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

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Assistant Editor: Domestic violence is no petty matter

Siobhan Norton
 

There’s nothing wrong with GM

Steve Connor
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried