Things of the Past

I was reading WIRED for the first time in ages the other day, and found myself getting annoyed all over again at the breathless prose they use in their articles. In particular, they have a house style that creates an illusion of an asymptotic revolution – every innovation is just about to change the world for ever, a viewpoint that might have been reasonable in the long-boom era, but seems almost naive now.

In particular, this article on sleep medication included some really lazy cliches, from ‘kiss your xxx goodbye’ to ‘xxx is a thing of the past’. This last phrase struck me as probably the key metaphor for Wired’s breathless optimism about the future – no matter what the technology, it is truly ‘wired’ if it can promise to relegate some part of our dirty present to the dustbin of history, making way for a cleaner, brighter tommorrow.

So, I started wondering exactly what this wired future would look like. One quick search query later, I can now give you an exclusive preview of what you should be excising from your life if you want to be truly cutting-edge. According to WIRED, all these things will soon be history. Use this list to guide your consumer purchasing, stock holdings, personal relationships, or whatever decisions you might need to make about your future. In the event of this future failing to materialise, please direct your complaints to Wired’s editorial team. I’m merely the messenger here…

Incessant calling and voicemails might become a thing of the past
Long delays in counting absentee ballots would be a thing of the past
Housework is already a thing of the past
In just 20 years, chores will be a thing of the past
Hard landings would be a thing of the past
Paying royalties for George Gershwin tunes could become a thing of the past
Remembering long lists of website passwords [will be] a thing of the past
Chronic insomia could be a thing of the past
Could the deafening roar of gas-powered engines become a thing of the past?
Entertainment as a passive group experience is a thing of the past
Devices that serve us for 10 or 15 years are becoming a thing of the past
Capacity problems might indeed be a thing of the past
Fear of public singing in karaoke bars may soon be a thing of the past
System outages should become a thing of the past
Pirated software will soon be a thing of the past
Responsible journalism seems to be a thing of the past in the U.S. [!]
The concept that a writer will get paid for writing may soon be a thing of the past
Web searches and their ten pages of useless results [will be] a thing of the past
Downloads and slow surfing [will be] a thing of the past
The friendly corner betting shop could eventually be a thing of the past
Good sound will be a thing of the past
Needless pain and surgery may be a thing of the past
Fixed pricing is a thing of the past
Modern warfare will soon be a thing of the past
Twenty years from now paper will be a thing of the past
Writer’s cramp is soon to be a thing of the past
Editors [will] be a thing of the past
The home user buying a personal computer will be a thing of the past
Burnt toast is now a thing of the past
Murdoch’s distribution plans are a thing of the past

11 comments

  1. datacloud

    Wishing for Nostalgia

    A former Wired UK writer offers up a search on all the things that Wired Magazine has termed “a thing of the past”: Good sound will be a thing of the past Needless pain and surgery may be a thing…

  2. Steve Silberman

    As a writer for Wired magazine, I’ll say:

    a) this is hilarious

    b) but, of the 25 or so “thing of the past” lines posted, only five of them were actually from the pages of Wired. The majority of these stories were from Wired News — produced by a different company and different staff from the magazine for several years now — and, in fact, a number of those stories were from the good ol’ Associated Press.

  3. Collin vs. Blog

    Things of the past

    “I can now give you an exclusive preview of what you should be excising from your life if you want to be truly cutting-edge. According to WIRED, all these things will soon be history…” This came across Nettime a while…

  4. steve

    What does ‘a thing of the past’ look like? I imagine some kind of amorphous monster of the type that used to appear in the pages of Viz, dressed in wig and frock coat.

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