Sunday, May 15, 2005

Mother's Little Helper

Mother's Little Helper
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

I just read a depressing little first-person piece in Newsweek about a Boomer mom's lust for her new i-Pod. She gushes that she has 822 tunes stored on it, which allows her to create a sort of streaming soundtrack to her life that accompanies her on grocery runs, keeps her safely sedated during soccer practice, and helps her endure the boredom of swim meets and the like.

Remember Mother's Little Helper of the 1950's?

See what I'm saying?

I feel that the i-Pod is functioning just like Valium for this woman, only with a particularly narcissistic element: why should she enter into conversation with others around her, or be aware of ambient sounds, or confront the inner dialogue that is sure to arise in the silence of her over-scheduled, often-frustratingly empty days (her insinuation, not mine) when she can bliss out on a steady stream of songs that brings her back to the freedom and joy of the mid 1980's?

So sad. So sad. It's written in that fake-jovial "ain't-I-jes'-a-wacky gal?" tone, but this fish ain't biting. And no, I don't think it's charming that she and the other moms are standing around obsessing about their i-Pod accessories and trading tunes. It's just another example of inane thing-ism that gives the middle classes the sensation that they've really achieved something. Go ahead and download more tunes, lady. Upgrade your component. You ...are...getting...very...sleepy. When you wake up, your daughters won't have the right to a safe and legal abortion and our federal deficit will be larger than the combined gross national product of the entire E.U. But that's okay. Groove on with your bad i-Pod self.

I had been considering getting an i-Pod before I read that piece. Now I'm definitely not getting one. This computer is drug enough.


Anonymous Philocrites said...

Your jealousy is sending off sparks! And anyways, I'm so busy grooving on my iPod that I can't hear you!

(Mrs P is grooving on her iPod, too. She got it for the gym and plane trips. Mine is a commuter sedative -- um, I mean, a stimulant! Yes, a stimulant! As natural as coffee!)

Blogger Chalicechick said...

Yeah, I don't have one, but TheCSO does and mostly uses it on the subway.

Your rant reminded me very much of the speech my parents gave when I wanted to buy a walkman when I was 12. The annoying thing is, they let me talk about it for weeks while I was saving up for a really nice one and THEN told me I couldn't have one.

And did I mention how their claim that the other kids who didn't do dishes every night would grow up to not know how to do them and end up sad and alone because no one wants to be with a person who can't do dishes turned out to be a total lie?

Anywho, the CSO and I were actually discussing Ipods the other night. We were saying that it would be cool to have an ipod that could real the body's physiological signs of emotion and respond accordingly. Notice you're late for work,your Ipod changes to "Flight of the Bumblebee," Your cat dies, yout Ipod changes to "November Rain," etc.

OK, that would probably be bad. But an interesting sort of bad.


Anonymous Oversoul said...

I like my iPod and it helps provide me with a nice oasis of calm when work is too much. But I do understand the aversion to the obsession. However, I wouldn't let one vapid hausfrau help you to decide one way or the other.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Actually, the gym and plane trips idea is MOST appealing. Hmmm. I will have to rethink this. But I'm such a music lover I'm honestly likely to keep myself in a kicky show tune-induced euphoria for so many hours a day, it'll take years off my life.

Blogger Oblate-Man said...

You know, what is really sad are the responses you got from this post. Whether they agreed or disagreed, none of them felt secure enough to be serious about your position.

I do agree that our society is doing everything it can to avoid any kind of meaningful silence or solitude. We seem to be afraid to face either our own deep self or the Other who is desparately trying to reach us.

I was especially saddened by ChaliceChick, who seemed to use your post to act out some relational difficulties with her parents. I guess she found that safer than actually dealing with your argument.

Blogger PeaceBang said...


Your faithful correspondent, writing from Pennsylvania, reports that after one day of traveling and being subjected to the unavoidable, unremitting "cell yell" of others (particularly one vapid hausfrau type with one of the most awful Minnesota accents I have ever heard -- David M., stop laughing -- prattling on and on about family issues! to her pastor, it sounded like! At the very tiny, enclosed US Airways waiting area!) PeaceBang says "Sign me up for that iPod."
Perhaps I can write it off as a medical expense. My blood pressure is at stake here, people.

Also, the despicable little girl who whined to her boyfriend because he had chosen seats *across the aisle* from each other. "Why dintcha just put us on SEPARATE FLIGHTS, huh? Why dintcha? Why not?"
PeaceBang, finally turning around: "That sounds like a GREAT idea! Why don't you go take another flight?"

An iPod also would have come in handy during the 45 minute wait for my Budget rental car at the Philadelphia airport.


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