With Social Media Every Old Complaint Is New Again

The Call of the Future
Now that telephones are virtually everywhere, observed The New York Times, “telephone manners are, quite naturally, becoming equally complicated.” The year was 1986 (when a few people had car phones but the mobile phone was not yet widely distributed). Strikingly, it could have been last week—or it could have been around 1900, when, the German critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin noted, the phone arrived in his Berlin household, with an “alarm signal that menaced not only my parents’ midday nap but the historical era that underwrote and enveloped this siesta.”

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