Monday, September 24, 2012


As much as I rally against technology much of it is for show.  I am not really a Luddite.  But I do enjoy mechanical things from watches to Victrolas to old cars whose parts I can recognize.  I thought I was a little backward and alone in this but, as I found out this past weekend, there is a whole movement out there that feels the same way.  In the program notes for a show that I saw last week the director wrote about the "Steampunk" movement.  According to him, "These retro-futurists in our midst (have a) glorious expression of neo-Victoriana through the lens of Jules Verne.  (They wish) to render our increasingly invisible and virtual world into ostensible and visible machines.  The more our information, and even our art, consist of bytes floating in a cloud, the more we desire to literalize the wired and gears." 
Whoda thunk it?
But that is not to say that I do not enjoy the invisible, silent conveniences that technology affords.  The following is a true story.
So last week I went to Canada for a short vacation.  It is amazing the automated devices we encounter every day of our lives rendering other people and even self exertion superfluous.  A little device on your car makes stopping to talk to the toll road attendant unnecessary.  A scanner reads your little device and the gate opens and you tool on through.
Around a lot longer is automatic door openers.  Young person no longer need to be taught to open doors for others.  They open all by themselves.
Toilets flush automatically when you walk away.  (I'll spare you the picture.)  No need to touch faucets anymore.  As long as you can find that darn little eye the water comes on automatically.
Automated soap dispensers saved us all the trouble of having to press a pump.

All of which made me think of this blooper reel from the original Star Trek series.  What happens when it all breaks down?  Could we handle it?

So, in Canada, after the automatic door, the automatic toilet, the automatic faucet, and the automatic soap dispenser, I went to get a paper towel.

So it's kinda like holy days.  Lets either do it or not do it please.  Otherwise it is just too confusing.  *sigh*


Pat said...

Teen aged boys used to tinker with their jalopies. Girls learned to sew and make clothing (which requires some engineering talent). "Shop" and "home ec" classes were offered in high schools.

Now, kids live a cyber existence.

ck said...

I LOVE steampunk! Do a google image search for steampunk computers. Oo, la, la!

lgreen515 said...

I love the expressions on the towel dispenser's "face."

Anonymous said...

Father, you are very talented at telling a story with the pictures! I never noticed the hand crank on the side until the last frame; then I went back and looked at the pictures and it was there all along. Just like in real life, huh! ;>