Wednesday, November 04, 2009

If you ever needed another reason to not take David Brooks seriously

I'd just like to say a big hooray to Ezra for writing this, apropos of Brooks' curmudgeoning over IMs and text messages:
Columns like Brooks's irk me because they demean not only my lived experiences, but those of everyone I know. To offer a slightly more modern rebuttal, Sunday was my one-year anniversary with my girlfriend. A bit more than a year ago, we first met, the sort of short encounter that could easily have slipped by without follow-up. A year and a week ago, she sent me a friend request on Facebook, which makes it easy to reach out after chance meetings. A year and five days ago, we were sending tentative jokes back-and-forth. A year and four days ago, I was steeling myself to step things up to instant messages. A year and three days ago, we were both watching the “Iron Chef” offal episode, and IMing offal puns back-and-forth, which led to our first date. A year ago today, I was anxiously waiting to leave the office for our second date.

It is not for David Brooks to tell me those IMs lack poetry, or romance. I treasure them. Electronic mediums may look limited to him, but that is only because he has never seen his life change within them. Texting, he says, is naturally corrosive to imagination. But the failure of imagination here is on Brooks's part.
To people like Brooks -- and so many other middle-aged newspaper writers -- communications technology (in the broadest sense) has been something that lets them do the stuff they already did faster, or easier. What they simply don't get is that it lets you do other, totally new stuff, that would have never occurred to a previous generation. Like striking up a relationship between snarky IMs about Iron Chef.

What seems to bug Brooks is that young people have options he never did.


Anonymous said...

Brooks makes reference to the 'sex diaries' in New York mag as part of his argument. While the 'sex diaries' do seem callous, I trust them about as much as the Penthouse forum.

Steve Muhlberger said...

Everything bugs DB.