An Intimate Knowledge of Someone Else’s Multiple E-mail Accounts
Now that people have several e-mail addresses, they expect you to keep track of them all. “Oh, you sent that to my AOL account? But I only check that on alternate Sundays. You should have sent it to my .mac or my gmail. No wonder I didn’t get back to you.” This is even more maddening when all you’ve done is replied to the address from which the e-mail was sent!
Will Schwalbe,editor of thinkbeforeyousend.com
Technology That’s Too Smart for My Own Good
Message to iTunes: Okay, my recent nostalgia for the ’70s got the best of me, and I downloaded a Dan Fogelberg song or two. Now my suggested download list is wearing a fringed coat and sporting sideburns that could keep a small family warm. I really don’t want Bread’s Greatest Hits or rare Jim Croce outtakes.
It’s as if my purchases of Green Day and the Arctic Monkeys were erased from your memory. Please, my trip to the ’70s was supposed to be a brief visit, not a never-ending journey into the mellow.
Andrew Alexander, executive producer of the Second City comedy theater
Technology is ruining everything. In particular, it’s gotten rid of the unexpected call from out of the blue. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’re in a horrible mood; the telephone rings. You don’t know whether to pick it up. You’re imagining it’s that stupid Elizabeth person who always calls you because she is so bored at her job and wants you to entertain her, so you almost don’t pick it up. But you do. And it’s a stranger telling you something that totally changes your mood, your day, maybe your life.
My God, the total exciting transformation of the call from out of the blue. There is so little magic in adult life. This was one of the few true magical things that could happen to you. But now with caller ID and e-mails and texts, you know exactly who is trying to contact you and what he or she wants. And most tragically, there is no unfamiliar voice at the other end who says your name with a questioning tone. Maybe this never happened to you. But there was always the chance that it could.
Bruce Eric Kaplan wrote for Seinfeld. His book of cartoons, I Love You, I Hate You, I’m Hungry, is out now.
Television Banner Ads
As a TV writer, I almost never watch TV. And one reason is those big banner ads that scroll across the bottom of the screen, interrupting a show I want to see to promote a show I never want to see. If I’m watching something about Charlemagne, do I need to know about an all-new season of American Chopper?
These banner ads cover up subtitles in foreign films and obscure key clues on mystery shows. And once, during the somber classic film Saving Private Ryan, a Day-Glo green banner unfurled featuring the capering cast of Uncle Fatso’s Family. And I wondered, Who are you people? And what are you doing in Occupied France?
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Mike Reiss, a founding writer of The Simpsons
Ads Written by You and Me
It was clever at first. But brands that invite consumers to dream up everything from a Super Bowl commercial to a new flavor of corn chips—blueberry mesquite, anyone?—have become crazy overdone. Welcoming us “into” the brand, as marketers are fond of calling it in their Power-Point presentations, is a gimmick: To them, we’re just patsies with credit cards. So Corporate America, here’s an idea for you after we consumers succumb to User-Generated Content Fatigue—invite us to come up with your CEOs’ pay packages. That’ll perk us back up.
Adam Hanft, consumer marketing expert and creator of the Flick Your Bic ad campaign
The Demise of the Laugh Track
Whatever happened to the sitcom laugh track? Sure, shows seem edgier without one, but not all of us are very good at guessing when to laugh. Watching a laugh-track-less sitcom these days is like trying to solve a mystery. You know there are clues; you just wish that one of them was the sound of prerecorded laughter.
Shap Sweeney, creative director of the humor website comedysmack.com
The Shaky Cam
Some directors want to put us in the middle of the action by using fast-moving, handheld cameras. I got that. But it’s literally making me sick. I get nauseated when cameras move so fast that the smackdowns in movies like Batman Begins and Quantum of Solace are just one big blur. If I really wanted to feel like I was in a fight,
I’d go pick one.
Matt Atchity, editor of rottentomatoes.com, a film-review site
Churlish Behavior = $
Since when has rotten, narcissistic behavior become a ticket to celebrity and reward? Eliot Spitzer’s hooker-turned–advice columnist Ashley Dupre (prostitution), Dancing with the Stars rug-cutter Tom DeLay (alleged money laundering), and reported Tiger Woods mistress Rachel Uchitel—a newly minted correspondent on the gossip magazine show Extra (as in “extramarital”)—are all recent enshrinees in the Hall of Ill-Gotten Fame.
And now add to that list White House party crasher/fame seeker Michaele Salahi, who is costarring in the reality series The Real Housewives of D.C. Seems the only question remaining is “What took so long?”
Frank Santopadre, writer for The Joy Behar Show
Personal Screens on Airplanes
I love having a TV set embedded in the seat back in front of me during a long flight, but touch screens? With games that require a lot of tapping? Get seated in front of a gamer and it feels like your chair has a built-in woodpecker. Even someone who can’t decide on a movie to watch can tap you into insanity on a long flight.
Doug Lansky, author of The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel
I’m going to do it this time: I’m breaking up with “e-lationships,” those text/e-mail/instant messaging–only relationships. The last guy I connected with online seemed promising. He sent me several lengthy e-mails and then asked for my phone number. All good. Until the texting started. In short order, he cycled through infatuation, obsession, jealousy, and annoyance … without ever talking to me on the phone! Needless to say, not a match.com made in heaven.
Jennifer Worick, coauthor of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex
Too Many Kodak Moments
There’s nothing wrong with sharing photos of your children with family and friends. But must you send all 500 in your memory card? Remember the moral of Jurassic Park: Just because you’re technologically able to do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Raquel D’Apice, comedian