Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fossils - The Typewriter

A few weeks back, I came across an article discussing why some people still use typewriters. The primary reason: they are old.

Now, while it is true that typewriters require no electricity and are generally hardier than your basic computer (including laptops), the only real reason the article gave for anyone using a computer in 2008 was when it noted some government outposts in Africa and other third-world countries needed them due to faulty electrical supplies. Almost everything else in the article pointed to nostalgia as the primary reason anyone would still be using a typewriter.

Some noted distraction as a motivation for choosing the typewriter, but those people need Ritalin. If you are so easily distracted by the fact that Solitaire is only a click away or your favorite chatroom can be launched with the press of a button, then your writing sucks.

Writing demands a certain level of focus and if you are the personality type who cannot actually type something on a computer without being distracted by some other function, program, or resource, then you are incapable of writing anything cohesive or worthwhile.

Again, most of the people who prefer typewriters are dinosaurs who simply prefer the tool for nostalgic reasons, though some admit they cannot work a computer. I just can't imagine anyone in 2008 not being able to use a computer, barring some disability. It is more direct to say they just don't want to learn to use a computer.

Of course, a good typewriter has its place (the dumpster), but only in impoverished areas void of electricity. After all, laptops have a limited power supply away from an electrical outlet, and if you plan to be in the middle of the rainforest for any length of time, you might consider purchasing one from an antique mall.

Further, the article mentions what I have been saying for 15 years now: CHANGE THE KEYBOARD! The only reason for this insane layout is because typewriters needed the most commonly-used letters spaced far enough apart to avoid the keys sticking together; this no longer being an issue, it is time to change the keyboard to something more direct and functional! But I digress.

Typewriters are only good for one thing: setting atop one of those old-fashioned roll top desks in some pretentious, wannabe-writer, asshole's apartment.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008


  1. And library spine labels. Sure, you can do it with a computer, but when you want 'em individually or in small batches, the typewriter's the way to go. I've worked or volunteered in three different library systems, and I haven't seen one in which they didn't use typewriters for the spine labels. Also decent for the places that still have a physical card catalog or equivalent thereof, for similar reasons.

  2. A physical card catalogue? How pretentious!

    Well, you may have a point, but so long as we're discussing it, they need to abandon the Dewey Decimal System, too. How does that even go - "First man thought of himself, the he thought of God, then..." Pffft.

    When I go into a library, I first think of finding whatever it is I'm looking for, then I try like hell to find it... The worst thing is that you can visit 10 different libraries and find the same book in 10 different places with 10 different DDS codes!

    You can do spine labels with pre-perforated labels on a dot-matrix printer, come to think of it... They just keep cutting funds to things like libraries, so they can't afford $5.00 dot-matrix printers or the Apple IIe's (sp?) needed to run them.

    You know what?

    Fuck libraries. Fuck 'em right in their spine labels and index card catalogues! Librarians' jobs should be transcribing the content of printed materials into digital content!

    (And welcome, Raavyn! I enjoy your blogs, whenever I get a chance to read them!)

  3. (PS: I hope you realize I was being silly, Raivyn. I didn't hear back from you, so I wasn't sure!)