OK, so, that's a pretty strong title. It's a pretty serious charge. It's all true, however. What is happening is that technology is replacing craftsmanship. Hence, destroying pride, and the work ethic. Lets take a moment, and compare things today, to the "good ol' days". We'll work within some of my favorite hobbies/activities, as these are what I am most knowledgeable in, but, you can apply the same examples to nearly everything. Lets

In the olden days, you bought a camera, and learned how to work it. You learned about light. Shutter speeds. F-stops. Film speeds, film types. How to hold the camera still. You cared about each picture you took, and put forth the effort to do it right. Today, you buy the neatest plastic do all wonder. Load it up with 36 shots, and let 'er rip. The camera focuses, sets the shutter and lens, winds the film, and more. Now, there are cameras that watch which way your eye is looking thru the finder, and focuses on what you are looking at. There are even cameras that talk...say things like "smile" and "watch the birdie". The average neophyte picture snapper doesn't have to learn anything. They shoot 36 pics, and get maybe 10 acceptable ones. The rest? in the trash. Remember the old cameras? 8 pics on a roll. Huge negatives. Crisp pictures. When you were done, and got your film back, you were proud to get 8 out of 8 good ones. Now, you get 8 out of 36, and are angry that the camera let you screw up. I'll bet the film makers are thrilled at the huge volume of film being wasted. After all, ya gotta buy it, and process it, before you see what you've got.

There used to be a saying, to the effect of "Get Tim to take the pictures, he's got a good camera", to which the standard reply was "it's not the camera, it's the photographer", meaning that knowing what you were doing will make a better picture than using the fanciest camera. Sadly, today, it's become the truth. Find someone with the fanciest camera, so they don't have to learn anything.

OK, new example (I'm just warming up). Cars. Sure, some technology is great. Seat belts. Anti-lock brakes (actually, designed so stupid people who lock the brakes don't skid as easily or as much), and other safety items. However, we have removed the need to know anything about your car. When it breaks, you pay big $$ so the kid at the shop can stick in a new do all wonder box. Remember when dad could tune up the Chevy (or Desoto, or Edsel for that matter) in the driveway, on a Saturday afternoon, and it would run like a fine tuned instrument? Not anymore. The few things we could work on, have now been rigged to stop "tinkering" by the stupid people out in garage land. Now, when the car breaks, we throw up our hands, and reach deep into our wallets. Gimmie a set of points, a Holley four barrel, and some belts that don't cost $60 and need 14 special tools to install.

Technology is now providing all our entertainment needs. TV. VCR's. CD's. All made in a manner that prohibits repair, by oneself, or in any cost effective manner. Gee, my $100 CD player goes boink boink instead of can fix it for just 93.50. OK. What, the TV is on the fritz? I'll just run to cheep-mart and get another. Remember when you could test the tubes, replace 'em yourself. or, when the TV guy would come to the house, and not charge as much as the set cost? Remember when you could replace the needle in your phonograph? Put a penny on the tone arm to get that worn out record to play.

This phenonomon is present in darn near everything. We just bought a lamp. The kind that sits on the floor, is about 5 feet tall, and shines the light onto the ceiling where it reflects into the room. On sale, just $14.97. New bulb? halogen, of course, and only $6.97. Gee, two bulbs equal one lamp.

No matter where you go. Remember piano lessons. Remember learning a little music theory? Now, it's "gimmie the new electronic keyboard. Plays it's own harmony, adds drums, and 16 piece orchestra at the touch of a button"

Now, on to the next step. First of all, you've given up the time spent with the family learning how to do things. My son loves coming out to tune up the Edsel with me. He learned to gap spark plugs at age 5. We live in an unusual house. We use old stuff, 'cause I love it. I'm trying to teach my kids to slow down, learn something, and show pride in a job well done. Take honor in being able to fix something rather than throw it out and buy another. The internet, and the computer, are, surprisingly, helping with the return to learning. With e-mail, kids are actually learning to type, to construct a sentence, and communicate. It's a melding of technology, and education. It provides access to things they might not otherwise get to know.

But, how about those VCR's. CD players. Cripes, we have 7 CD players in our house! I hate it. How about all the expense of replacing everything 'cause it's worn out, or the expensive bills to maintain everything. How do we afford the luxury of having technology do everything for us/ We ALL work. mom, Dad, the kids, sometimes two jobs at once for each. Gotta buy the latest. Naturally, when everyone is working, and in pursuit of the almighty buck, no one has time for the family. The kids need the gizmo's to keep them occupied. If we all slowed down a little, came to rely on ourselves for entertainment. Took time to learn, and inter act, we wouldn't need all the fancy stuff. only Mom or Dad would have to work. (I don't care who works, Mom, or Dad, but it should only be one). There's nothing to do, and no one around to teach them anything, or get their interest caught up in something worthwhile. So, the kids stare at Bevis and Butthead, and think it's funny. They hang out at the malls, roam the streets, and generally get into trouble.

I'm fortunate that, at times, I can interest my kids in things other than modern day crap. We actually have an appreciation for "I Love Lucy". My son (as I) love the music of Buddy Holly, and he has learned to play darn near every BH tune on guitar, and the words too. Naturally, we provide him a Stratocaster and an amp (with tubes in it of course), to play. We listen to his "shows" and encourage him. Sometimes we even jam together. My middle kids are into the simple things, writing real letters. Art. And messing up their rooms. I may have come to my senses a little late for my teenager, but I believe there is still hope, even for her. I like to do things the old way. I like black and white TV. I like carburetors. I like tubes. I like phonograph records..and old cameras with 8 pictures on a roll, and making cookies from scratch, and playing the piano and singing, real Christmas trees with BIG light bulbs, I like gapping sparkplugs, and I like teaching it all to my kids. Unfortunately, it's all obsolete now, and will be even more out of fashion by the time they grow up. But..hopefully, it will teach them things. Like workmanship. Besides, after my son inherits the tube tester, he'll be one of the six people left in the world who know how to test them. Clever humor is better than crudeness. A work ethic. To slow down and..Wait for the percolator. Now, I think I'll go have a bowl of Cocoa my Fiestaware bowl...honey...come get your saddle shoes out of the middle of the living room...where's that BOOK (remember those??) I was reading...hey..where did the little plastic middles go, so I can play my 45's on the small spindle...

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