Changed the world? Yes.
Improved interpersonal communication? Absolutely not.
Thanks in large part to Apple and Steve Jobs, we stare at screens. Like, always. If you head out for dinner tonight, look around. How many dads and moms are sneaking iPhone peeks under the table? How many kids are being placated with an iPad. We just don’t talk the way we used to; don’t communicate as we once did. It’s an odd and strange phenomenon. On the one hand, we’re able to reach out to others unlike ever before. On the other hand, we have become slaves to the most impersonal means of communication. Texting. iChatting. Tweeting. Facebook. I’m sure I’m annoying and obnoxious, but I’ve never had a year (2012) when fewer people called to say, “Hey, what’s up? Got time to talk?” It sucks.
This isn’t actually a rant, so much as a segue. For as much as I abhor the iPhone and iPad’s impact on things, what I r-e-a-l-l-y loathe is what has become of the traditional holiday card.
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, people went to CVS or the Hallmark store, bought one of those 30-packs of Christmas or Chanukah or New Year cards and (gasp!) wrote in them. Literally, you would (dear God) pick up a pen and scribble down a (what!?) personal (huh?) message. I’m better for knowing you … or … You bring true love into my life … or … We hope to see you guys real soon. Have a blissful year.
Nowadays, that shit has gone Menudo (extinct). I’d say 95 percent of holiday cards are pre-printed; usually with a photo of the kids looking oh-so cute on a beach or Disney World. Which is nice—I’m a fan of photos. But, truth be told, I’d happily trade the image for the sentiment; for the heart.
I don’t know why this has happened. I really don’t.
But, as an agnostic Jew with no horse in this whole religious thing, I’m of the opinion that it bites.