“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”
– G.K. Chesterton
Whenever I find myself discussing new technology with someone under 30, I take a cranky pleasure in reminding the young wizards that I never even owned my first typewriter until graduate school in 1979. And that, I crow, was a manual. I then wait for their wows and bewildered expressions.
But this isn’t the start of a Luddite screed—I love all the new stuff.
And I marvel that I have owned and more or less know how to use desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It’s a matter of great pride that I’ve made such leaps from my lumbering metallic brown Smith-Corona.
Especially when I consider that I’m the same person who used that typewriter to press out such heady theses as “The Temporal and the Ephemeral in the Poetry of François Villon” and “The Theory of Happiness in 18th Century French Literature: From Chance to Method.” (Love those colon-rich titles.) Ooof!
Nope. Now I spend most of my time behind a gentle tapboard that puffs easily edited words and letters on a screen, mostly about less serious (but far more useful) topics and trades. Only those who’ve set and lined up paper on an inky typewriter roller then hammered out words at painfully low velocity can appreciate the miracle. I hold no nostalgia for the keyed metal box. Continue reading