Are you reading this on your iPhone? Well, maybe you shouldn’t be! Bwog is back to defend the seemingly indefensible, and today, resident Luddite Raphaelle Debenedetti makes the case for the dumbphone. Since it’s not New Jersey, it won’t be our most hopeless battle yet.
“Are you two texting each other?” asked the curiously blunt waiter at Deluxe. I guess he had a point: the couple next to our table had been on their phones nonstop, without, so far as I could tell, a single bit of real conversation (apart from asking for the ketchup). Facebook? E-mail? Doodle Jump? Texting? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter: whatever it was, you can bet there’s an app for it.
Cyber life has its undeniable perks, not least that a smartphone can make any stressed sophomore look like a Fortune 500 CEO. Despite that (or maybe because of it), there’s something to be said about the simple, unassuming “dumbphone” that fulfills a mere two functions: call friends and loved ones and send emoji-free texts. Granted, it takes longer to write and send messages, but the thing gets the job done. Nor would it ever presume to replace the company of anybody sitting across the table. Plus, it’s nice to leave your room and get away from e-mail, Courseworks, Facebook, and all their ilk. No more gadgets, no more soul-sucking time sinks, just you and the people around you.
Moreover, what your dumbphone lacks in IQ it makes up for in toughness. It will undoubtedly survive the many falls it is destined to endure. It might not escape a scratch or two, but it definitely won’t sustain a cracked screen (it barely has a screen). Instead of pleading for a free replacement at the genius bar, you’ll be proudly showing off its battle scars to your friends. “Remember that time I dropped my phone in a bonfire and it still worked?!”
Now, of course your dumbphone doesn’t have it all. Let’s face it, the moment you adventure downtown, where the streets are windy and the locals unfriendly, your dumb-phone will give you a helpless, “You’re on your own, dude.” And Siri’s arrival makes even the Blackberry look like a brick to be broken.
In the end, though, you’ll get to a computer soon enough. They’re inescapable even without you keeping one in your pants. Am I saying that we should all go back to dumbphones? Nah, if you’re incurably unchill or preternaturally disciplined, stick with the smartphone. But for the rest of us, I predict you’ll recognize that the dumbphone will bring you the peace and quiet you’ve been craving without even knowing it… interrupted every now and then, of course, by an awkwardly loud vibration from your overstuffed pocket.
Older but still active phone via Wikimedia Commons.