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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who comes up with this stuff?

Honestly, who here has heard of "iPod oblivion?" And I mean heard of it before the last day or two.

I'm gonna bet no one, 'cause it's another made up "ailment" or "bad" mental, or psyche condition created by knuckleheads who feel a need to explain away temporary stupidity on medical-like terms - sorta like road rage, computer rage, and air rage, to name a few. So anywhere you get angry these days that location gets a formal rage label. And you have a criminal defense. Or any stupid thing you do gets a formal label, so you can write off your behavior as not being your fault.

According to the New York Daily News "iO" is "the zoned-out state of the earbud-wearing generation."

Anyway, I'm ranting 'cause a state legislator in New York wants to pass law that makes it a ticketable offense to listen to your iPod or use other electronic hand-held stuff like cell phones and PDAs while walking across a street.

Pedestrians caught using this stuff while crossing a street would be subject to $100 fines.

Now, I'm all for restricting people on cell phones while driving in certain areas, like school zones and the strip of road in front of the emergency room entrance at a hospital. Or at least make folks be on head sets in certain zones so they can keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.

But restrictions while walking? That's a little too Big Brotherish for me.

Anyone who's smart enough to use any one of the gadgets mentioned is smart enough to not get hit by a car.

And if anyone is dumb enough to step into traffic and not look both ways, well, isn't that just evidence of some kind of natural selection?

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26 Comments:

  • Maybe he's missing the days of the 80's boomboxes on the shoulder??? After all, the 80's have made a comeback...

    By Blogger Claudia, at 11:02 AM  

  • You might be on to somethin Claudia. Instead of getting hit by cars, now pedestrians can develop spine and neck problems from struttin' around w/giant stereos on their shoulders. I think this legislator is in cahoots w/the chiropractic lobby.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:36 AM  

  • Natural selection. I like that. hehe

    By Blogger Christina_the_wench, at 11:40 AM  

  • Why do we insist on legislating our personal rights away? What a moron. He should probably fine people for talking on their cell phones while walking too then. Hell, let's just fine people for walking.

    By Blogger Lee, at 11:41 AM  

  • Christina, it's funny, 'cause natural selection is one of those things I've always been a big believer in. It has to be true. There are too many people doing life-threatening (to themselves) stupid things for it to not be true.

    And Lee, that legislator actually did target cell phones too, not just iPods. He's comin' to get ya.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:54 AM  

  • While it's true some people are entirely too "zoned out" while listening to such devices, I suspect they'd likewise fail to pay attention to what they're doing, sans electronic device.

    iPods don't cause oblivion. Oblivion causes oblivion.

    [Which reminds me... isn't that technically a misuse of the term "oblivion"? I'll have to consult Merriam-Webster on this one.]

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 11:59 AM  

  • Yes, they'd be doing us all a favor, but I think legislation is all about slowing down the natural selection process.

    By Blogger The Dummy, at 12:09 PM  

  • Here's the problem with American public life--there is no agreement on proper public discourse and there has always been an effort by rich Europhiles to control the means and methods of communication. Their idea of civility is almost always cemetery quiet repose. No one else ever seems to agree.

    F'r instance,
    First you can't play music in public on an instrument; then you couldn't listen to your music too loud in public; now you can't listen to music in private with earphones. I think this is less about preventing a few morons from being removed from the shallow end of the gene pool than about generation cultural hegemony.

    You'll see the real cause for concern creep out at the end of this debate. That is, that everyone is so focused inward that no one creates a community based on the people around you. Ipods created a great feeling of solitude amidst the rabble, but every so often the rabble needs to discuss its needs, wants and desires amongst itself. You can't do that if everyone is that caught up in their innerspace. There is a point where we will cross the threshhold rom raging individuals to narcissistic assholes. Unfortunately for most people, that day is already here.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 12:18 PM  

  • When will people realize that you can't legislate ignorance and stupiditiy out of existence?

    By Blogger Kevin, at 12:31 PM  

  • ThirdWorst, let me know what Webster says.

    DD, I wanna push for a law to prevent this legislator from slowing down the process. I say let nature take its course.

    BD, that might be the most sensitive insightful comment you've made, ever on this blog. Very deep, very interesting.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:33 PM  

  • Sorry I missed you Kevin. That's the million dollar question. We need a lot more laws if we were gonna tackle stupidity and ignorance.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:34 PM  

  • im all for thinning the herd. but you can get killed by vehicles while zoned out wearing an ipod. it has happened. a jogger in tampa died like that recently when hit by a speeding motorcyclist. again, i wdnt advocate making it illegal. but it is a hazard, for sure.....

    By Anonymous dreaming, at 12:39 PM  

  • Good grief - was there all this hubbub when the Sony Walkman was the latest craze? (I know I'm dating myself here, but I remember that was THE THING to have at one time.)

    What amazes me is that lawmakers are wasting time of these types of insignificant issues.

    (And when you mentioned "iPod oblivion", I thought you were referencing the report that their internal batteries only last 18 months, forcing us to get new iPods in cycles...which sounds like another brilliant retail strategy.)

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 2:52 PM  

  • And if anyone is dumb enough to step into traffic and not look both ways, well, isn't that just evidence of some kind of natural selection?

    Yes it is. I would be willing to bet that the people who market stuff like Paris Hilton's fragrance line are behind this law. After all, they have to preserve their customer base right?

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 2:55 PM  

  • Back in the early 80's they said the same thing about walkmans.

    These days our society is ban and grab happy. Our fearless leaders love to pass laws for problems that don't really exist outside of the minds of blithering frenzy of busybody do gooders.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 2:59 PM  

  • Maybe we should add some things to that list of things you can't do while crossing the street. Like, sipping a cup of coffee. That's pretty dangerou to try to do while walking. You could burn your tongue or spill it on your nice shirt.

    Or maybe nobody can talk to another person in a crosswalk, so you don't distract them and put them in danger. Heck, it will be just like lunch at grade school. Everyone single file, walk, don't run. No talking.

    What an orderly society we will have then.

    By Blogger Jay, at 3:05 PM  

  • I just did a post on "iPod Ignorance" but my worst crime (while distracted) was a lack of social grace. I definately look and look and look when I cross the street w/ those things.

    I don't see how this b.s. law would allow new york city to stop more people they suspect might be carrying illegal handguns. They're gonna end up stopping people who are in possession of clove cigarettes.

    They'll be all like, "Why you gotta wear gay sneakers like that?"

    By Blogger Matt, at 4:06 PM  

  • Tig,

    I think the term you're looking for is "planned Ipod obsolescence" or the careful engineering which ensures that a consuimer product will fail within a certain amount of time after purchase, necessitating purchase of a new item. And yes, they do that, too

    You're not paranoid if people are really out to get you.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 4:13 PM  

  • In the old days (like, last year), we just called this 'ignoring people.'

    Now it's 'Ipod oblivion.'

    Nah. I'm just ignoring you.

    (Not YOU, JB. Obviously.)

    By Blogger SWF41, at 4:20 PM  

  • This piece of legislation is just another way for people to bubble wrap society.

    Reminds of The Simpsons where Homer baby proofs everything.

    By Blogger Evil Spock, at 4:56 PM  

  • Wow. ANOTHER attempt to legislate stupidity. What's next? Laws against stopping your shopping cart and then blocking the only remaining path while you take your time selecting between mellow and mild roast coffee while shoppers on both sides of you wait?

    By Anonymous The Sarcasticynic, at 5:17 PM  

  • I say we all rise up in revolt by kidknapping our Legislators and forcing them to cross busy intersections while wearing earbuds and listening to Ipods.

    For any who can cross both ways three consecutive times, we'll let them go back to work :)

    By Blogger dennis, at 5:37 PM  

  • I have selective iPod oblivion. Sometimes, I feel like wearing my earbuds just so I can ignore people.

    By Blogger mist1, at 5:38 PM  

  • Spock! a man after my own simpsons dvd. hahaha good episode.

    anyway, i've had to wait to get home just to post this comment and its been killin me!

    first let me specify that Oi was a phrase used in the late seventies by gutter punkers in the UK and here in america. Its what's screamed as an anarchist war cry.

    OiOiOi!!! (sounds like oy)

    so now they have this iO. first off... iO is a very trendy club in the Biltmore in downtown phoenix. Its not only hugely popular but can be extremely expensive with its discount 9 dollar beer night. ..


    that is all iO or Oi will ever be to me.

    why cant people just take responsibility for their own actions? if someone walks into a street and gets hit by a car are they going to sue Apple for the iPod making their attention spans shorter than a flea?

    By Blogger Yasamin, at 6:36 PM  

  • Dreaming, I like that: thinning the herd. But I get your point. People can get taken out wearing these things. That just means folks should pay more attention.

    Tiggerlane, I feel ya. This is a waste. Like iPod-users stepping in front of cars is what New York needes to be sweatin' right now.

    Queen, I can buy that conspiracy theory. Speaking of Paris, I'll be posting on her later.

    Hammer, you wrote the magic word: busybody. That's what this legislator is, a busybody.

    Jay, you are so right about the coffee. You could step in a pothole and end up with second degree burns.

    Matt, didn't you know? iPods can take away your hearing and get you run over. No way felons w/handguns (notice I said felons; I got nothing but love for legal gun owners) compares deafness or a good flattening.

    BD, they're out to get us. In a few years this'll be like North Korea. Dear Leader, whoever that ends up being, will pump government propaganda and really bad music into our homes for mandatory brainwashing.

    SWF41, I'd be crushed if you ignored me. But that whole headphones to block out undesirable conversation ain't new in NY. There was a short-lived fad there in the late '80s in which some people walked around wearing headphones with a dangling cord, not plugged into a Walkman or anything just to drop the hint that they wanted to be left alone.

    Evil Spock is like that Simpsons episode. This is just the beginning. As I recall, in that episode Homer even sealed the home telephone in cement.

    Sarc, there should be a law against that grocery aisle blockage thing. I wanted to choke this guy who kept stopping in front of me doing just that in Whole Foods the other night. It was like being behind a driver who keeps making quick turns without using a signal.

    Dennis, that's a great test. If they make it they get their jobs back. If they don't we get to see a real life version of Frogger unfold.

    Mist1, see my comment to SWF41. That was a short-lived leave-me-alone trend in NY in the '80s.

    Yas, folks're gonna sue the stores who sold 'em the contraptions. Thanks. Now I can't get "oy, oy, oy" out of my brain.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 7:48 PM  

  • The nanny state lives.

    By Blogger Fathairybastard, at 1:26 AM  

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