With Continual Reference to Justin Kahn.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Oh the Pains of Labor Day!: A Very Somber Posting that Contains the Ol' Eulogy Within a Eulogy Structure.

I have rejoined your time frame. Not because I need to give into peer pressure, but because I have a day off and I can spend my morning recording my leisurely thoughts.

Despite rejoining the Common Man's Temporal Settings, I still feel like I am just slightly out of step with the Times. Today marks the day when good Americans celebrate the literally hundreds of times that people have been born as the end result of painful labor.

While I'm all for celebrating labor we must not forget that while lots of people are born some die too.

I was reminded of this painful truth, just last Friday when I lost one of my closest friends, Bartleby the ipod. Bartleby was always there for me and could hold 30 gig of songs and Saturday Night Live Clips. In August alone there were three incidents where Bartleby kept me company late into the night.

While I was trying to deal with the loss of Bartleby, surrounded by caring support staff, I thought of another person I lost.

Neil Postman. Not that he was a real friend like Bartleby, but he was a friend through the books he wrote.

Neil Postman wrote books of cultural criticism and media theory.He argued that Technology doesn't always increase our options, but sometimes limits our options. In a lecture he talked about how he wanted to buy a new car without power windows--as a professor he didn't get much exercise and anyway he never found it that difficult to roll down the window. But the standardized developments meant that he couldn't get a new car without what he considered unnecessary features.

I thought about how my friend Bartleby had been a source of joy, but it also occurred to me that he limited my options: forcing me to organize books on tape to keep my brain going when maybe it needs some time off and filling brief bits of solitude which could have been devoted to spiritual and intellectual refinement with music (even if it is really first rate music, like the Best of Queen.)

I was thinking about all that Neil Postman had taught me as I stood waiting in the Apple Store. And then the guy from Apple told me that Bartleby would be replaced. I have to admit that I dislike Apple's attempts to prevent Billy Gates from taking over the world and yet at that moment I felt like I owed Steve Jobs my life.

Today, I will do my best to remember that while Bartleby is gone, it is through--and I mean this in a very metaphorical sense--labor that I have been given a brand new friend: Finnegan, the Brand New Ipod.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I have forgotten about Neil or the lessons about how Technology something, something, something. But it is a pleasant thought to know that while Neil is gone, through labor in Today's National Holiday Sense another great thinker may be given to us.


QuillDancer said...

Justin you have expressed your pain so eloquently. I wish you many long happy years with Finnegan, the Brand New Ipod, and offer you my most sincere condolences on the loss of Bartleby.

As to your (and the world's) loss of Neil Postman, he is gone, but his message will endure. There are many wonderful technologies which will preserve it.

Justin said...

Quilly:Finnegan is cool. He has Season One of Robot Chicken!
Happy Labor Day!

Comrade Kevin said...

Its a shame Neil Postman had never seen Robot Chicken, or he would have seen the heartwrenchingly tragic, yet medically enlightened story of Optimus Prime dying of prostate cancer.

Even a Morphing Robot like Optimus Prime can teach us the importance of getting our asses checked at least once a year as we get older.

Technology does have its place... it does have.. its place.

part-time buddha said...

I would prefer not to lament the passing of Bartleby and instead wish you many wondrous weeks wafting in Finnegan's wake.

Justin said...

Comrade, I have learned more about Health from Optimus Prime than anyone else, including watching House. J.

Justin said...

p t b,
Nicely played.

j d k

Jenn said...

First Steve Irwin, now Neil Postman? It seems that I am losing all my heroes.

Anonymous said...

I bought an iPod recently, but I never listen to it. Music is a substitute for action: deeds are my music. The only reason I have it is that otherwise people would think I couldn’t afford one, when in fact I am so rich I could afford three iPods. It just hangs from my belt like a second dick, a badge of status like cattle to an African tribe. My iPod is a glorified herd of cows.

Since I bought it last month I have had more than 800 women.