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They sure don't make nostalgia like they used to anymore.
September 5, 2009 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Punctuality, privacy, dead time, concentration: all dead or dying at the hands of the Internet, according to this list in the Daily Telegraph.

Only at festivals with no Wi-Fi signals can the gullible be tricked into believing that David Hasslehoff [sic] has passed away.

Insta-spoiler – the full list, with UK-centric or possibly obscure references linkified:

1) The art of polite disagreement
2) Fear that you are the only person unmoved by a celebrity's death
3) Listening to an album all the way through
4) Sarah Palin
5) Punctuality
6) Ceefax/Teletext
7) Adolescent nerves at first porn purchase
8) Telephone directories
9) The myth of cat intelligence
10) Watches
11) Music stores
12) Letter writing/pen pals
13) Memory
14) Dead time
15) Photo albums and slide shows
16) Hoaxes and conspiracy theories
17) Watching television together
18) Authoritative reference works
19) The Innovations catalogue
20) Order forms in the back pages of books
21) Delayed knowledge of sporting results
22) Enforceable copyright
23) Reading telegrams at weddings
24) Dogging
[possibly NSFW]
25) Aren't they dead? Aren't they gay?
26) Holiday news ignorance
27) Knowing telephone numbers off by heart
28) Respect for doctors and other professionals
29) The mystery of foreign languages
30) Geographical knowledge
31) Privacy
32) Chuck Norris's reputation
33) Pencil cricket
34) Mainstream media
35) Concentration
36) Mr Alifi's dignity
37) Personal reinvention
38) Viktor Yanukovych
39) The insurance ring-round
40) Undiscovered artists
41) The usefulness of reference pages at the front of diaries
42) The nervous thrill of the reunion
43) Solitaire
44) Trust in Nigerian businessmen and princes
45) Prostitute calling cards
[possibly NSFW]/ kerb crawling
46) Staggered product/film releases
47) Footnotes
48) Grand National trips to the bookmaker
49) Fanzines
50) Your lunchbreak
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (55 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Look, this is for all intents and purposes a light fare newspaper fluff piece, and some entries are debatable to say the least: polite disagreement is alive and well on Metafilter for instance, on our better days at least; and I personally use the Dutch teletext system every day and still find it handy and quick, just to name a few.

Not to mention that checking your phone for the time isn't really the Internet's doing, is it, and that Yanukovych wasn't so much killed by the web as he was... well, whatever's the opposite of killing. I could go on.

But whatever the article's journalistic value, it did cause me to reflect on the ways the Internet has changed life for me. And that's worth something.

I'll leave it there, lest I risk self-moderating the thread. Let me finish by initiating the inevitable:

51) Journalists with an eye for spelling
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:43 AM on September 5, 2009


Oh and by the way, I tried to start a rumour that David Bowie was dead at the Lowlands festival this summer, but everyone just took out their iPhones.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:45 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


5) Punctualitytion.

FTFY.
posted by The Bellman at 11:49 AM on September 5, 2009


Personally, I'm most concerned about #7: The trend also threatens the future of "porn in the woods"...

I hope it's a different porn in the woods in question, but who knows what havoc the Internet may wreak, if everything else on that list is dead or dying.
posted by heeeraldo at 11:50 AM on September 5, 2009


3) Listening to an album all the way through

Didn't radio and MTV already kill this?
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:50 AM on September 5, 2009


47) Footnotes

Are you kidding me? Now that people can actually follow them, they're *more* important.
posted by honest knave at 11:53 AM on September 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


For some of these, it's not the internet, but cell phones. (ie #5 and #27)

Cell phones are no longer about making phone calls; they have cameras that take pictures, movies, surf the net, send emails, have qwerty keyboards, etc. Call me a luddite, but my cell phone makes phone calls! Not to mention the appalling lack of etiquette people use with text messaging.

One of my biggest problems is punctuality. With cell phones, plans become much more flexible and people feel as though they can be late because they can call when they're running late. I often don't bring my cell phone with me, so this has lead to some irritating situations (not to mention I am always 5 minutes early to everything.)

Technology and the internet have brought us so many useful innovations; unfortunately there's been some casualties along the way.
posted by too bad you're not me at 11:58 AM on September 5, 2009


goodnewsfortheinsane: 7) Adolescent nerves at first porn purchase

Hahaha, it's true. I first saw boob on the internet when I was like 9 (so around 92). I never had to have a "first porn purchase," nor do I have any reason, if I were to buy some, to do it in person.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:58 AM on September 5, 2009


15) Photo albums and slide shows

Well, you see more photo slide shows than ever due to the internet. Of course, the author thinks they don't count if they're on Flickr because, well, they're on Flickr. If anything on the internet is considered unreal, then yes, the internet has killed a lot of things. It can't be a true instance of the thing we care about because it's merely on the internet. Isn't this the "no true Scotsman" fallacy?

The same is true of many items on this list. For instance, "solitaire," "mainstream media," "authoritative reference works," "watching television together" -- those things still exist, but they've gone online, so the author thinks they don't count. Instead of saying these things have been "killed off by the web," he could have more accurately said people still desire all of these things, but they're increasingly sought after in online rather than offline form. But "The Internet is causing more things to be put on the internet" wouldn't have been a very exciting story, so he had to use the "killed off!" language.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:02 PM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I respectfully disagree with this list.
posted by Eideteker at 12:03 PM on September 5, 2009


48) Cash

Then again, maybe not. About the only time I do use cash is when I'm buying something off Craigslist.

Watches, though? Really?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:06 PM on September 5, 2009


Wait...um... What comes after 50?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:08 PM on September 5, 2009


"Watches, though? Really?"

Yes! I don't wear a watch and I don't always carry a cell phone. If I have to ask someone for the time, usually they check their cell phones. People don't wear watches as much. Again, this one is not because of the internet so much as cell phones (IMHO).
posted by too bad you're not me at 12:11 PM on September 5, 2009


"porn in the woods" - somebody reads metafilter.
posted by bigmusic at 12:12 PM on September 5, 2009


With cell phones, plans become much more flexible and people feel as though they can be late because they can call when they're running late.

Same with canceling and breaking plans. Anybody who knows me will tell you that breaking plans at the last minute is one of my major pet peeves. I think people were far less likely to do this when nobody had email or a cell phone; you were in no way assured that they'd get your communique in time. It must have been even better before the mass popularization of answering machines.

Wow..... imagine that. A world where people actually made plans and stuck with them.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:19 PM on September 5, 2009


> 14) Dead time

Well, this one is true. I've been trying (and often failing, but slowly getting better) to keep myself off the internet outside of work hours* (and attempting to reduce my internet footprint in general) because I've grown increasingly unnerved by a) how much time I'm spending on the internet, b) how the default choice for how to spend any of my idle free time has turned into surfing the web, and c) I hate watching a lot of television** but often choose to spend even more time staring at a computer screen than I ever did watching TV***.

* I'm at work right now

** NFL football excepted, and even that is turning into more of an excuse to fall asleep on the couch on Sunday afternoons than anything else

*** Not including, of course, when I was a lazy university student and had all day to sit around and watch VHS tapes full of Simpsons episodes and all-afternoon marathons of Ancient Warriors on the Discovery Channel. Good times.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:19 PM on September 5, 2009


7) Adolescent nerves jubilation at first discovery of father's porn purchase stash.

FTFY, DT
posted by you just lost the game at 12:24 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


The trend also threatens the future of "porn in the woods" – the grotty pages of Razzle and Penthouse that scatter the fringes of provincial towns and villages.

Sheeeeeiiiitttttt.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:26 PM on September 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


16) Hoaxes and conspiracy theories

Whaaa??? I'm pretty sure the internet has provided stupendously fertile soil for conspiracy theories to thrive and grow, not whither.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:32 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq: Watches, though? Really?

Watches have, in my experience, lost their utility as time-telling object because of cellphones but retain it as status signal, so the watches I do see now are either purposely ridiculous1 or are really nice. I don't think the internet's killed them, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think they are scarcer and worn for different purposes than they were possibly even 10 or 15 years ago.

1. like this one, that I own, wear pretty much constantly unless I'm typing, and weighs more than my iPhone. At the moment, I have put a stick on mustache on it for reasons I don't entirely remember.
posted by heeeraldo at 12:35 PM on September 5, 2009


What!? David Hasslehoff [sic] has passed away? Really is that true??
posted by nola at 12:37 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Michael, it is unwise to operate KITT while intoxicated.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:39 PM on September 5, 2009


51) Young people on lawns.

I have to resort to shaking my fist via webcam at a digital representation of a lawn with e-kids multiplaying all over it. And then twittering about it. Doesn't have the same oomph as the real thing.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:44 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember finding porn in the woods as a young man. I'll always wonder what he was doing there. Porn in a dumpster behind a Parochial school is not a Mefite so I'll just have to save that joke for later.
posted by nola at 12:45 PM on September 5, 2009


24) Dogging [possibly NSFW]

I'm not sure people meeting up for sex is being hindered by the internet.
posted by scrutiny at 12:49 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


16) Hoaxes and conspiracy theories

I have to disagree with this. I think that the Internet has made it possible for hoaxes and conspiracy theories to become more widespread, not less so.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:51 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure people meeting up for sex is being hindered by the internet.

Just 'tooth your way into a rainbow party
posted by porn in the woods at 12:54 PM on September 5, 2009


36) Mr Alifi's dignity
Twenty years ago, if you were a Sudanese man who was forced to marry a goat after having sex with it, you'd take solace that news of your shame would be unlikely to spread beyond the neighbouring villages. Unfortunately for Mr Alifi, his indiscretion came in the digital age – and became one of the first viral news stories.


They then link to a BBC story from 24 February 2006 (can that really qualify as "one of the first"?) which makes clear that Mr Alifi was the owner of said goat, not the goat-fancier, and that he was the one who caught the man in the act and took him to a council of elders. So not only has Mr Alifi's goat been sullied, his name has been as well. Thanks, digital age good old-fashioned misreporting!
posted by rory at 12:57 PM on September 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


The compiler of the list seems to have conflated the internet (good) and mobile phones (tool of the devil).

Also: David Hasselhoff is sick?
posted by pracowity at 1:00 PM on September 5, 2009


Punctuality- what?
In my circle of friends, chronic tardiness predated cell phones by a couple of decades. The only difference is that now, one does not have to wait to hear today's excuse in person, nor does one have to hang around just in case the latecomer actually shows up.

Those who were punctual before cell phones have tended to stay that way.
posted by pernoctalian at 1:25 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


8) Telephone directories
You can find Fly Fishing by J R Hartley on Amazon.


Is this something you would need a television to understand?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:32 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


47) Footnotes

Are you familiar with a MeFite by the name of Ethereal Bligh?

If he were here with us, he might have something to say about number 47. And some footnotes as well.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:55 PM on September 5, 2009


1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 15, 17, 19, 20, 23, 34, 40, 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, and 49 still exist just fine - Though many of them have adapted to the online world, you can't call the "telephone directory" dead just because you now get to it as phonebook.com.

2, 4, 25, 32, 36, and 38 never meant much to me in the first place - I don't even recognize half those names, and the latest news about them, including their possible deaths, means as little to me as the current weather on Mars. No, scratch that, I quite probably care more about the weather on Mars, insofar as its effects on various probes and rovers go.

9, 16, 18, and 26 still exist, we can just prove or disprove most dubious "facts" instantly now.

10: Once upon a time, watches hung on a chain and went in the breast pocket of your suit. Then they had a strap by which you could attach them to your wrist. Now they go in a side pocket on your sleeve or pants leg and just happen to let you make phone calls.

13, 14, 27, 29, 30, 35, 37, and 50 still exist to whatever extent we consider them valuable in our own lives. Technology will never change our basic ability to improve ourselves, only the utility of some forms of self improvement.

24, 33, 39, 48: I don't even know what these mean - BUT, if I really wanted to know, I could find out instantly.

28: "Respect" always has, and always will, depend on the profession and the people themselves. The internet just makes it a whole lot easier to find out how many little boys your lawyer has played doctor with.

31: I would say privacy not only still exists, but in casual situations, more so than it ever did IRL. If we get into an argument in a coffee shop, you'll remember my face, my voice, my mannerisms, possibly even note my license plate when we leave. Here online, though? I harbor no delusions that a truly dedicated and tech-savvy person couldn't identify me, but for the most part, I could live and work with any of you and you'd never know "me" as the person writing this post.

44: Never existed in the first place.

45: The author needs to take a walk along the outskirts of any city's "red light" district, streetwalkers and their calling cards still exist in abundance.

So, that leaves...

7, 21, and 22. Okay, they've effectively vanished, but... So what? Mourn! Mourn for the poor Buggy Whip manufacturers! I don't feel "nostalgic" for adolescent anything, and I don't miss artificial limitations on when I can know/have something.
posted by pla at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


23) Reading telegrams at weddings
Never heard about that one before, so I googled it. This led me to this site of examples; representative samples include:
Forecast for wedding...
Expected development of warm front, with extreme
turbulence and moisture in lower regions.
Good possibility of six inches overnight.
Sun(son) is expected later on!

Remember Pearl Harbour... Have fun before the nips come!

A honeymoon should be like a table...
Four bare legs and no drawers!
Some traditions are better off dead.
27) Knowing telephone numbers off by heart
Ok, I'll give them that one. Although this has been - at least for me - replaced by a similar skill: I remember webpages often not by their URL but by the terms you can google to find them. Unusual phrasings, terms or typos are often relevant enough to put the page I want among the first five results. So if I want to find the specific recipe for naan bread I like to make I just google for "naan rezept serviette", because the recipe page I want contains the advice to wrap the finished product in a napkin (German: "Serviette") to keep it warm.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:06 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


4) Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's dead? Long live the Internet!
posted by msalt at 2:21 PM on September 5, 2009


45: The author needs to take a walk along the outskirts of any city's "red light" district, streetwalkers and their calling cards still exist in abundance.

Uh, streetwalkers don't need calling cards. You meet streetwalkers on the street. It's call girls who need the calling cards. Because you need to call them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:21 PM on September 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: I personally use the Dutch teletext system every day and still find it handy and quick.

And I for one don't mourn the death of watches, because I hate wearing any jewelry except earrings. Always bashed watches into things or took them off and left them somewhere. Cell phones, cars, and computers that keep time have simplified my life considerably.

Not entirely related, but I happened to buy a pair of men's shorts when I couldn't find what I needed in women's, and it had a freaking little cell phone compartment in the pocket! And I thought, fuck, women's pants suck so much, you're lucky to even get a pocket, because you're supposed to carry a purse everywhere, and dig frantically for them when they go off. Stupid women's clothing manufacturers.

As for the rest of the list, meh. Is reading telegrams at weddings a British thing, because..telegrams, really? I don't believe I know anyone under the age of 60 who's ever gotten one.
posted by emjaybee at 2:25 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


3) Listening to an album all the way through

Actually, Rapidshare and co. have really revived this for me. I mean, um for my friend.
posted by kersplunk at 2:29 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure about the tone of this article. A lot of the comments here seem to feel that this list looking back and mourning the things the digital age has killed; it reads to me more like "these are some things that have changed". Nobody but a movie company exec, for instance, would feel nostalgic for #46, "staggered product and film releases", especially as the accompanying paragraph is from the point of view of Britons bitching that all the American films get to them late.

Also:
40) Undiscovered artists
Posting paintings to deviantART and Flickr – or poems to writebuzz – could not be easier. So now the garret-dwellers have no excuses.
If only that was true. Posting is easy; getting people to look is hard. Oh, sure, you can do something crowd-pleasing like a picture of two popular video-game characters getting it on and get some eyeballs, but nobody sticks around to look at the work you do for yourself - they just see it in someone's favorites, favorite themselves, and move on.

Garret-dwellers can barely afford absinthe and rent, much less ad campaigns to get their work in front of their potential audiences. (Although it can be easier to create a meticulously-targeted ad campaign nowadays, too.)
posted by egypturnash at 3:07 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


37) Personal reinvention
How can you forge a new identity at university when your Facebook is plastered with photos of the "old" you?
Most of the college-age folks I know these days have a huge panopoly of identities. Nuke the old account, start a new one with a different handle...
posted by egypturnash at 3:09 PM on September 5, 2009


Let us just say that "the internet has ruined all that is good and true and holy," and leave it at that. 'Cause it's true.
posted by Faze at 3:11 PM on September 5, 2009


First!

oh shit I'm late
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:12 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


49) Fanzines

Yep, there's nothing worse for a nichey interest than being able to readily find other people who share it, especially if there's some kind of micropayments system to allow for the exchange of goods beyond your own real-life circles.
posted by carbide at 3:59 PM on September 5, 2009


In summation: that damn Internet killed my family and raped my dog.
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:05 PM on September 5, 2009


> 14) Dead time

Does this phrase have a more specific meaning in context of the UK context? Because to me, "dead" seems like a strange way to describe the sort of free, contemplative moments endangered by ubiquitous connectivity. If anything, the internet's Constant Novelty Machine isn't just killing that time, it's raising an unholy army of zombie minutes.

Never before, I think, have "active" minds been so able to stay asleep. That's not inherent to the internet, but it certainly presents an astounding amount of temptation for mindless distraction and passivity, and I know I'm sure as hell not always equipped to resist it.
posted by regicide is good for you at 4:24 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


carbide: "49) Fanzines

Yep, there's nothing worse for a nichey interest than being able to readily find other people who share it, especially if there's some kind of micropayments system to allow for the exchange of goods beyond your own real-life circles.
"

Yeah, I thought of that one too. Half the (mostly punk) zines I knew back in the day have just migrated online to live a new life as blogs or what have you – and the rest can just still make zines, right!

Plus, much like recorded music, I believe that the artifact – something you can actually hold in your hands – is relevant as ever, and in many ways trumps convenience. I mean, you yourself are a prime example of this, carbide. Or so I've heard ;)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:05 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


The ubiquity of free, hard-core pornography on the web has put an end to one of the most dreaded rights of passage for teenage boys – buying dirty magazines. Why tremble in the WHSmiths queue when you can download mountains of filth for free in your bedroom? The trend also threatens the future of "porn in the woods" – the grotty pages of Razzle and Penthouse that scatter the fringes of provincial towns and villages.
Hah!
posted by delmoi at 7:11 PM on September 5, 2009


I have a plastic storage bin in my closet that contains various detritus including 4 or 6 watches I used to wear in college.

The only watch of mine that gets any semi-regular wear is my one nice watch my parents bought me for my 21st birthday, which I wear if me and Mrs Fleebnork go out for a nice dinner, or attend a formal event like a wedding.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:13 PM on September 5, 2009


32) Chuck Norris's reputation
The absurdly heroic boasts on Chuck Norris Facts may be affectionate, but will anyone take him seriously again?


Did anyone ever take him seriously?
posted by hypersloth at 7:14 PM on September 5, 2009


> Not entirely related, but I happened to buy a pair of men's shorts when I couldn't find what I needed in women's, and it had a freaking little cell phone compartment in the pocket! And I thought, fuck, women's pants suck so much, you're lucky to even get a pocket...

Psst: That's for change. Well, these days, I suppose cellphones too.
posted by neckro23 at 7:33 PM on September 5, 2009


The dearth (death?) of wristwatches was brought home to me last fall when I had the task of teaching a group of people (ages 18 to 40), how to use a watch as a compass.

Only one person other than me had a watch, and my watch was the only one of the two with hands.

It was very amusing, and went a long way to making me feel old.
posted by faineant at 7:51 PM on September 5, 2009


I had the task of teaching a group of people (ages 18 to 40), how to use a watch as a compass.

Why wouldn't they just use the compass app on their I-phones?
posted by msalt at 9:39 PM on September 5, 2009


Why wouldn't they just use the compass app on their I-phones?

Because, during a crisis, the American government could choose to encrypt (or just stop emitting) the GPS signal the app likely relies on at a moment's notice?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:14 PM on September 5, 2009


A story:

Taking a break from packing, my BF remarked that this list was pretty good, and he specifically liked item 44. So I went to take a look at it and reached item 35, concentration, with its attendant XKCD comic.

I don't look at XKCD very often, so I clicked back into the archives a ways and found one (the google maps one) that I thought was funny and started to tell him about. He looked at me strangely and asked:

"So did you ever actually get to number 44?"
posted by kavasa at 6:43 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why wouldn't they just use the compass app on their I-phones?

Because, during a crisis, the American government could choose to encrypt (or just stop emitting) the GPS signal the app likely relies on at a moment's notice?


At least on my phone, the compass app is based on the fact that it has a built-in compass + accelerometer. I'm told the new iphone (3gs) are the same.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:35 AM on September 7, 2009


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