Sunday, July 21, 2013

Objets anciens

So, while conducting a search through the actual paper files that still take up some space in my home office for a thing that I didn't find, I selected a few other ancient artifacts that I came across from the pre-internet era to present to you now. These document how we did things Back in the Day.


Back in the pre-internet days, ideas still spread from person to person within a culture through units (memes) that carried cultural ideas, symbols, or practices. We just had to photocopy them and pass them along in person. You knew something had gone viral if the person you handed it to had seen it already.

Quotations, inspirational and/or clever

If you came across a quote you liked, you didn't share it on Facebook or cut-and-paste it into your email signature. You cut-and-taped it to an index card. And then you looked at it once in a while, when you came across it in a desk drawer.

Movie images

If you liked a movie and wanted an image from it, you tracked down a store that sold old lobby cards or promotional stills and you bought one of them. You didn't install it as your desktop wallpaper, but you might put it in a plastic sleeve for protection and thumbtack it to a wall.

Comics Archives

There were none, unless you cut them out of the newspaper and kept them in a folder or envelopes.

Celebrity Pictures

If you were a young man in 1973 who watched Diana, the one-season sitcom staring Diana Rigg, even though it was incredibly derivative of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, down to the opening credits and the side-by-side desks in the office set and Richard B. Shull taking the Gavin McLeod role, just because it was Diana Rigg and you had been crushing on her since reruns of The Avengers -- anyway, if you were that young man and you wanted some photos of Ms. Rigg for keepsakes, you couldn't just download them, no. You had to cut them out of the Sunday magazine section and stick them onto self-adhesive polaroid photo backing sheets, that's what you had to do.

Scripts and dialogue

And if you wanted the some script pages, perhaps Abbot & Costello's entire "Who's on First" routine, you wouldn't just fire up a search engine with some well-chosen keywords. You would wait until The Naughty Nineties came on television again, and then tape the routine with a cassette recorder, and then painstakingly transcribe it onto Eaton's Corrasable Bond paper using a manual typewriter that you got with S&H green stamps. And you might even decorate that transcript with a little doodle of the comedians.

Yep, that's how it was, boys and girls. How did we ever survive into the information age?

Now get off my lawn and go play where you live.

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