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iPod Fuels Vanity of Technology

 article about iPod Fuels Vanity of Technology

I've never been someone who is easily impressed by technology, and by technology I mean things like compact disc players that respond to voice commands and cellular phones that are capable of recording lousy speeches at wedding receptions. However, things have changed, and I blame the iPod. After purchasing my first sexy little MP3 machine, I see technological advances in a completely different way.

I am now amazed by the possibility that I can Tivo the Chuck Norris/Christie Brinkley infomercial at 3:30 A.M. on a random Tuesday morning if I choose. But in my pre-iPod state of mind, Tivo was absolutely irrelevant to me because it was incapable of bringing something into my life that I either couldn't already do (program a VCR) or don't need because I'm not that lazy (push the play button with my index finger). I think the best way that I can explain my pre-iPod frame of mind towards technology is to give an anecdote from what I think was my junior year of undergrad, which was approximately when DVD players were first being sold (semi-affordably) to the American public.

My friends were all about purchasing things that were sold at the local Electronics Boutique. At 21, they were dorks. I won't deny that I occasionally wore an NFL jersey (and still do), but that just means that I was (and still am) a jackass, but not a dork. Well, my friends would say "Yeah, we're going to watch a few movies tonight...on DVD!" My initial reaction was something like, "Well, would you like a trophy for that?"

Now, before you judge me as a disgruntled caveman, allow me to explain the justification of the harsh words I used towards the new-found excitement of my friends. First of all, I can be a bit of a grump if I choose to be, but like Whitney's reality star husband (as well as a pre-K-Fed Britney Spears) once said, "It's my prerogative." As for my friends' enthusiasm towards DVD technology, it was not based on the ways that the DVD format improves the quality of both the clarity of a film and the overall experience itself. They couldn't care less about that, and they watch a fraction of the films that I do.

You see, they were not ecstatic about being able to watch The Godfather without a fuzzy picture and tracking problems. They were pumped about the fact that when they watched their science fiction films, they would be watching them on a device that was technologically a step closer to the Starship Enterprise than the VCR. Yes, the icing on their dorky, Electronics Boutique cake was that they weren't going to watch movies that were halfway decent or even new releases. They were not anxious to watch the films because they love watching films; they were simply thrilled by the fact that they were going to watch a movie by means of the latest and greatest technological device.

My loser friends thought they were riding the wave of the newest multimedia trend. I thought that was ridiculous; and it was this mentality that separated me from those particular friends of mine. (Well, that and the fact that I refuse to be involved with anything that is connected to Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. My idea of a fantasy does not include either a wizard or a robot. My fantasy, for the record, involves a beach, a waterproof stereo playing "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak, and let's just say the last piece of my fantasy-puzzle changes from day to day.)

Seven years later, I now admit that I am addicted to technology. Plasma, high definition, DLP, and anything else that is available at the local Circuit City. It was the iPod that opened my eyes. I am becoming fascinated by technology simply because of the way it is evolving music (mass-storage), film (extra-features), and literature (archives on DVD). Let me be clear: I am interested in the effects of technology, not the technology of technology. Just because I'm becoming more technological does not mean I have to start appreciating science fiction. I find myself amazed by the fact that 15,000 songs can be squeezed into a stylish device the size of a deck of cards. The iPod provides music lovers with mass quantity and an obsessively compulsively organized quality.

Most importantly, it eliminates the hassle of burning mix CD's and the duty of keeping AA batteries on hand wherever you take your walkman. Although it is forty times the price of a walkman, the iPod is infinitely superior. Actually, it's downright beautiful. I think the defining beauty of the iPod lies in the fact that on any given day I can travel from the present day to 1987. I don't need a time machine, frosted jeans, or even a Chevy Camaro. All I have to do is find Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" and the leap instantly takes place. When that song ends, I can either stay in '87 and listen to "She's Like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze, or simply keep walking. Then, while looking at my reflection in the closest window, I could play "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon as I simultaneously jump back to 1972. And even though the scarf I usually wear is not apricot, the fact that I'm neither walking into a party nor onto a yacht is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that when that song comes on, I instantly begin to swagger to the pace of what I imagine to be the pace of Mick Jagger circa 1971, the person whom that song may or may not be about.

I predict that I will one day own an entire family of these devices (I now own two). It's a parasitic relationship, my iPod and I but I'm the parasite. I can only survive by sucking the music out of life as life continuously tries to suck the life out of me. In a bizarre way, we are all becoming iPod-dependent. Much like the cell-phone trends of the late-nineties, the iPods and their accessories are affecting fashion, automobiles, and the media worldwide. With models, anorexia and coke are out; the iPod is in. Celebrities are endorsing their personal playlists. Hell, even G-Dub himself admitted how much he enjoys jogging to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl." So one can realistically say that the iPod is bigger than the Beatles, even though Apple doesn't own the rights to any of their songs.

Although I am fascinated by the capabilities of the iPod's potential greatness, I also need to admit something else. I fear it. I fear the iPod! Soon, in a post-Christmas campus/city near you, everyone will be hauling around these cute little silver devices. It will be quite eerie, just like a Hitchcock film... no, wait, a Hitchcock film on DVD. Just because this all seems ridiculous, doesn't mean that it is. What it means is that if this trend is too much for you to digest, you can always go back to 1987, and that in itself is worth 400 bucks.

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