I believe I first noticed it while watching the film The Departed. A friend leaned over to me and said, “This whole movie would be impossible without that gadget.” I really started to notice it in Entourage. And now, it’s starting to creep into literature.
Cellphones, of course.
They’re everywhere today. I’m convinced that people can sneak cellphones into sensory deprivation tanks. Death row prisoners probably wake up in the middle of the night because the neighbor’s cellphone is blowing up. Someday we’re going to see where a space shuttle mission had to be aborted because an astronaut snuck his cellphone on board. People take the damn gadgets anywhere. And they’re on them all the time.
So art is starting to reflect that. If they filmed Cool Hand Luke today, Luke would sneak a cellphone into the box. If Shakespeare were writing today, Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have died because they could have just sent a text message to each other.
As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of cellphones. I have a very nice Treo that I use. I have done quite a bit of gadget writing for different magazines so I’m not a complete luddite. But I’m not on a cellphone day and night. And I have been known to walk across the room to get a glass of water without taking it with me.
There’s just something so obvious, so noticeable about cellphones in literature. I read a book recently that featured 28 references to cellphones in a 13 page chapter. It’s simply too much for me.
I guess I’m going to have to start reading more Dickens or something.