Tech Support

Relationships in the digital age

It’s All About Him: Reflecting on Spike Jonze’s "Her"

Spike Jonze's new movie isn't just a vision of a possible future. It does an even better job of holding up a mirror to life in the digital age, right this minute. Read More

Disappointing to find errors

Disappointing to find errors in a piece by someone who is peddling a book on mastering the art of writing.

...and even more

...and even more disappointing to find my own error in misreading the title.

Actually, the book is about

Actually, the book is about mastering the art of quitting, and a publisher is selling it,. Please point them out and I will emend as necessary. One goes blind to the screen and it does happen. Thanks.

Towering buildings with huge

Towering buildings with huge windows dominate the landscape, and interiors seemed stripped down to their essence.

tense? present or past?

according The Cincinnati

according The Cincinnati Enquirer,

according to

Beautiful post!

Hi Peg

Beautiful post!

What's even more tragic is that as adults have become addicted
to the screen, they make sure their kids get addicted early
so that they stay out of their hair.


Thank you! I'm not sure that

Thank you! I'm not sure that parents act deliberately to insure "addiction" but it is very clear that many, many parents are ignoring the advice of experts when it comes to the use of screens for young kids. There was an article in The New York Times about three year olds and tablets, and you see toddlers with iPads and iPhones in their hands all the time. Perfect tools of distraction. When I write about the research and the "no screens" advice, my readership plummets. Bottom line? Parents don't want to give up their own toys for staying connected.

Hi Peg “I'm not sure that

Hi Peg

“I'm not sure that parents act deliberately to insure "addiction"”
You're right, I did word that badly. I guess it is more that kids just naturally learn their parent's media habits, which parents don't mind since they see media overload as pretty harmless (and convenient!)

“When I write about the research and the "no screens" advice, my readership plummets.”

Ha, well that explains why the PT bloggers so rarely write about the media addiction epidemic. But I do very much appreciate you bucking the trend and writing about this important subject.


Katie, Perhaps what's most

Perhaps what's most noteworthy about the digital revolution is the paucity of cultural dialogue. After all, the effect of television has been a subject of debate for over sixty years, and continues to be. That screen is also changing young children; in fact, recent research on the effect of the television being on around infants (and in most households, it is always on) demonstrates that it interferes with eye contact and perhaps even bonding.
Personally, if I were raising a child now, I'd opt for a school that was screen-free like Waldorf which I thought years ago was too out there. I don't now. Additionally, given that the preponderance of children and adolescents only know how to use their devices (as opposed to really understanding how they work which is something else), it doesn't appear that kids suffer from being screen-deprived. Parents are afraid of their kids being left out or left back. I think it's short-sighted,

It's truly astounding how

It's truly astounding how honestly absurd humankind has become.
What is the basic instinct that underpins love? As a man, why do I feel what I feel when I look at a beautiful woman? What is the name of the force that has driven so many countless men before me to court women and try to gain acceptance as their lovers?

Simple. It is that most basic, natural, primitive and instinctual desire to reproduce.

It is, after all, the way biology has worked for 1.2 billion years.

Admittedly, it's not the first time man would fall in love with something made by his own hand - the myth of Pygmalion comes to mind. Furthermore, it's essential for us to understand (and, in the process, to become attracted by) common experiences which we can relate to. It would be mightily hypocritical to state that I didn't feel some degree of affection for characters such as those in computer games, that are made, at times, highly realistic - but whose raison d'être is exactly this, to build on the complexity of human emotions and extract us from real life.

Still, pretending to live in a virtual world and living in reality are different things altogether entirely, and finding someone to love is something every man should be perpetually trying (and becoming a better person in the process).

Is this so absurd?

I haven't seen the movie but it doesn't seem that preposterous for a movie to be made about a man falling in love with an operating system. There was another movie recently about a man falling in love with fictional character he created that comes to life.

Before I continue I don't wish to be accused of male bashing. I am female and have only dated men, I have no first hand experience as a man dating women but I can assume the problems I describe could easily apply to women too.

I spent years dating before I stopped, as many of the men I dated seem to have the same challenge. They were very interested in their own issues, their own interests and their own needs. Most of the men I dated were not all interested in listening to or helping me with my various challenges. The relationships were much more about what I could do for them and very little about what they could do for me. I stopped dating because I just couldn't spend my life focusing entirely on another person and also handling my own life without any reciprocation. I ended most of my romantic relationships. I found my romantic partners would be deeply hurt and angry, and I was relieved that the relationship was over.

I'm not surprised that we now have movies about men falling in live with a software system. Technology is about machines helping and reacting to people, not people helping machines. Some men are all about themselves, and see romantic relationships as an avenue to find support services, cleaning services, psychological counselors and financial support. A well-programmed computer in the near future could at least handle a little emotional support and psych services for people who wish to be duped by a machine.

People enter the dating world in their teens and 20s with very little instruction on how to handle themselves. To many people seem to think romantic partners should also be free personal assistants. Society would be well served to teach young people much more about what a romantic partner might or might not do for anther person.

PS: I do say some not all. I did have one wonderful boyfriend who was able to listen and help me out, as I did the same for him.

I don't think the article was

I don't think the article was saying that the movie is preposterous or absurd at all. If anything, your comment supports the author's point that this is a plausible depiction of what may come, seeing as how people are not having healthy relationships and are already turning to technology for their needs.

Thanks, Anonymous #2, I

Thanks, Anonymous #2, I replied in pretty much the same terms.

I must say I'm not quite

I must say I'm not quite following your thread. I never said the movie was either preposterous or absurd, actually. The theme of something created becoming real or human isn't all new, of course; there's the Greek Pygmalion and then Pinocchio and even the Velveteen Rabbit. But my point was that the premise is made plausible in part because of the digital age we live in.

agreed...for some reason a lot of men never grow up...

I really don't know why that is. They have unrealistic expectations, wanting some idealized version of images picked up by their media-addled brains. As I am so far heterosexual, I have had to place limits on my relationships with men, checking myself when it starts to feel one-way, too much giving on my end. It's maybe a comment on relationships today, but it is very hard to find a real man, by which I mean one with emotional maturity, some ability to reflect upon and alter dysfunctional behaviours etc.

It's disappointing and I'm

It's disappointing and I'm sorry to hear you had to date romantically-almost-inept men. It's true that most of us aren't really 'wired' to take things like things like this, but rather more analytically. However, there is a clear distinction between rational and egotistic. I do agree society would be well advised to teach people in general about love, seeing as many people have forgot what reading a book means.

But, as a man, I should want to learn about love. It's not, like so many cheap films say, something that comes naturally. Because, as soon as you realise there is not just one other woman you could like in this world, it goes away equally naturally. Thus, it means you didn't really feel anything besides an instinctual desire - which, of course, no woman or man should be ashamed of - and therefore not love.

Men love with their eyes, women love with their ears. (Oscar Wilde)

Everyone got totally bamboozled once again (and as usual) by Hollyweird's gender bending gimmick: the lead character in this movie is really a woman, not a man. Hence the copious projection by so many women over it. Men just see it for the stylish silly sappy chick-flick romance that it is.

I'd contend the movie says absolutely nuthin' about men.

The Amiga OS circa 1990 was pretty cool, and better than the Mac OS, but I never heard of anyone falling in love with it. That's another preposterous feminine idea.

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Peg Streep, author or coauthor of nine books, is a New York City based writer currently working on a book about the Millennial generation.


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