Nicholas Lezard: Invasion of the brain snatchers

People's intelligence now seems to reside in their gadgets

Share
Related Topics

By the time you read this, an excited world will have been exposed to the latest gewgaw to come out of the Apple marketing department. It is called... but why waste everyone's time by naming it? You know what it's called, and I don't give a flying one.

For I am one of those people who does not feel the need to fetishise the technological accessory. I do not need a very expensive machine which tells me where the nearest restaurant is, or how to pick my nose, or how to amuse myself by playing with cartoon animals while waiting for a bus, for I have managed to live my whole life without one so far, and do not feel an emptiness in my life that can only be filled with the latest toy devised by Steve Jobs.

If the people from Apple come in their black helicopters to take me away and drop me in the middle of nowhere, then, yes, an application (I am resisting the word "app", not only an unnecessary contraction but an attempt, cf McDonald's, to assume ownership of the first syllable of their corporation's name) telling me where I was might come in handy; but whenever, out of curiosity, I type in my phone number on my children's iPod Touches to find my whereabouts, it invariably tells me I am in Crouch End. (The point being that I am not.)

This is not Ludditery, or the disappointment of one who has not been invited to a party everyone else is going to. This is genuine bafflement. Since when did people get like this, so pointlessly acquisitive? I remember at school being deeply impressed by a peer's new flash toy, but that was a while back and I have since learned to put away childish things.

So we are now approaching a critical divide in contemporary Western humanity. Maybe we have already reached it: that point where there are those who are light-years ahead with their uptake of new technology, and those too far behind to catch up, but who seem to manage perfectly well without. I still have the odd friend who survives without a mobile phone. While this makes them frustratingly unreachable at times, it means that they still have control over when and how they can be reached. (I particularly liked it when I was late for a rendezvous with one of them. He wrote "in the pub" on the back of an envelope and pushed it through my letterbox. "I got your text," I said when I hooked up with him a bit later. We survived).

It is as if everyone's brains and personalities have been sucked out; and such intelligence as they now possess resides only in their gadgets. Apple have always been keen to blur the distinction between one's own imagination and their products, and it would appear that a lot of people out there have assimilated the propaganda.

I rest my case because propaganda only works when people stop thinking. One wonders how such people would survive were they to be deprived of these accessories. Remember that the agents by which humanity was reduced to mindless zombiedom in Invasion of the Body Snatchers came in the form of... pods.

n.lezard@indpendent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA Manual Tester - Agile

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Bursar/Business Manager

£70 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Experienced bursar or business...

Secondary School Teachers in Ipswich

Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are l...

Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Qualified and/or experienced te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Scottish polls, the clown who saved Iceland and all about oil

John Rentoul
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories