Monday, 31 August 2009
I wrote this column for The Observer, about how people should stop inventing gadgets which help us skip processes that are actually important… like the two products that were in the paper last week: a “fat burning” lip gloss and a “happiness-inducing” room spray scented with cut grass - which are stupid because things like diet & exercise, or mowing the lawn, actually bring a level of satisfaction and discipline that you miss completely if you cut them out and replace them with ersatz versions of the final result.
But I couldn’t think of any other examples. I wracked my brains. I stared at the screen. I couldn’t think of ANYTHING else that had been invented which operated as short cut, removing a process of effort that was quite important in itself. Couldn’t think of anything. And I was in a hurry to get to the airport for a wedding in France (not mine) so I quickly invented some of my own, just a list of nonsense, and hurried out.
It was lucky I left when I did, because the journey to Paddington for the Heathrow Express took ages. The minicab went all down the main roads, sitting in traffic, no clever side routes, no jam avoidance. Why? Because the driver was using a satnav. And he’d clearly been using a satnav for so long that he’d never learned the best way to get anywhere. Doh. Meanwhile I’ve got a column full of TV remote controls that give blood.