As regular Machines of Loving Grace visitors might have noticed from the sidebar, 2009 is its tenth year on the ‘Web. I thought it would be fun* to hop into the Wayback Machine and visit the site as it originally looked when it first hit the Internet back in 1999. One page, twelve typewriters, zero graphics.
Also brand spanky new for 2009, Machines of Loving Grace finally has its own domain name! Now instead of navigating to that awkward sevenels.net subdirectory, you can point your browser directly to http://machinesoflovinggrace.com. Be sure to update your del.icio.us!
Two new pages recently up: All About the Remie Scout, the most comprehensive coverage anywhere of Remington’s cute little Depression-era portables family, and an expansive table of hard-to-find Remington serial number and production info courtesy of the Hagley Museum and Library.
Finally, visit the new MoLG forum! It’s just like the old MoLG Yahoo group, only much, much better. It’s not just about typewriters anymore; it’s for fans of all sorts of retrotech.
* I thought it would be fun, but the quest ended up entailing unearthing boxes of poorly-labeled floppy disks, finding and reconnecting the Mac’s Superdrive, and determining which of the many different copies of the page was the true original.
For those who missed it, the UK’s Guardian ran a pretty good April 1 leg-puller along the same vein.
I’m not the first to speculate on possible intellectual damage from text messaging*, but I tend to agree that today’s instant, stream-of-consciousness forms of communication are harming our ability to think. Twitter’s entire premise not only reinforces blurting out minimalist, choppy thoughts, it actively discourages taking the time to form full, well-rounded ideas. It also conditions the brain to quickly abandon its previous thought and immediately move on to the next, popping (and pooping) ideas with the mental length of enjoyment and nutritional value of jelly beans.
I realize that the same complaints were made about MTV in the 1980s, and about television in general for years before that (anyone remember “Television, the Drug of a Nation“?). The lamentation that Interstates destroyed our appreciation for roadside America began almost the moment the system’s ribbon was cut. I do believe that this has been an ongoing, accelerating process for quite some time. A daylong road trip cut down to a race from Point A to Point B; storytelling reduced from four-hour epic films to one-hour television dramas to 3 1/2-minute music videos. Today, I fear that the ever-reducing drain on our attention spans has minimalized them to the point where our world view has exploded into fragments, and as a result we’re now seeing the wholesale erosion of this generation’s critical-thinking skills and ability to process ideas.
* “Texting”: not a verb. Knock it off.
If Michele Bachmann were an Afghan Taliban or Iraqi cleric talking smack like this, we’d have blown up her car with a Predator drone by now.
BTW, Al Franken won. Again. (What, fourth time now?) Now look for Norm “Scorched Earth” Coleman to appeal to the State Supreme Court…then the Federal Appeals Court…then the US Supreme Court. Then look for him to slink back to Brooklyn in a few years after he tries to run for Governor and discovers that he’s completely squandered whatever support he had even within his own party. For the most part, we Minnesotans are a patient, tolerant bunch. Our idea of road rage is to pull alongside a lousy driver and shake our head in disappointment. But this whole affair has got most of us–liberal, moderate, and conservative alike–ready to run Norm out on a rail.
Better-than-usual commentary from Jon Stewart on the current political santa anas. Our own state bird, Michele Bachmann, makes a cameo partway through.
Side note: to all the non-Minnesotans reading: sure, we may have inflicted upon you the crazypants likes of Michele Bachmann, Norm Coleman, Al Franken, Jesse Ventura, and Prince. Those of you not living in a state governed by an Austrian weightlifter might be tempted to view us Minnesotans as having, shall we say, questionable taste. To you I would just like to point out that we also gave you F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Garrison Keillor, the Mayo brothers, Winona Ryder, Bob Dylan, and the Coen brothers. Oh, and Kevin Sorbo. Hercules, huh? How ’bout that?
(Oh, was Winona not a good example?)
In the words of Monda, I am heartsick. The typewriter I have lusted after for ages, the Monarch 101, matched in its elegance only by its elusiveness, just went to someone with far deeper pockets than I. I hope whoever won it loves it as much as I have from afar.
I’m going to go cry into some vodka now.
I don’t know if any of you typewriter folk out there are subscribers to ETCetera. If you are, then you know what a well-written, high-quality publication it is. If you aren’t, well…you’re missing out. I myself put off subscribing to it until this year, and boy, what a twit I am for not having done it sooner! I used to think that it was only for high-end collectors and talked about only typewriters I could never hope to acquire. Yes, scarce machines are prominent in the publication, but in more of a “Cool! Lookit that!” way. There really is something for every level of typewriter enthusiast. If you have a collection of hundreds of typewriters, or half a dozen, or even one solitary but special typer, do yourself a favor and go to the link above and sign on. Tell’em Machines of Loving Grace sent you. If enough new subscribers come their way through this posting, I may come up with a little something as a thank you.