People, Cluelessness and The Odd Politician

It’s been a while now since I’ve been able to relate to most of the things the media rants on, and even less about what the media highlights as “progress”.

The reason is that being largely clueless about how technology works, most reporters tend to highlight either the hopelessly naïve, pie-in-the-sky aspects (which are eye-catching and sell rather well) or the wanton “curses” of technology (which are things old ladies gossip about on the ATM queues and tend to sell exceedingly well).

In short, they tend to completely miss the point or highlight whatever point will sell best. And even if selling copy isn’t their main target, they only too often get carried away while writing and write what reads best, and not necessarily all the facts (especially the obvious ones that anyone pondering the issues they write about will spot in an instant).

Take the new trend of maligning camera phones, which is so misguided that it borders on outright stupidity. All of a sudden, we’re getting bombarded by news that company X banned camera phones in their premises, that phones are outlawed in school gyms, and even outright cries that mobile phones contribute to child porn and the like.

Which, considering that a halfway decent film camera is now cheaper than a phone, and that just about any mini digital camera can take a lot more - and much better quality - pictures than any camera phone and fit in the same size pockets, absolutely reeks of cluelessness.

As usual, the real problem isn’t technology. We’ve had the technology to commit just about every form of misdeed or immorality for years now (or thousands of years if you consider that young men have been peeking through keyholes and pinholes at delectable young women since before Ramses’ time), and the fact that it’s available in new forms doesn’t mean people are going to abuse it any more than the other technologies the alarmists don’t mention. Especially not more than tried-and-true, utterly reliable and low-power technology like the keyhole.

And if they do, they’re clearly in need of an atitude adjustment of some sort, preferably applied at a very early age and by caring parents. No, not a smack in the face - that’s considered barbaric in most Anglo-Saxonic tenures these days, and the fact that its lack of application has probably led to previously unsurmounted heights of teenage rebellion is a fascinating (but taboo) topic that needs addressing by the next generation of American TV psychologists.

I’m talking about education in the civic sense. If people misuse camera phones, then it’s because they weren’t properly taught to respect other people, period. The same goes for film or digital cameras, or e-mail, the Internet in general, or the volume knob on their Hi-Fi. It’s all the same, and an astute observer will surely notice that the only common point between all these manifestations of technology is… the people that misuse them.

But people sometimes act out of belief that their actions are correct, and that must have been the motive behind the single most utterly clueless news item I’ve come across today, which is that it’s OK to respond to Spam - at least in the UK, and under the auspices of its newly instated Spam law.

Oh well. Back to technology now - people are definetly too complicated.