Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Corruption of the Luddites Continues

I owe the inspiration for this post to an exchange I had with A Librarian.

She is always waiting for episodes of Dexter to appear online because she claims it is The Only thing on cable worth watching and she refuses to pay for cable to watch one program.

Fair enough. I have over 500 channels and I rarely find anything worth sitting through.

But it reminds me of a similar situation from about 20 years ago.

It was the early '80s and I was working at Halls in Crown Center. At the time, Diebel's had a shop there on the 2nd floor.

There was a guy who worked at Diebel's who I used to consult with on premium cigars and hand crafted pipes. He was a Neo-Luddite who fancied himself as a budding writer.

He was all about hand rolled cigars, freehand pipes, Montblanc fountain pens and finely crafted writing paper.

He didn't own a TV because there wasn't anything on TV worth watching. He only listened to NPR on the radio.

He was dead set against owning any sort of "computer", but he was considering buying one of the new Word Processing Machines.

Ya know, for his writing.

At the time, I had just purchased my very first computer. The venerable TI-99/4A.

I suggested that he should get one of these computers and a compatible dot-matrix printer to meet his Hemmingwayesque goals.

The only catch was, you had to hook the computer up to a TV to use as a monitor.

After repeatedly listening to all of my nerdgasms about how wonderful my computer was and all of the things it could do, he finally caved and bought one for himself.

He now owned a TV. He felt cheap.

But he comforted himself with the knowledge that it was a sacrifice he made for his true craft of writing. He didn't actually watch TV. It was simply a tool. Like a new nib for his Montblanc.

After a few months of using his new-fangled contraption, he confessed that he had in fact watched some of the public programming on KCPT. He liked NOVA and found some of the documentaries and historical dramas unobjectionable.

I viewed this as progress. A narrow, pretentious and persnickety man was expanding his horizons and discovering new intellectual challenges. Perhaps, in the process, he would finally come out of the closet that everyone but him knew he was in.

But he still vehemently eschewed (he used words like that) "broadcast TV". The opiate of the unwashed masses. He would have nothing to do with it. Just a little, occasional sip of Public Television.

Six months later he knew all of the characters on The A-Team by name. He could differentiate between Baracas

and Face.

I love it when a plan comes together!

A Librarian, you're next!


Satyavati devi dasi said...

I didn't know what a Luddite was and now I know I am one.

How come you never told me?


crseum said...

you know i live for shit like this. i have a luddite friend and wait for the day that she succumbs to the beauty that is mindless tv entertainment

Xavier Onassis said...

satyavati - I'm sorry. I thought you knew. You were on dial up! LOL! Plus, when you used your blog postings to record meticulous, Thomas Jefferson-like notes about what you planted where and when...well, I just thought you knew.

crseum - They will all be assimilated. Resistance is futile.