Several years ago there was an episode of NCIS where then Director Shepard( Lauren Holly) made a clandestine trip to Moscow in search of information that would either clear her father or help her in capturing ” la grenouille” . During that time she went off the grid as was bluntly called to her attention by good ole Leroy Jethro Gibbs ( Mark Harmon) , once she returned to Washington.
For my purposes, the key element in that scene was the grid to which Gibbs referred. In this case it was not the electric power grid that is somewhat well publicized, but a different kind of grid. Holly’s character was the head of an armed federal agency and as such could not become incommunicado. And in our story she did that very thing.
I was reminded of that upon seeing a segment of the Today Show that dealt with the death of the telephone. The part that I saw interviewed at least two people in the know about such things, one of them from Wired magazine, who opined that the telephone was dead and it was about time. His feelings are most definitely shared by outsidethebeltway.com writer James Joyner. He wrote an article on July 31, 2010 expressing how annoying and terribly intrusive a telephone call actually is. And he made this point that really ties in to the point I am trying to make. The current generation hardly ever makes phone calls because they are in constant lightweight contact, defined as texting, instant messaging , tweeting, etc.
So, its it a good or necessary thing to be in constant contact. to be always on the grid, so to speak? The majority of us do not need to be always available via a tweet or Facebook or hundreds or thousand of daily text messages. I share Mr Joyner’syner that this is,generally speaking, lightweight communication. Surely a part of my inclination is that I am from a generation that has not always been totally wired, but I think/hope it is more than that.
My wife and I have shared many times with one another in a phone call the words that” I just wanted to hear your voice” . We do text, but for us, it will never be an adequate substitute for the voice of the one person who means more to you than any other.
Perhaps, Mr Bell’s invention is on the way out. But from my perspective, I hope that it takes the long way.
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