What hath he wrought?
I had some thoughts the other day about the death of Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace). There is no question they guy was a seminal force in modern technology, especially in the field, for lack of a better term, of personal technology. Now we can listen to (compressed) music wherever we are, read (digital) books and magazines on the bus, in the subway, surf the internet, etc, all with a little gizmo called an iphone, ipod, iwhatever. The press is lionizing this guy as though he were the Second Coming, the new Thomas Edison, or whatever over-the-top analogy suits your fancy.
I’ve been accused being an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy, especially when it comes to music and literature. Well, I personally believe it’s because I happen to have good taste! In any case, while the press was covering Steve Jobs, I happened to be reading Cakes and Ale or the Skeleton in the Closet by W. Somerset Maugham. I was taken aback by the quality of the writing and the sheer beauty of the prose. Who writes like this today? We live in an age of email and “texting” where we use such terms as LOL, IMHO, and our language (at least for some of us) is peppered with the word “like.” Hell, who writes letters anymore? As for pop music, well, what passes for pop music these days is perfect for the digital gizmos most people (especially the young) listen to it on. Short, loud, and with a dynamic range of maybe 3 decibels (dB). (Dynamic range is the difference between the quietest and loudest part of the music. A recording of, say, a symphony orchestra could conceivably have a dynamic range of 100 dB.)
I suppose I’m ranting here and this is not to be taken as a protest against modern technology - I am not a Luddite. It’s just that when I hear somebody on the television say Jobs changed the way we all read literature and listen to music, I wonder whether or not this is a good thing.
Oh well. Bring back the golden age. I am a nineteenth-century man.