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Hogarth judge

February 2018



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Hogarth judge

From a discussion of obsolete technologies

> Land-line telephones.

Good riddance. I consider the voice telephone generally to be rude, abrupt, and self-important. The act of placing a phone call demands that the receiver drop what they're doing and pay attention to me, me, me. Older generations still imagine that making a telephone ring gives rise to a duty to drop what you're doing and respond to its alarm; a habit that is fortunately on the decline.

Wireless phones are at least somewhat better defended against pitch-men. The problem with wireless phones is that now you're never out of reach of the cursed thing and its interruptions, while being unreachable by land telephone when those were the only common kind was always a blessed relief. I much prefer email, and failing that, a letter: either can be opened at the receiver's leisure.

Only bad news propagates by telephone. Really, when was the last time you got good news out of the damned thing? When it goes off in the middle of the night, it's likely not to deliver happy tidings. The Victorians had an elaborate etiquette for delivering bad news by letter, with black edged envelopes and the like, the better to allow the receivers to compose themselves before opening them. All of that went out the window when voice telephones became common.


... yeah, there was always going to be a June 5, 1968