We're not in the business of watching the Today show so thank goodness somebody at Gawker is. Otherwise we might have missed this segment of Forbes managing editor Dennis Kneale breaking down into tears after being deprived of his email, cell phone, laptop and blackberry for 40 hours.
It's entertaining stuff but we've got to admit that we're just about at the end of our patience with this entire genre of anti-blackberry, anti-cell phone journalism. Sure its annoying when someone sends emails or texts while you're trying to have a conversation with them, or chats away on a cell phone while you need some peace and quiet. We applaud saloons, restaurants and private clubs that have banned using the devices indoors. (By the way, the New York Athletic Club and the Ear Inn seem to have struck the perfect balance by leaving in their old phone booths, with the phones stripped out, and restricting cell phone and blackberry use to the booths). But this is all going a bit too far now.
Mobile phones and blackberries are very useful devices. When one the DealBreaker staff was recently "mowed down" by a hit-and-run driver on the lower east side, an ambulance arrived in amazingly short order, thanks in part to the fact that someone on the scene summoned them with a mobile phone. When that same staffer was confined to the hospital for several days, we gained new appreciation of the benefits of mobile communication.
We've found blackberries and mobile phones useful in far more mundane ways as well. Back when we worked on deals that sometimes involved long periods of waiting around doing nothing at all while we waited for some documentation to be produced or new financial models to get worked out, we made it a habit of skipping out to a movie. We'd sit comfortably in a theater with stadium seating, having set our voicemail to forward to our cell phone and our knowing we'd get our emails instantly on our blackberries. It often meant walking out of a movie once our services were needed but it was far more pleasant than shuffling papers in a conference room. And, we later discovered, our constant practice of removing ourselves from deal rooms in such situations created the impression that we were very busy, and thus very important people.
But the benefits of mobile communications might go even further, as Steve Sailer has recently pointed out.
What device that spread throughout society in the 1990s made it radically easier for witnesses to report street crimes to the cops while they were happening, thus discouraging young people from making a career of being a street criminal?
Right: the cell phone.
All this blackberry and cell phone hating is starting to look like yet another reformist campaign against a practical and useful innovation. And, of course, it's being done in the name of our own physical and psychological health. We've had enough of that, thank you.
Dept. of How Stupid of Me Not to Have Thought of That Before [iSteve.com]