Great-Granny got it right
Every so often when the flesh is weak and the need is great, I succumb to temptation and creep into the bedroom where no one can see me. Then, I close the door and rent a movie like “Ironman” or “Ironman 2” or possibly “Ironman 3,” or maybe all three at the same time, which I watch on my iPad because we don’t own a TV. I don’t want to encourage this sort of compulsive behavior so I securely fasten the headphones to my ears and no one else can hear. Generally, I restrict myself to G-rated movies like “Lady and the Tramp” — I’m really looking forward to “The Lego Movie” — but sometimes I go for the whole enchilada and watch a PG-13 like “Les Misérables,” which lasted so long the family was pounding on the door worried about me. I don’t consider this a betrayal of my personal commitment to put the entertainment industry out of business. I would never get cable TV or deface my roof with a satellite dish. And I certainly wouldn’t waste my time watching “Real Housewives of the Bayou” or a “Pay-per-view” of Kim Kardashian’s engagement party. Last week, I gave in to temptation again and watched a movie about the future, where one of the characters said technology is the answer to all our problems. Through technology, you can regulate your thermostat, predict stock market performance and trim your nose hairs. Because of technology, he said, we can have peace and prosperity and many other pleasures that previous generations never considered possible, such as free pornography and a new iPhone every nine months. Actually, technology is enslaving us. Just look at all those young people who are so addicted to their cell phones they sleep with them on their pillows. The latest craze is “wearable technology,” which includes computer eyeglasses, smart watches and gadgets that produce what the visionaries claim is a “seamless interaction — an extension of yourself.” They turn you into a cyborg, which is the 21st Century version of invasion of the body snatchers. A friend of mine often warns me about attempts to control us through technology. “Don’t take the chip,” he says, referring to the belief that the New World Order will implant microchips in us to gain total domination and access to our medical records, not to mention our financial records and Great-Granny’s secret recipe for spaghetti sauce. I always scoff at his theories because he’s the kind of guy who believes the military has a place in the New Mexico desert where it hides flying saucers and aliens they use as guinea pigs to test new products for McDonald’s. (The McRib was very popular.) Don’t take the microchip, my friend insists, even if they offer you an interest-free loan and free installation. Don’t take it in your hand, your head or your booty. However, when I read the New York Post every morning, I get the sneaky suspicion that a lot of people are already on the chip. The younger generation especially worries me because they’re so obsessed with technology they’d turn themselves into robots just to get free iTunes. Kids today can’t sit in the dentist’s chair without text-messaging, and social critic Louis C.K. recently caused a ruckus when he said he didn’t want his daughters using cell phones because they destroy basic human characteristics like empathy and compassion. George Orwell predicted these trends when he wrote “1984.” Even though Big Brother is a few decades late in coming, I’m convinced he’ll make his debut on Jimmy Kimmel pretty soon. And when the New World Order takes over, the only survivor will be your Great-Granny, who never learned how to turn on the computer and doesn’t own an iPhone. She’ll be the first to warn you: Don’t take the chip and keep the government away from her secret spaghetti sauce. Joe Pisani may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.