Monday, November 21, 2005

iPods: Bringing Back Your Post-adolescent Hipster, For Only 300 Bucks

21st century technology is great, for the most part. It continues to compress even the most cumbersome objects into convenient, manageable pieces of flair, and the iPod is certainly the most obvious (and obnoxious) example. My thoughts on these devices (and keep in mind that this may just be bitter resentment that I still don’t have one):

In the quaint 90’s, you’d have to actually invite people over in order to impress them with your CD collection. It would require you to place the titles just so, to get the inevitable “Ween? Who’s that? Are they any good? I’ve never heard of them,” as you smile that practiced cat-bloated-with-canary smile. The Ween CD’s, of course, being placed in a prominent postion because those are some CD’s you own that you’ve actually listened to. The Bauhaus collection you amassed during your Best Friend’s Hot Goth Sister Phase is going to be scattered throughout the shelves, so as not to get any undue (and unanswerable) queries.

But these days you can FireWire all those arcane CD’s into your iPod, and go out into the world and play Dueling Apples with your cool new friends. It’s really just an extension of the Pokemon craze, except now artists like U2 have their own decks, and the cards cost 3 bills (or more). Even the units themselves open you up to condescension (you only got the 512 MB Shuffle?), to envy (you got a 30 Gig?), or even to cynical derision (you got a 30 Gig? You’ll never fill it up with anything good…); once you actually get to the real 12-sided dice rolling of comparing playlists, it’s really on. I swear, from my observations, iPod snooping has replaced some of the medicine cabinet peeking procedures necessary to evaluating a relationship’s potential. I’m waiting to see an article in Marie Claire or Maxim: What Your New Guy or Girl’s iPod Says About Them, or I Just Can’t Sleep With A Guy Who Has No Kelly Clarkson on His iPod.

It's even gotten so bad, that you can't even engage in the already-outmoded "burn a CD of a cool new band for a friend" anymore. Now, you have to make a CD-Rom of iTunes files or at least MP3's, so they can put it on their iPod first. Keep in mind, they still own a CD player in their car and in their home. Jesus!

And herein lies the downside to the instant-gratification, smaller/better packages for everything: we're now free to tote around shit we have no need (or no businesss) bringing out of the house. Now, thanks to the iPod and its brethren, we have Portable CD Collection Bravado, and E-Z Tote Snooty Critiques of Your Stuff.

Maybe I'll never see the above magazine article proposals in print, but maybe I will see IPod Usage Found to Cause Scorching Rashes in Males and Females.


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