Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

September 23, 2013

Louis C.K. is wrong about smartphones

NEW YORK — For the last few days, I've been seeing the six-minute clip of Louis C.K. railing against the use of smartphones all over my smartphone. Every time I check my email, or read Twitter, or otherwise distract myself from life's essential loneliness, his sermon from the couch appears on my tiny screen, underlined with rapturous agreement. C.K. "nails it" on the "bleak, depressing reality of smartphones," the headlines tell me. His notion that "you need to build an ability to just be yourself and not do anything" is "sad, brilliant," "impressively existential," and "frighteningly on the money."

The fact that so many people in my social network have been so inspired by the comedian's attack on social networks suggests that no one finds his thesis too surprising. That's how social networks work: Likes beget shares, and shares beget likes. We're moved by C.K.'s speech because he's telling us what we know already: that phones distract us from the mindful contemplation of our lives; that they corrupt our souls and make us less compassionate. Nothing could be more in line with the backdoor Buddhism that defines the Louis Liberal.

But C.K.'s rant about smartphones invokes a deep conservatism, too. When he speaks out against the evils of technology, he short-circuits an important debate by appealing to an old anxiety. Do new forms of communication erode the public sphere? Do they degrade the human spirit? Perhaps — but we've been working through these questions since the invention of the printed book, and never found a simple answer. So why has C.K.'s crude and fearful take on texting earned such widespread approbation?

Here is the clip that has generated considerable discussion:

Text Only
Community News Network
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Ronnie Ellis: U.S. Senate race trail long and interesting

    By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

    FRANKFORT — Last week was a long one, endured under the onslaught of an awful summer cold and played out across the commonwealth. It began in Fancy Farm and ended it in Corbin with a trip to Hazard in between.

    August 9, 2014

  • Senate race becomes family affair

    By LANA BELLAMY
    CNHI NEWS SERVICE
    PAINTSVILLE — U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got personal on Friday while calling a report inaccurate concerning his wife’s role as a board member in an organization that funds anti-coal efforts.

    August 9, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks