Growing older, I have noticed changes in my attitude towards many things.
Some things I am more tolerant of than I ever was as a younger man:
- my children, old people, swede, Swedes, suede, watermelon.
- the ffrench, banks, other people's children, pets, supermarkets, doctors, dentists, employment, people, utilities companies, telecoms companies, public transport, Tesco, politicians.
- WH Smith, Alan Carr, Graham Norton, SuBo, anything to do with the Unholy Trinity of Cowell/Osbourne/Walsh and their ilk, Justin Bieber, call centres, cars, printers, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, speed cameras, speed bumps. Then, of course, there is the ffrench.
- soccer, parsnips, Norfolk, gardening, jogging, Brussels sprouts, sandals, queues, The G.P.O., Milton Keynes, small dogs. Nothing has changed there. Cabbage, however, I still don't like but will eat.
Naturally, none of the above lists is exhaustive or, exclusive. I reserve the right to hate all manner of shit or, not. It's all a question of balance.
This is a new development. I have always loved tech and gadgets; it's what I've grown up with. Now, I just get annoyed and wonder: What is the point?
Take High Definition Television, for example. I'm a huge fan of Philo Farnsworth and his fine invention and I've been watching motorsport since, well, always.
However, when the Super HD Slo-Mo shots come along, it's time to two-screen and thrash someone at Words with Friends. When you've seen the Flow Vis paint dribbling over an Fernando Alonso's rear wing or, a tyre wobbling about on the wheel once or twice, that's pretty much game over. There's a limit to how interesting it is. Do programme makers really think that I want to see a 200MPH racing missile going very, very, very slowly, time and again?
The sports and soaps (which will, undoubtedly) form the bulk of the viewing figures are NOT the ideal subjects for HDTV, in spite of what you are told. Seriously, how closely do we want to look into the pores of our soap stars? Digital TV will ALWAYS have issues with pixelation, macro-blocking, digital rain, and mosquitoes, on fast-moving, detailed scenes. That is not just my opinion.
But, it's digital – it must be better.
Really? The entire process is NOT digital. Your eyes and ears are analogue. So, where does that leave us? I don't even want to go down the 3DTV route. Let's leave it with: GO OUTSIDE AND EXPERIENCE TOTAL 3D. It's called life.
Take Felix Baumgartner's monster skydive, last weekend. It was [INSERT ADJECTIVE OF CHOICE HERE]. He's lucky not to be part of the New Mexico desert. Being earnest, what did it achieve, really?
Well, he jumped from the edge of space and reached 833 MPH. He's the first person to do it and it's sixty years since Whoisit? broke the sound barrier in an aircraft...
Big whoop! I see the point of doing it in an aircraft. I don't see what is gained from a man in a spacesuit jumping out of a balloon, just so he can say he did it. It's a bit of a daft thing to do, really, wouldn't you say? Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
At one time, I would have gone mad at anyone who espoused such contentions arguments. I sat up and watched the moon landing on television. I can name every F1 Champion since it started, in order. I am not a Luddite but this obsession with technology is out of control.
The puzzling thing, for me, is that with all our advanced tech, nothing is made to last longer than a latte. All of our marvellous 21st century technology has built-in obsolescence. By the time you get home, it needs upgrading. Nothing is built to last. It's designed to fall apart, fail or, need replacing (for a cost), three weeks after the warranty runs out. Mephones, cars, computers have few, if any, user-serviceable parts and are mostly sealed units. I own a Miele washing machine and tumble dryer. I bought them in 1990. The two items cost me almost two grand back then. I thought that was a lot of money (and it was!) Then again, they are as old as my youngest daughter and she has been repaired more times than my washing machine.
I grew up through the 1970s. A cassette recorder stuck next to the transistor radio speaker was hi-tech back then. My children, the oldest born in 1984, have grown up with digital this, that and, the other. If I got sent to my room as a kid, I was bored to death. Send a child to their room these days (if some parasitic, politically-correct asshole with the IQ of a Polo mint hasn't made it illegal, yet) and they think: Sweet! You see where I'm coming from? We have technology which is pretty amazing yet, we don't appreciate it. We take it for granted and use it to become more insular and reclusive than ever.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating a Maoist return to the Stone Age. We should be using our mighty brains for making the world a better place. We aren't. Because we have the technology and ability to build new houses on flood plains, we do. Then, when they get flooded, everyone acts shocked and surprised. Yet, in towns and cities, whole streets of perfectly good houses remain empty, boarded up, decaying. What happened to common sense?
Maybe I'm just bitter and twisted because the last couple of years have been especially trying. Maybe it is just something that happens as you get older, like failing eyesight. Or, maybe, as you get older you just see things for what they really are, rather than believing the spin. Maybe this is what wisdom is: the ability to see through bullshit. I see that technology has caused us to stop thinking things through. If we have the ability to create this technology, we should have the sense to use it for the benefit of everyone, not just those who can afford it.
Mark L. Potts
The God of Thunder
18th October 2012