Paul Elisha: This Is A Recording

May 7, 2013

When Scottish physicist James Clark Maxwell made the invention of the telephone possible, by unlocking the secret of electro-magnetic waves, in 1878, he playfully wrote of its humble appearance--- “Any disappointment was partially relieved, on finding it was really able to talk.”

And we’ve been talking, endlessly ever since.  Except for a major but ominous change:  a sharp decrease, of late, in the volume of human voices heard.  American institutions of  corporate, governmental and academic telephonic activity are involving fewer and fewer humans.  Instead, we’ve witnessed an increasing interruption by the automated ‘Buttinsky’:  The pre-recorded deliverer of reasons why a caller is on hold, unable to reach his or her party… or a spate of alternative options.

Happily, this subversive scourge of setbacks does not apply to those emergency ‘First Responders’, in specific communities or at large, who are “on phone lines” and “On –Call” for those in dire need, day and night, across our country.

Alas, though, in the rush and crush of increasing telephonic traffic, the institutions previously mentioned have opted toward the intercession of the automated, pre-recorded voice, with its seemingly endless set of ‘vocalistics.’  All of which add up to another shunt, to a siding that spells ‘regress’ and ‘stress’ or ‘press the key,’ that catapults you to: - HTTP.  Yes!  An E-Mail address that they wanted you to try, in the first place.

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