Space Ramblings

PC World’s Blog Condemns the Jammers

In reacting to the New York Times cell phone jammer article I wrote about last week, PC World’s Emru Townsend is appalled by all the people who want to interrupt cell phone chatterers.

The only thing that appalls me more than obnoxious cell phone callers are those who think they should determine if a call is a waste of time. Why do I emphasize the jammer, and not the obnoxious talker? Because many people who blab loudly on their cell phones don’t realize they’re doing it. The person using the jammer, on the other hand, makes a conscious decision that the other person’s conversation isn’t important when they press that button. Or they decide the other person isn’t important.

Except why when it comes to public space, should the offending party get the benefit of the doubt? If someone behaves badly in a public space, then it should be presumed that the fault is theirs. By their behavior, they’ve already demonstrated a desire to disconnect and ignore everyone else. The jammer is just karma.

Emru Townsend also fails to recognize that while the opening paragraph of the New York Times article did involve the flashy “I got the Mojo” case of a guy shutting down annoying cell phone chatterers, something I myself pointed out was illegal, the bulk of the article was actually dedicated to people who want to control cell phone chatter in their own private space, including a restaurant owner and a therapist. Instead he focuses on the one guy profiled as doing this on a train.

Clearly, these folks don’t realize that with or without cell phones, most overheard conversation fragments are inane.

Maybe. But a genuinely important conversation tends to sound pretty differently than an unimportant one

Important: Yes, I think I’m going to go for the promotion. Can you talk to the guy in management for me?

Unimportant: Yeah this band totally rocks and Cindy told Marsha who told Sally how hot this new guy at work is

Now important conversation might slide into unimportant and vice versa, but then it takes on its current status at the time. And if it was really important, it wouldn’t slide into unimportant in the first place.

There’s almost always a mix of classism, ageism, and occasionally a tinge of racism in these comments as well.

Racism? Against obnoxious cell phone users? Must be play the race card at every possible opportunity? And is classism really a bad thing anyway?

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