Do We Really Need This?

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2001:A Space Odyssey, the classic sci-fi movie by Stanley Kubrick, was and is my favorite movie of all time. I remember as a boy of sixteen back in 1968, upon seeing it for the first time, how blown away I was. I thought how cool it would be to, somehow, have my very own copy, available for viewing at any time I wished.

Years passed and home VCR recorders debuted. Suddenly my wish was granted! There were limitations: a certain graininess, the need to rewind, no real search capabilities and the fact that the tapes did eventually degrade and break.

Then, DVD technology came along and many of the aforementioned problems were solved. Voila! A near perfect media!

And now, the much heralded successor to the lowly DVD, the Blu-Ray disc comes forth. This is where my age begins to show. Or, perhaps, it is the realization that I really don’t need the latest and greatest technology to have a complete, well balanced life.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Luddite. I have a smart phone, a new Mac laptop, Bluetooth headphones, etc. But I’ll be darned if I see the absolute need to rush out and buy the latest, greatest iteration of every item. It is an obvious gambit by the manufacturers to grab on to every last dollar we might have.

I remember when I was still working, the tech geeks were debating whether they could put the entire (at the time) six episode Star Wars saga on one Blu-Ray disc. I can see them now, basking in the glow of their giant screen media center, bleary-eyed, perhaps bloated by hydrogenated vegetable matter and sugared fizzy water, in the throes of ecstasy, secure in the knowledge that they have the latest, greatest equipment to display it on, bowing low to the gods of Conspicuous Consumption.

I have learned that the banquet of life purveys far more interesting fare than passively sitting in my bunker in front of a glowing 60-inch plasma screen marvel, living vicariously through the lives of others. Outdoor activities, live music, theatre, museums, a whole range of interactive entertainment awaits those who choose to forgo the siren call of the latest geegaws foisted upon us by industry and advertising.

So, if you young (and not-so-young) whippersnappers want to spend all your money on state-of-the-art entertainment complexes, good for you. Be assured Samsung is thanking you, just as China is thanking you.

In the meantime, my old tapes, DVD’s and LP’s will be good enough for me until I’m dead and gone. Then my heirs can decide what to do with them.

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