Saturday, January 3, 2015


Is there a feminine version of the word Luddite? Can I perhaps be called a Ludditress? Or a Ludditienne? It’s an ugly word and I don’t think I can fancy it up. Luddite/Cruddite—it’s one of those words that sounds like what it’s describing.

In today’s vernacular, a Luddite is a person who is behind the times, slow to adopt technology, or perhaps even verging on being openly hostile to technological advancements. (Wikipedia says the word is used as “a derogatory term applied to anyone showing vague technophobic leanings.”) My son said he thinks I’m a Luddite. My daughter wasn’t there when the word was uttered, but I’m sure she would agree. Hell, I agree, except I don’t think being a Luddite is all that bad.

A hardcore Luddite would not be writing on this computer, not posting on a blog, and not using the Internet. But I just used the Internet to do a little research. Wikipedia—frighteningly, the fount of much knowledge—describes Neo-Luddism as:
. . . a philosophy opposing many forms of modern technology. According to a manifesto drawn up by the Second Luddite Congress (April 1996; Barnesville, Ohio) Neo-Luddism is "a leaderless movement of passive resistance to consumerism and the increasingly bizarre and frightening technologies of the Computer Age."
Wow, they have a manifesto and they even had more than one congress. For people who espouse simple living without technology, they got pretty organized in their leaderlessness. I wonder if they have a database. While the simple living thing is appealing, as I read more I began to be less and less attracted by Neo-Luddism. Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) is a Neo-Luddite and some of them believe in using violence to achieve their goals. Okay, back away from this idea quietly and no one will get hurt.

So forget the Neo-Luddite thing—I’m simply a person who has not adapted well to technology. I do love air conditioning, electric washing machines, and gasoline-powered automobiles. I have a regular wired telephone in my house and a cellphone. It’s a flip phone and it works just fine to call people on my limited calling plan. How many ways does a person need to communicate? In person works—a nice face-to-face conversation is lovely. For now the U.S. Postal Service is still delivering mail. Telephones work just fine to have a conversation or even leave a voice mail message if necessary. I send e-mail and I’m on Facebook. I don’t twitter, instagram, or text with various devices. I read books that have paper pages because I love the feel of a real book.

I admit it—I do have vague technophobic leanings. Not because I eschew technology but because change is coming too fast for my brain to absorb and it all confuses me. All those lights and buttons and things making strange noises. Devices have gotten smaller and smaller at the same rate my eyesight is getting worse. Is it a coincidence or conspiracy?

At worst, my kids have become frustrated with me. They live in a different world than I do. On good days they are more patient, though rarely amused, with my obsolete communication skills. They say it would be so much easier if I would just text them. I want to hear the sound of their voices. When they were babies there were no such devices. Can I tell them that I gave birth to them and I think I’ve earned the right to hear their voices instead of getting a text from them? Probably not. So call me a Luddite.

I need a new printer. That’s all the technology stress I can handle this year. Maybe one day I’ll get some sort of iPhone, some gadget that has “the” apps like GPS and things that track your calorie intake and tell you what time the next flight leaves for Bora Bora. I want to go to Bora Bora—I don’t know where it is or why I want to go there but it sounds like a place where I might fit in better. They are probably living in caves and eating what they kill. In Bora Bora I probably wouldn’t be a Luddite.

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