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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

Technology Good — Technology Bad

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer's perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

Technology today is a double-edged sword. When my grandparents were kids, just about every technological innovation was marvelous. The telephone, the washing machine, the elevator, the airplane, the automobile. Every one, a winner! Today... not so much. We have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. All good, of course. But sometimes, I think we need freedom from technology.


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Back in the days before “everyone” had a cell phone, one of my clients outfitted me with a beeper: an electronic leash. Oh, the idea was OK; I guess I didn’t mind. The beeper had a “private time” feature. You could set it to refuse intrusions at certain hours of the day. That’s good.

But it also had a news feature. Every fifteen minutes or so, it would transmit the latest news, weather, sports, and stock quotes to me. Now, I am as much of a news freak as anybody, but I don’t need a beeper telling me every time Barack Obama changes a law.

Please!

As much as I like technology, it often goes way too far. One obvious example in our past was 8-track tape players? Who in the world needed 8 tracks? What were they thinking?


Chatty Cathy

Technological marvels have been a staple of the boomer generation. Remember the doll that had life-like characteristics: Chatty Cathy. You pulled a string in her back, and Cathy talked. (Oh no; if you think I am going to comment on that particular feature... as my mother would say, you have another think coming!!) Today, Cathy has her own web site. Chatty Cathy: Probably a good idea.
Chatty Cathy went to school


Betsy Wetsy
To compete against Chatty Cathy, Ideal Toys offered Betsy Wetsy. Remember the commercial: “Betsy Wetsy cries real tears... Of course, like all little babies, Betsy Wetsy wets and needs to be changed... and just think of all the fun you’ll have giving Betsy Wetsy her bath.” Here; listen to the pitch:  
Folks, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! Today you can buy Betsy Wetsy in a christening outfit on the Internet for about $75. Think I’ll pass on that one. Betsy Wetsy.... probably a bad idea.

With that in mind, I’ve prepared a small list of recent innovations; I call it “technology good, technology bad.”

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