Afternoon Inquisition

3.18 Afternoon Inquisition

Each Wednesday, we bring you an Afternoon Inquisition supplied by the most recent winner of our Comment o’ the Week! COTW is handed out each Friday to a comment that has been nominated by a fellow commenter. To nominate your favorite comment, just quote it and write “COTW!”

Last week’s winner was Expatria, who has shrewdly turned this opportunity into a giant plug for himself. Clever! Here’s his question:

Recently, I decided to join the now near-ubiquitous social website Twitter (follow me, I’m awesome! http://twitter.com/jjuliano). I had been EXTREMELY resistant to doing so, at first, for a wide variety of good and not-so-good reasons, but eventually I could not resist and signed up. I’m pretty pleased with the decision, now, and I think Twitter has allowed me a small, 140-character entryway back to the sorely-neglected creative side of my mind.

I had a similar experience several years ago regarding the Harry Potter phenomenon, which I spent many years avoiding like the plague. I finally broke down when the trailers for the third movie actually looked, well, pretty good. I ended up reading all of the books, watching all of the movies, and even queueing up in London for the midnight release of the last book. I’m glad I opened my mind to the possibility I’d been missing something, although I recognize that it’s not always good to let one’s willpower be broken. These two cases are good, but surely many such indulgences lead to regret.

So my question to you all is:

What trends, fads, crazes, or other social phenomena have YOU resisted? And, more interestingly, which ones eventually broke down your resistances, for better or for worse?

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

Related Articles

92 Comments

  1. Pretty much all of them. I don’t have an iPhone/iPod. I don’t watch American Idol, Survivor or any of the pseudo-reality shows. I can’t say that I’ve ever watched a complete Seinfeld episode (get off my lawn!).

  2. I’m forty years old and I have no tattoos, was going to get one a few years back but couldn’t decide so then I thought it unique not to have one. Oh and i’ve never seen star wars-none of them!

  3. I have Sansa mp3 player and not an overpriced, crappy iPod. I have a smart phone, but it’s not an iPhone.

    I joined twitter but it’s stupid.

    There are others but I’m too tired to care right now lol.

  4. Don’t worry, Expatria, you can still be saved from the Twitter cult. I’m a survivor myself. I can de-program you.

    I originally opened a Twitter account because the other Chicks were tweeting, and it was a way to follow them. But I soon realized, as a person with a life, that Twitter between individuals is an exercise in slack-jawed egotism and is a horrible waste of time. And I realized, as a writer, that it is an afront to anyone who cares about the use of language.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Email and instant messaging killed good communication, and text messaging and Twitter shoved its body into a wood chipper.

  5. @Sam Ogden: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Email and instant messaging killed good communication, and text messaging and Twitter shoved its body into a wood chipper.”

    Are you sure about that? Perhaps our language is just evolving? And it seems that communication is pretty stream-lined now…

    I am a huge fan of the written word, but I dont’ think e-mail and texting ruined good communication. It’s just another form of communication.

  6. I have manage to avoid:
    Any online RPG.
    American Idol, Surviver, et. al.
    Facebook & all derivatives

    I did get sucked up into the swing fad of the 90’s when Squirrel Nut Zippers & Cherry Poppin’ Daddies went mainstream.

  7. @Sam Ogden:

    I originally opened a Twitter account because the other Chicks were tweeting, and it was a way to follow them. But I soon realized, as a person with a life, that Twitter between individuals is an exercise in slack-jawed egotism and is a horrible waste of time. And I realized, as a writer, that it is an afront to anyone who cares about the use of language.

    Thanks, Sam. Always nice to hear a friend and fellow writer tell you you’re a slack-jawed egoist with no life who doesn’t care about the use of language.

  8. Succumbed:
    iPhone – so much better than my stone age last phone it was like visiting the future.
    Harry Potter – glad I read them
    Facebook – found some long lost friends
    Lost – now I can’t stop

    Avoided:
    Magic the Gathering – playing or collecting
    World of Warcraft
    Smoking
    Myspace
    Twitter- I use facebook, seems redundant

  9. @Sam Ogden: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Email and instant messaging killed good communication, and text messaging and Twitter shoved its body into a wood chipper.”

    I beg to disagree. Twitter has tightened up my writing considerably. I love the challenge of trying to squeeze an interesting thought into 140 characters. As to its usefulness: I’ve found out about house concerts, beer specials, and even got on national radio a couple of times because of twitter. My wife can follow the progress of our day and I can follow hers. I frequently use this information to detour on the way home for ice cream or beer when I know she’s had a crappy afternoon.

    Twitter, email, texting like a chisel they’re just tools. You can use them to make a clock or cut the bejeezus out of your thumb.

  10. @marilove: @Sam Ogden: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Email and instant messaging killed good communication, and text messaging and Twitter shoved its body into a wood chipper.”

    Are you sure about that? Perhaps our language is just evolving? And it seems that communication is pretty stream-lined now…

    I am a huge fan of the written word, but I dont’ think e-mail and texting ruined good communication. It’s just another form of communication.

    I was helping a student with a survey. She was wanting to gather data on how boys were asking girls out. She and her classmates didn’t see any difference between talking on the phone and texting or IM’ing. I could agree that they are all inferior to face to face, but was surprised when they said that all of them were equally inferior.

  11. Oh, I heard of a new fad with Twitter that is called “reduction” or something. Witty jokes made by replacing the name of something popular with a the diet version.

    An example I remember is “Huey Lewis and The News” becomes “Huey Lewis and The Sound Bites”. There were a bunch more that were pretty funny. Some theater group started the trend I think. Can’t remember the details. Heard it on NPR while I was in the shower. That is an amusing and potentially artful use of language on twitter.

  12. Facebook is the only social network stuff I do except what happens here or on JREF occasionally. Some fads or phenomena can catch you by surprise and I’m with Expat on the H. Potter thing. My kids ate 15 and 18 so they grew up with the books and after hearing how good the first couple were I started reading and enjoying them. It was great fun watching Rowling develop as a writer and storyteller in the first four books. I was a foodie before there was such a thing and I’ve joined the home wine making and beer making legions which may be a bit of a fad.

  13. These are fun so far, all :) Keep it up!

    @DoubtingFoo: I too fell into the WoW trap, although I’m finally extricating myself. I quit last week, and once the month’s up, I’m done! Too much time and effort for intangible rewards, IMO.

    @Sam Ogden:

    I agree, somewhat, about the ways English is harmed by certain forms of communication. Personally, though, I place more of the blame on apathy and lack of moderation/editing. If no one is correcting you, it’s hard to keep up on grammar and spelling. And if you don’t care, but can still be understood despite misspellings and poor syntax, well, no motivation to change.

    On the other hand, I think constraints like Twitter’s 140 character limit can sometimes force you to be creative. For instance: I’m verbose (as most of my comments and, indeed, the post above, will show). Being crammed into 140 characters forces me to be more economical with my writing, and I think it will help me in the long run.

  14. @Evan:

    That’s almost as fun as backflips, which are when you write what a movie would be about if you watched it backwards in 140 characters or less. For example:

    Jaws backwards is about a shark that keeps throwing up people until they have to open a beach. (Not one of mine, just the first example to come to mind)

  15. Paris. I didn’t want to go to Paris.

    People just gushed about the art and the city. I was dragged against my will the first time. I thought, “it will all be crowds and I like Brussels better.” And then… WOW.

    As an artist, I got what people were talking about. Plus, once you leave the main attractions it’s uncrowded and still exciting and unique. The Mosque, the zoo with the unique animal buildings, the vast Natural History Museum with more bones than a dogs dream. Wow.

  16. Well, commenting on blogs was something I resisted. I’ve been working in IT for {an embarrasingly long time} and on-line for over a decade but never bothered to get involved in any discussions. SkepChick is the first site I ever added a comment to.

  17. I resisted getting a smart phone for a very long time, hanging on to my Nokia 6590i (circa 2003) with a pay-as-you-go plan for as long as I could. Lat month, after my tax refund showed up, I broke down and bought an iPhone.

    And I joined Twitter because a girl asked me to.

  18. I used to myspace, but I have since left the herd, and don’t intend on returning. I do tweet, but I have one follower. I was estatic that I had someone who wantted to know what I was saying, but, alas, he never reponds. I have a facebook, but don’t use it. I used to be in the TCG, but soon left the fold. I have a yahoo 360, an equivolent of myspace, but that is for my…less intellectual pursuits. Now that I’m in a Ning group, I’ve found yahoo 360 to be obsolete. I now have a group of like-minded individuals. I don’t keep up with the latest and greatest, mostly because I can’t afford them. I just got latest-gen vg platform, but that’s because some of my fave games are on it. I’m pissed that GOW 3 will be on PS3 and DAH:PATF won’t. I’ve never gjoined a MMORPG mostly because they havne’t come out with one that entices me that much, and once I drop my 50-60, I don’t want to spend another dime on you. But, Star Trek: On-Line will be out soon, and I might just have to boldly go. As far as reality shows go, I only got in to 2, both of them, not that real, and not that in to it. Finally, serial drama, not that serious. Not a fan of Lost, never watched it, never want to. I did read HP’s 1-5, but dropped off.

    So sum it up, sometimes I get on the bandwagon, but my attention span is so short, I fall off. what do you expect…I’M A MONKEY!

  19. The last time I recall actively resisting something popular, it was CDs – don’t ask me why, I don’t really know.

    Since then, I have not resisted anything popular – I just have lacked sufficient interest to make the effort to get involved in many popular things (Twitter, iPhones, etc.). Were I to find that I had a use for them. Likewise, much of the entertainment that people are into (Harry Potter, Iron Chef, etc.) I simply have lacked sufficient interest to bother with. Should that change, I’ll look into them.

    Some of the things that people claim to have resisted I tried and simply disliked (online RPGs for example – I’m a table-top gamer and so people assume that I would love Everquest, World of Warcraft, Dark Ages of Camelot, etc., when I actually found them rather exceptionally boring).

    I will actually resist things that I am disinterested in, but that people keep trying to shove down my throat, but these usually are not wildly popular outside of my circle of friends, and as such don’t really apply here.

  20. Don’t have/do:
    iPhone/smart phone/photo phone/etc. (I do have a hand-me-down cell phone that lives in the glove compartment and can only dial 911.) Obviously, no Twitter or texting.

    Myspace or the like. I actually do have a Facebook account, but I only signed up to get access to a friend’s photos. I haven’t logged into it in months.

    WoW or any online RPG. Or any kind of gaming system.

    And kind of mp3 player.

    The only TV I watch is via DVDs since my household doesn’t have cable or a TV antenna. No reality shows. No commercials!

    I’m pretty low tech. I like it that way. I’m too young to be an old fart, but I fear it is my destiny. I should just embrace it.

  21. @Expatria:

    When I look over my checkered and comically inept history of “romance”, my heart tells me that I will never make someone happy by loving them. Then my training as a scientist kicks in, and I think, “Isn’t that making a judgement from a small and biased sample? How good is my heart’s evidence for that position?”

    Were it not for skepticism and critical thinking, I’d be even more of an intolerable emo bastard than I am.

  22. Although I own a lot of Apple computers and an iPod, I don’t have an iPhone.

    Facebook never seemed worth the time.

    Reality TV shows where the producers script the show seemed oxymoronic since reality never follows the script.

    Even though I’m a vet I never put on of those yellow ribbon stickers on my car. I just wrote to politicians to get them to pass legislation to really support the troops.

  23. Oh, and I avoid a lot of animated movies. (OK, so I avoid a lot of movies in general.) I’ve never seen Lion King, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., or pretty much any other movie of this type that came out in the last 15-20 years.

  24. I’ve avoided iPhone, reality TV shows, cable or satellite TV, buying organic food, Twlight (which turns out to have been an excellent decision) and most recently, religion

    I said I would never have a gaming system, but gave in to the Wii. I also gave in to the flat screen TV which is great for Wii playing. I have a Twitter account that I look at a few times a week and a Facebook account that I check frequently.

  25. I didn’t get a cell phone (back when they weren’t ubiquitous) until I really needed one to not have to stand in line for the pay phone while in the air force.

    I didn’t read The DaVinci Code until I had to to be sure I got as much as possible out of the excellent Norwegian parody.

    Other than that I can’t think of stuff I’ve resisted, except for TV-shows that I’ve avoided because I think I probably won’t like them and/or I want to do something during the week besides watch TV. And I can’t think of any I’ve reconsidered. Gossip Girl doesn’t count, as I don’t think I ever felt any pressure to start watching it.

  26. I’ve never read a Harry Potter book or seen any of the films;

    I’ve never had an MP3 player even though I have downloaded numerous songs (I’ve always transferred them on to CDs or just kept them on the hard drive);

    I am not interested in having internet access on a mobile phone

    I didn’t see any of the new Star Wars films until after the last one came out on DVD at which point I saw them over a weekend.

    I guess I could also list Twitter: I signed up for it back in ’07, but never found a use for it until ther past month.

  27. I’ve avoided Facebook and its ilk. I didn’t have an MP3 player until just a couple hours ago, when I picked up a $20.00 one.

    I haven’t been inside a movie theater in over 13 years.

    I gave in to sat. tv so I could savour the Game Show Network. I look back and can’t imagine not having it, as I am totally addicted to Match Game and various versions of Password.

    I’ve never been a part of any sort of Poker night or game, outside of playing it with my person in my emulated version of Little Computer People.

    I haven’t watched more than a minute worth of Lost. Wii/Playstation and its ilk. The only pure gaming system I have is an old Game Gear.

  28. @SamOgden: I think that Twitter, IM, texting etc provide a unique challenge to communicators. As always, the medium is as important as the message. I think it takes just as much skill and thought into the appropriate way to send your message as it does to craft the message itself.

    I used to be a big fan of the handwritten letter but now, with email, it’s pretty much obsolete. Do I mourn the romanticism of the letter? Sure, a little bit. But in exchange, I am far better at keeping up with old friends than I ever was when I was writing letters. Email is simply a more efficient way to handle the communication.

    Similarly, is sending a deeply private or emotional message to someone via text appropriate? Probably not; you should probably talk to them. But should you pick upthe phone or see them face-to-face or write a letter? Those decisions of how to communicate have always been there and have always been important. We have more options now and broader means, but that doesn’t negate the need to decide what’s the appropriate way to communicate, based on the message you are trying to send.

    It may be a little harder now, with so many options and no rules set in stone (I know someone who found out he had a girlfriend through Facebook :) ) But I don’t think it diminished communication anymore than I think that not talking in Shakespearean English has screwed up the English language.

    Also, to answer the original question: EVERY season I say I will NOT watch Survivor and EVERY season, thanks to @Phlebas, I get SUCKED into that show.

    I only watch it because I can tell that Jeff Probst has just as much disdain for all the players as I do. :)

  29. I bought my first cell phone roughly two years ago, and I still have it. I bought it only because I was moving out of my parents’ house and getting on my roommates’ landline was going to be more hassle than it was worth. I find the cell useful enough, but I didn’t become a texting addict. MSN, on the other hand, changed my life.

    Similarly, it took me a while to get into LiveJournal, but I mostly don’t use my own – I read and comment on other people’s and in various communities. Facebook, on the other hand, is still for no. I have an account, but I found the whole thing so weird that I don’t use it at all.

    I won’t say “I was into Harry Potter before it was cool”, but I will say that I started reading them just before the true size of the hype hit, around 1999.

    I don’t play MMORPGs, but I think that’s mostly because I already have enough of an internet addiction without adding the crack that is WoW.

  30. @Blake Stacey: Just damn… That’s impressive :) Have you read Christopher Moore’s “Fool” yet? I’m in the middle of it right now and it is fall-over funny for us Shakespeare geeks in particular.

    @Indigo: MSN changed my life too – primarily because it allowed my family to chat regularly and cheaply while on 3 different continents.

  31. @RevChas:

    I actually have a grudge with Titanic and have vowed to never watch it. I just didn’t CARE about it, and when everyone went nuts and started spending tons of money to see it, that apathy turned into antipathy. Somewhere along the line, it became fun to just refuse to watch it and act like there was some substantial gripe behind it.

  32. Excessive cell phone use.

    1. 95% of the time I use it only when I’m on call so I am not solely attached to my home or when I ABSOLUTELY need to make a call but I am not at home.

    2. When I’m not on call it is on off; it remains in my car and I essentually use it as a receptacle for messages. I check it when I enter my car.

    3. I do not text.

    I prefer to be fully involved in my immediate environment. I love serendipty. I like meeting new people. It’s become more difficult to have conversations that are spontaneous because cell phones or a blue tooth device are permanent fixtures on our populace’s ears. It temporarily removes them from their immediate suround. We DO have teleportation; it’s called a cell phone!!! Yeah, yeah … I get it … texting or twittering takes but a few seconds, but I’ll continue to e mail, facebook, make a call, or add to a blog when I’m at home, multitasking online , during down time. For the rest of you … enjoy.

    But if any of you use your damn phone to text during a movie, completely oblivious that the light from your device is intrusive on my experience I’ll ( to paraphrase Psycho in Stripes ) “f’n kill ya.” :)

  33. My resistance to trends/fads/crazes/phenomena usually stems from overexposure. Take for example Twitter: I’m sure it has its uses, and people seem to get a lot out of it. But various blogs I’ve read, and even news headlines, have focused on Twitter so much that I’m completely sick of it without ever having touched it myself. It’s like that scene in “Being John Malkovich” where he enters his own head and finds himself in a restaurant full of Malkovich’s who don’t say anything but “Malkovich”: “Twitter twitter twitter. Twitter twitter! Twitter? Twitter Twitter Twitter twitter!” Similar pet peeves of mine include Doctor Who (I’m sure it’s delightful, but I’m sick of it without having ever watched it), Dungeons & Dragons (sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on something – equally often, I don’t), and sports. Even at that, if I ever do pick up a part of whatever happens to be popular, it’s only ever because it is useful to me in every day life. Hence I got my first cell phone only two years ago.

  34. I’ve never visited a chat room and I don’t know how to text message. And yet, I’m strangely at peace.

    I resisted even getting on the Internet for years, but now I couldn’t live without it. Well, I could; but what would be the point?

  35. It’s easier to list the one tech fad I totally embraced: The iPod. The iPod has absolutely transformed the way I listen to music. Of course, I’m an (oddball, even by in-group standards) musician, so I don’t think I ever listened to music the way most people to do. I’ve also populated my iPod mostly with OOP, orphaned, and PD music off of archives and sharity sites, so I listen to a lot of historical detritus and expired trends (cylinders and 78s, calypso, Hawaiian, Hi-Fi, Halloween novelties, commercial music, movie & TV music), which I never would’ve found otherwise. I can’t imagine going back to whatever the suits decide is profitable enough to put on CDs and distribute through stores. And yes, I build obsessive “smart playlists” using advanced Boolean logic to randomly feed me tracks that match various criteria. I listen to more music more often now than I did when I was in music school.

    I started reading blogs in 1999. Does that count? What do I win?

    I have no cell phone (smart or otherwise), no console games. I don’t watch mainstream films or new releases, and I gave up TV around 2003 or 04. I’ve joined a couple of social network sites (MySpace to promote my music, Livemocha to learn Portuguese) and I’ve found I really hate, hate, hate them, so my accounts languish unused. I screwed around with Second Life for a while, but I found that the whole “fake economy” thing took all the fun out of it. (If I wanted to work for a living in order to do anything fun, I’d stick to First Life.)

  36. Just kidding! Here are some:

    *I have no tattoos. I do plan to get one, but it has special meaning. I don’t want one just to get one.
    *No Harry Potter. Any of them. The movies or the books. Ever.
    *I’ve never watched most reality TV shows. I’ve seen single episodes of certain ones, but have never ever gotten hooked.
    *I refused to get MySpace until my friends moved away to college.
    *I then refused to get Facebook until I was unemployed and bored last year.
    *I swore I would never get a cellphone, but then I ended up with a car that habitually broke down on the highway and was tired of flagging down help.
    *I’ve never taken part in religion aside from getting dragged to church by friends’ parents when I slept over on the weekend.
    *I refused to get an iPod until 2 years ago, and I’ve been hooked on Apple products ever since.
    *Like SkepLit, Skepchick is the first blog site I’ve ever commented on.
    *I haven’t seen or read the DaVinci Code, and I won’t.

    There are probably a bunch more that I could add, but honestly I can’t think of any more.

  37. Other fads I’ve managed to resist:
    Photo cellphones

    Wii/Playstation/xBox

    RPGs/MMOs

    “Support the troops” and “Yellow Ribbons.” Those are literally the least people can do to support the troops, IMHO. Car magnets are just cheap patriotism.

    Tattoos

    Most TV programs – they leave me bored and wishing I had kept on reading a book.

    I won’t know if I like the new Star Trek movie until I see it, but I already have my doubts…

    The DaVinci Code and other conspiracy theory novels/movies.

  38. I resisted iPods for a while. Now, it never leaves my pocket. I don’t go a day without listening to several podcasts. The funny part is I bought it to listen to my music (can’t stand radio music) and I don’t listen to my music if there is a podcast that needs to be listened to. The best part is I don’t listen to nazis like Limbaugh, anymore, since I can listen to content that doesn’t make me scream at my radio. I resisted blogs even longer. Now, I check several every day. Same reason as for the iPod, I find information I want to know about and read opinions that I can (mostly) agree with. I have, at the insistance of old friends, signed up for Facebook, and, I use it more than I thought I ever would (which still isn’t much). I am playing with the kids Wii more than I should. I also have to admit to reading every Harry Potter book, but, I haven’t gone out of my way to see the movies.

    Fads I’m still resisting are Obama, Christianity, and sobriety. I’ve never sent a text message. I can’t stand American Idol for more than 10 seconds.

    My cell phone and internet are provided by my work, does that count?

  39. I do not now nor have i ever carried a cell phone, the last advance in voice telecom that made a difference to me was answering machines (now voicemail).
    Show me a man with a work issue cellphone on his hip and i will show you man who never truly gets a day off.

    People texting in my presence will lead to me walking away from them EVERY time.

    I dont often comment online either, i consider myself a skilled communicator, but i feel like I’m fighting one handed if i cant read body language, intonations of context or facial expressions.

    Finally gave in to facebook tho when my septagenarian mother asked me to.

    BTW for those of us ex-pats now living on the west side of the pond….This Sunday is Mothers day everywhere except in North America.

  40. It’s interesting how there are so many trend/fad avoidance repeats that include a bit of disdain for conformity, yet appear to be standard for the skeptic crowd.

    To answer Expatria’s question, I was pretty wary of sushi for a long time, which is odd because there really aren’t many things I won’t try. But I just couldn’t wrap my mind around raw fish tasting good, when it tastes so good grilled. It took a deal with a friend where he would try kimchi and I would try sushi, for me to attempt the non-vegetable sort. Now I would not decline a sushi invite.

  41. I rolled well on my last will save vs dungeons and dragons, but I can’t stop listening to the penny arcade d&d podcasts and reading the online SRD, even though I’ve never played. I fear it’s only a matter of time.

  42. I’ve never seen the movie Titanic. The sheer volume of promotional material about it when it came out really turned me off.

    I’ve never owned a cell phone, nor do I plan to. I’m waiting for public wifi to become ubiquitous so I can use Skype everywhere I go.

  43. “Social Networking” sites – I now have accounts on twitter (the first one I succumbed to), facebook, flickr, and del.ico.us.

    Apple – Now I use Macs on a daily basis, including a lovingly cared for “classic” G5 PowerMac. I own a 4th gen iPod nano, and Safari is my primary browser, even on Windows. Which leads me to…

    Vista – I still hate it, but not as much as I hate using an OS that looks like it was designed by a drunken, myopic Fisher Price fetishist.

    Harry Potter – Still not planning to read the books, but I eagerly await the next movie.

  44. i will forever be amused by the absolute wrath some people feel towards those fads they don’t understand. (twitter seems to incite a special kind of over-exuberant ire in people!)

    i’m anti-social by nature so online social networking really works for me… i get the interaction i sometimes crave, but on my own terms and i can just shut it off when i’m done. it’s a wonderful thing.

    a fad i’ve avoided so far – “reality tv”. i did get sucked into the first ‘bachelor’? i think it was? but haven’t gone back since. i don’t begrudge others the entertainment, but it’s not for me. my life is real enough!

  45. First, to address that curmudge Sam’s got goin’ on: New tech isn’t making people stupider, it’s just making stupid people louder. You’ve got to learn to filter out the yokels for yourself, man. The printing press owners can’t do it for you anymore.

    I remember resisting CDs, and I’m not even that old. I just remember wondering why someone would pay $2 more for a CD when the cassette had the exact same music on it. I stepped a bit more lightly around the VHS/DVD switch, but I was still of the impression that people would be loath to abandon their extensive VHS libraries. (Well, I guess I haven’t really abandoned mine, I just haven’t been adding to it. :-P)

    I’ve never seen a Star Trek.

  46. No Harry Potter books or films. Seemed Harry Potter and LOTR got huge around the same time, and I read LOTR. Figured that was enough for me.

    My facebook account is much more active than it ought to be, and I blame my needing to write a thesis for that.

    I didn’t *drink* drink (I’ve had wine with dinner since I was 15, but that doesn’t count) until I starting hating my college boyfriend.

    Back in high school I joined the Catholic church pretty much just to piss off the southern Protestants I grew up around. Got rid of that about the same time I started drinking and hating my college boyfriend, who was Catholic.

  47. I was one of the first interns at Geelong Hosp to accidentally flip my pager into the dunny. I’ve been just as hopeless with technology ever since. It’s only now that my hubby turned me onto the SGU that I’ve been able to work an ipod. The whole family is astounded that I can write on the computer to you blokes. I still can’t tell which machine is the DVD, the XBOX,the PCR, the whatever, and if no-one is home, I’m too scared to try. The worst thing is at work, I do everything myself, except faxes. I just don’t get faxes. Computers are getting so small you can hardly see them, but fax machines just get bigger and bigger.

  48. Software upgrades in particular. I avoid to great lengths having to install new software. That’s the reason I dumped MSM and Flash player and almost anything that alerts me of upgrades. I went from Win30 to Win95 when win2000 was the rage, and just because I needed the additional disk space. I now use XP, but still attached to 95 (and even DOS) because of the older precious code that doesn’t run in XP (Lotus Approach anyone?).

    A sister gave me an original iPod 8 months ago – I just started using it about 3 weeks ago, after figuring it out, and I fear getting strangled with the headphone cord! (and I already hate iTunes for the upgrade notifications).

  49. @Aaron:

    “New tech isn’t making people stupider, it’s just making stupid people louder. You’ve got to learn to filter out the yokels for yourself, man. The printing press owners can’t do it for you anymore”

    COTW. Yeah it’s not a joke, but it’s so apt. Although I would argue that the printing presses don’t actually filter out stupid opinions, only stupidly expressed opinions.

  50. I resisted getting a cell phone until my dad had a serious health emergency on the way back from the airport and I had to pull into a neighborhood and knock on doors to find someone to call 911 for me. That was in the late 90’s. It took me about a decade to learn to leave it on and answer when it rang.

    I avoided social networking sites for a long time because of the high drama reputation some of them had. Then (after years of trying) my cousin talked me into joining FaceBook and I love it. I’m even addicted to one of the silly game applications.

  51. I just remembered something: I went straight from TV to DVD without passing through VHS (mind you, at my age, that’s a near 20-year technology gap). Never cared for VHS; friends would invite me over to watch videos and I thought that the picture quality sucked, and that sequential access sucked, and that sitting around waiting for it to rewind sucked, and I never wanted any part of it.

    Videotape was a stupid technology, and I’m glad to be rid of it.

    Of course, much like music, I enjoy mostly OOP, orphaned, and PD movies, so while I still buy the occasional DVD for the extras, I watch most movies as .avi files.

  52. Refused to get my ears pierced (everyone around me had them done). Finally at age 33, I did. Very painful, just for an instant, but a shooting, never-to-forget pain. A couple decades later, I do not wear any jewelry of any kind, including earrings. Every once in a while when I can remember to do it, I check to see if the ear holes are still open. And feel somehow vindicated when I discover, yup, they are still open. (I had found out years later after my ear-piercing that my long-lost sister who I did not see for about 24 years, also got her ears pierced at age 33, maybe the urge is genetic?)

    Refused to traipse through Europe (that was an very common activity in my peer group). Now, I live in Europe. Does that count?

    Refused to go to a professional hair cutter (have always cut my own hair). Finally did at age 30, and was horrified. I looked awful. I will never go to a pro hair cutter again. After all, only I know how I want my hair to be.

    One fad that bit me hard was collecting David Winter cottages. Sigh. I now have a practically worthless collection boxed up in the moldy storage room in our building’s ‘cave.’ I was moving around a lot for many years, and I really wanted to own my home, so I settled for wasting a possible down payment for my own place for a collection of small collectible houses.

  53. In no particular order:

    1. Watching college or professional sports on TV (not even here in Indiana, where basketball is the real civic religion).

    2. Joining any social networking site (I am skeptical of anything that debases concepts like “friend” and allows people I haven’t seen or known in 30 years to decide that they are my “friends”).

    3. Text messaging. I have a Blackberry, which I use in my profession, but I send short e-mail replies with it, not TMs.

    4. Expensive coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks. I drink tea, water, occasional fruit juice, and soy milk (lactose intolerance).

    5. Wearing clothing with the visible logo or mascot of any sports team or major corporation.

    6. “Reality” television shows, which I call “contrived but unscripted.”

    7. New Age woo-woo. ‘Nuff said.

    8. Practicing or professing belief in religion (as opposed to the dispassionate study of religions).

  54. 1. Has to be the ipod, for years I didn’t want anything to do with it. I would have my sleeve of cds in the car, and books of hundreds at home. Finally after winning a bit of money last year wagering on football I bought an ipod. WOW! every cd I own on one little device, over 8000 songs.

    I still have the hangup of wanting to have a physical copy of each cd, even if I buy them only I burn a cd for the collection.

    2. My cell phone, I still have it off most of the time. I check the messages once in a while and respond, usually days later. I like not being in touch all the time. I have always said “Driving time is my time.”

  55. Oh and finally, tatoos. I always thought I would never get a tatoo, but I have changed my mind. I want to get a couple, a barcode on the back of my bald head and then something else on an arm, but I haven’t decided what yet.

    Anyone know a good artist in the Boston area?

  56. I resisted Twitter and Harry Potter, too, but now I love them. I’m not much of one for social media, since I’m a territorial privacy-loving hermit, but Twitter is just fun.

    I resisted Chucks (the shoes) for a while but gave in to a pair of reasonably priced sweatshop-free knock offs. They are so comfy and now I want a dozen more pairs.

  57. What counts as resistance?

    @Expatria: How long has Twitter been around? It can’t be that old and I doubt it’s been mainstream for much longer than a year. Holding out for a year for something like Twitter is a pretty weak example of resistance. You’d be less than a speed bump on the Borg’s path toward intergalactic domination (never watched TNG but did see the film). George Bush has resisted English grammar, syntax, effective public speaking for over 40 years. I resisted masturbating for 24 hours once when I was in college. Does that count?

    Like Oscar Wilde once penned (Lady Windermere’s Fan? I forget), “I can resist everything but temptation.” Delayed gratification is overrated. There’s nothing quite like an unrestrained Id. Here are things that I’ve (not really) resisted:

    1. Despite being a nearly lifelong skeptic I guess you could say I resisted joining the mainstream Skeptical Movement until I found out there were SkepChicks that we SkepDicks could love from afar (is there any other way to love? Who needs the abstinence clown?).

    2. Other crazes I’ve resisted: Blogging, writing a screenplay (or anything else for that matter), updating my Facebook page, public protests, sending XMas cards, changing the oil in my car, re-reading Beowulf, spinning, Pilates, taking out the trash, quitting smoking, backing up my hard drives, and doing my laundry before I run out of clean underwear. Wait, does laziness count as a form of resistance? The last one shouldn’t even count. I’m skeptical about the benefits of wearing underwear unless you’re prone to back door blowouts or are afraid of the little moist dot that might appear on your light colored pants if you didn’t shake hard enough.

    Nonconformism is peachy. What I call anti-conformism (viz., resisting an activity or idea simply because it is popular) demonstrates a lack of critical thinking and is, at best, good old fashioned pomposity. I don’t believe in magic books yet I believe most murder is wrong. That doesn’t mean that I’m jumping on a religious bandwagon. I love Audrey Hepburn because of her elegance and grace. It just so happens there are millions of others that have the same opinion. I’ve seen Titanic (and hated it) but I don’t like having a priori biases against films and go to the cinema almost indiscriminately (I’ve also seen and hated: Milk Money, Good Men, Good Women, Borne Ultimatum, and Legally Blonde). I also think that Prince is a great pop artist. It’s embarrassing but the facts speak for themselves.

    Maybe I’m just post-hoc rationalizing but I see little reason to resist (almost) anything based on popularity alone. I’m definitely a snob about many things. The fact that the probability of my enjoying something is often inversely proportional to its popularity is correlational. The cause is, of course, that my taste is far better than most and not that mass acceptance of a product or idea scares me off.

    Many cheers.

    @kittynh: Loved your (even mistaken) comment that you liked Brussels better than Paris. I’ve been happily living in Brussels for about 4 years. It does not even remotely compare to Paris but I’ve still be having a great time. Your comment made me laugh out loud.

    @Amanda: I’ve probably went through about a dozen pairs of Chucks from 1986 to 2002 (each costing < $20 but probably still made in a sweat shop). I stopped wearing them and finally got rid of all but two pairs 3 years ago.

  58. I resisted Twilight so far. Looks, like something my ex would like. Oh, the fights we got we I didn’t want to read her books or watch her movies. I was a Catholic, she was a Wiccan. Now I am a skeptic and she still hates my guts. Ahh.. young love.

    I resisted American Idol, Survivor. I don’t watch a ton of T.V., except Battlestar…. and Blue’s Clues.

    Oh, and teething tablets. A strange one I know, but all my wife’s friend and relatives swear by them. I tell them their milk sugar and belladonna is bad, if it was there. They look at me funny and shove more in their kids mouth. We have a great relationship. My son then teethes on my face.

  59. You people really are skeptics!

    I must admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for a fad. Just a quick browse around my room from where I’m sitting and I can see my iPod, Wii, mobile phone, a Me to You bear, a big Guinness top hat (at least I didn’t pay for that) … I’m also on facebook and a recent convert to Twitter. I’m a bit of a fad whore!

    Although most of the things listed I don’t think of as fads, its progress in society.
    … at least that my way of justifying it to myself!

  60. I obviously haven’t succumbed to the fad of having an avatar. I’ll probably give in by the end of the week. Rather than picking a lesser incarnation of myself, though, I’ll pick something of which I would be proud an avatar. Maybe I’ll pick a Me to You bear (whatever that is).

  61. 1) Credit. With the exception of our mortgage, we have not spent a dime on finance charges in over 15 years. Credit isn’t really a fad, but it is ubiquitous, and very damaging to a lot of people, especially young people. It is great being able to spend your money on things you want, rather than things you already bought.

    2) Hi-Tech. We have a Wii, and my wife and I both have smart phones (and I have a Palm T3). That way, podcasts, music, Internet, and even TV are always with us, but we don’t always use them. Our phones are mostly for calls, or occasionally as modems for our laptops if no Wi-Fi is near. We don’t have a “land line”.

    3) Texting. I think texting to convey a message is fine, but as a conversation platform it’s stupid.

    4) Satellite TV. We have that. Mostly for my wife, I don’t watch much TV, and she usually watches with BT headphones, so I don’t have to listen, either. That way, I can read…

    5) I only read ebooks. I haven’t read a paper book since the early ’90s, but I still read 3-5 books per month.

    6) I don’t consider HP a trend, but rather, a few potentially decent movies that I might watch when they are free on TV.

    7) Tivo – I watch little TV, but when I do, I don’t have to ever watch commercials.

    8} I don’t do any social networks.

    9) Working out. I didn’t start until I was in my 40s. Now, I would say I am hooked. That’s kind of a fad, right?

  62. I resisted a cell phone until the time I want hiking near Grizzly Camp in the Trinity Wilderness, and left my lights on. After hiking 15 miles, learning you have to hike another 20 back to the highway, is a bit of a wake up call. Then there was the really big bear…

    I’m not intersted in tatoos. But sometimes I think I should get a blue dragon on my face, breathing a lightning bolt down the dueling scar on my cheek :)

  63. hm. Trends I have avoided?

    (a) Alien abduction. I always wanted to be abducted by aliens and experimented on, but somehow it never happened. I guess the aliens don’t want me.

    (b) Being followed by the government. I have always hoped the government would realize my marvelous brain would be the best ever brain for them to control and manipulate, but somehow they’re not interested.

    (c) UFO cults – I’ve always wanted to worship aliens, but some none of the offerings I’ve examined yet have quite lived up to my standards.

    (d) The Vigor Element – I’ve always wanted to drink radium water until I glowed in the dark, but I’m afraid of cancer. I know, I know, I’m chicken, and I should turn my balls in somewheres, cause I’m so afeared.

    (e) Mesmerism – I’ve always wanted to be hypnotized, quack like a duck, sing like a kangaroo, rob a bank, and blame it on the hypnotist. But despite having a fantasy prone personality, I’ve always failed to hypnotize properly.

    (f) Satanism. I played tons and tons of D&D as a child, but somehow Satan never showed up to take me to Hell. Frankly I’m disappointed. Should have played demon-summoning evil priestess more often, I guess.

    (g) That’s about it, I guess.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close