Emotibuds: Small Images for Total Zombies
These ear bud coverings are adorned with emoticons. Again, for the chronically un-hip, emoticons are little faces made originally with punctuation marks, like this: :) That is a sideways smile. Clever, yes? (Computers also generate trendier ones in full color that change expressions.) Thus, we wear a technology that sonically isolates us from others: the nearly omnipresent iPod. (The Utne Reader ran an article some years ago called "Hell is Other iPods." Please read it.) We are absent in the presence of others--an all-too-common event today. However, we can by stylish (ever minding our personal "lifestyle") as we vacate within the crowd. We may sport a minimalist image of a human face (since our face is not responding much to other human faces around us) on the object that covers our ears.
If this doesn't strike you as strange, you may be one of the zombies.
Yes, of course, iPods can be used in nonalienating ways. I sometimes do it myself when I go on one of my maniacal bike rides on the High Line Canal. This can be defended because it is not a social event, unless some emergency strikes. Even causal conversations simply don't occur outside of, "Passing on the left," if pedestrians don't hear my warning bell. Further, one can use iPods to listen to philosophical lectures or the Bible in the car or in other settings, as many of my friends do. Nevertheless, the iPod often locks people into their own world, usually of one relentless entertainment and not instruction. But why not be locked in and express your style through a pseudo face of your choice?!