The Inevitable Judgment Against Phones

It is my completely anecdotal experience that it is impossible to not be judged for one’s smartphone choices.  Bashing people for looking at their phones instead of the world around them seems to be a thing that memes are made of.

There’s also a fun phenomenon of OMG WOMEN WITH PHONES ARE IDIOTS!  Sometimes with fake Albert Einstein quotes, and my personal favorite is the person who claims that without gadgets like phones, we might unlock our ESP and telepathic powers.   If telepathy were a natural consequence of a lack of communication devices, one might have expected that telephones, or for that matter, the mail, would never actually have been invented.  Also that governments around the world would be investing heavily in depriving their spies of phones in order to make classified information less detectable.*  I, however, am quite close-minded about the possibility of telepathy existing, so what do I know?

Now in many ways, mockery about smartphones is old news and my response to it is well, meh, whatever, and if I have to respond I do so by linking to XKCD, because Randall Munroe is my prophet.  Where this whole judginess about smartphones gets really fun is that not having a smartphone is also a thing of which mockery is made.  I am one of those people who own a flip phone, which prompted someone to send me this cartoon the other day.


First of all, let’s get one thing straight about the way in which we use the word dinosaur; it’s inaccurate.  Dinosaurs, by the end of the Cretaceous, were very highly evolved.   It is not possible to evolve preparedness for random events.   Using dinosaur as synonymous with slow and left behind by change is a misunderstanding of the nature of dinosaurs, evolutionary change, and random events.  That being said, I decline to justify why I do not own a smartphone, as I tend to think the nature of my personal belongings is not open to public scrutiny, and quite frankly, I’m tired of the surprise and interrogation that my lack of this consumer good prompts.  It’s an interesting discussion, the rapid and widespread (globally) adoption of smartphones, and the effect this has on society, I suppose.  It is not so, however, so interesting to just assume that all people are alike and own the same things and demand that the outliers explain their failure to conform technologically.  Particularly when, by conforming, there is a good chance people will be labeled as vapid idiots alienated from the world by the very same people who criticize users of flip phones.

On a possibly related note, I have been hanging out with ham radio operators recently.  I am considering acquiring a ham radio license and then communicating solely via radio just because I could.  There’s an entire block of IP addresses reserved for radio, so it’s not like I’d be cutting myself off from the internet.

*Is that actually true?  Would telepathy be in some way naturally uneavesdroppable?  Or would we have to encrypt and obscure sensitive telepathy?  Would tabloid headlines be made by hacking into the private thoughts of celebrities?

Featured Image from The Telegraph: the Queen of England makes the first long distance phone call.  

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Elizabeth is a professional belly dancer, a flaky computer scientist, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in Georgia (the state of the U.S., not the country) but is nonetheless somehow not a combination of stereotypes from Gone with the Wind and Deliverance. Her personal blog is Coffeefied. Operafied. Fluffified. Beglittered.

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