March 20, 2005

Bad Connections

13wwln.184.jpg Christine Rosen writes a very interesting for The New York Times on how personal technologies like our cells and TiVos have put us out of touch with the manners and mores of public life.

"The sociologist Erving Goffman observed that there is something deeply disturbing about people who are ''out of contact'' in social situations because they are blatantly refusing to adhere to the norms of their immediate environment.

Placing a cellphone call in public instantly transforms the strangers around you into unwilling listeners who must cede to your use of the public space, a decidedly undemocratic effect for so democratic a technology. Listeners don't always passively accept this situation: in recent years, people have been pepper-sprayed in movie theaters, ejected from concert halls and deliberately rammed with cars as a result of rude behavior on their cellphones."

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