Some people feel the pull of the past strongly. They are experiencing the past again, but this time without the White Out, carbon copies and numerous typos. It’s nostalgia for a time when newsrooms and typing class were full of the chatter of these wondrous machines. I miss that sound (although I’m sure you can download a program somewhere that will mimic that sound for your keyboard.)
But nostalgia is all it is. We fetishize the past, romanticizing earlier times and forgetting the problems and annoyances. The past wasn’t better because it was a better time. The past is better because you were younger and still had hope. (I kid! I kid! Your best times could still be ahead of you, but if that’s going to be true you better take your pace up from a walk to a jog.)
Typewriters were great. Are computers better? Yes. no. Maybe. Computers are different (and a different tool) and come with their own problems and advantages. But the medium is not the message. The device is beside the point. What matters is what is communicated, not how.
I can communicate much more with my keyboard than I ever could with a typewriter. So for me, typewriters suck and computers rule. (Look it just got meta because it’s happening right now.) However, for all the bellyaching over computers, there are other writers who never gave up on the warm flow of ink on the page, calligraphic pens and parchment. (Then they type it on a computer so someone will see it.)
Technology is always destines to become outmoded at least until technology outmodes us in a fiery ball or the last plague. I love ebooks, but ( paper book lovers brace yourselves) ebooks are transitional devices, too, and I’ll embrace the next wave of tech after they go. Tablets are next, better smart phones with expandable screens, contact lens screens and eventually chip implants as The Singularity makes us cyborgs.
I’m not looking back fondly at a past that never was.
I’m looking forward to an exciting future
that I hope won’t suck.
- RIP Typewriters: Last Manufacturer Closes Its Doors (mashable.com)
- Why the typewriter will never die (guardian.co.uk)
- the end of typewriting (text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com)
- Ode to a Typewriter, part 3 (finebooksmagazine.com)
- Typewriters keep clattering away despite premature obituary (nj.com)
- The Typewriter Is Not Dead – It’s Alive and Well (blippitt.com)