engaged in other activities while speaking on cell phones and are not even paying attention to the words of the other user. I have witnessed two adult women sit within arm’s reach of each other and text message separate people, barely aware of the other’s existence. We are losing our ability to make real contact with other humans. We are becoming zombies enslaved to necromancers named Sprint and AT&T! We are being transformed into vampires sustained only by the electronic energy emanating from the very devices that are enslaving us!
The final type of problem that ties everything in this message of warning together is the effect of cell phones on a user’s driving skills. It is not uncommon to see a person driving a vehicle while flippantly chattering away on a cell phone and then to witness the same vehicle flipped over in a ditch a few miles further down the road. Hundreds of vehicle accidents are caused by the careless use of cell phones every year. While this may seem to be simply an unavoidable consequence of contemporary technology, we must see that it is more than that. At some point, a fully afflicted cell phone victim will be involved in a vehicle accident with another cell phone victim. This situation would be easily solvable if not for the drivers’ complete lack of coherence and ability to communicate caused by cell phone affliction. The wrecked vehicles will remain where they are while other vehicles are hindered, eventually causing further accidents. The chaos will spread, causing all major roads to be closed. Drivers in urban areas will begin to feel these effects, crashing into signs and buildings and causing the complete destruction of major cities. With so many cell phone victims, constructive and preventative communication will be extremely hindered and ultimately fail. Thus shall begin the period tribulation which will indubitably precede the end of time.
Here is a portrait of a world ruled by cell phones: the wasteland of America is lined with the corpses of vehicles. All is quiet save a lone cry of lament: “I R SAD!” A man bumps into you, stops awkwardly, and, without eye contact, mumbles, “I is sorry. LOL” and shuffles into the distance. The cell phone is an immediate and potent danger that must be dealt with! He who has ears, let him hear! Repent, for the kingdom of—excuse me, my cell phone seems to be ringing. Ha, is Rob. I got 2 go. OMG, Rob have much fun E storyz! TTYL! LOL.

Ryan Howard,
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