Don’t get me wrong; I’m into big tech. I use my pocket-sized computer about 9 hours a day, according to Apple’s built-in surveillance report, (which I never asked for and would be perfectly happy never to see again. It’s as bad as having to see the calorie-count when I’m standing in line at Cinnabon).
But here’s the deal: my cell phone is no longer a phone. I can type on it, write articles on it, make lists on it, communicate with my family all over the world via text message and email on it, watch tv and movies on it – heck, I can even make movies on it. But try to talk on it? Like a phone? Forget about it. A phone needs a tower—a tower that communicates with the phone.
I haven’t been able to talk to my mother for at least five years because she doesn’t do texting or social media and my phone doesn’t do phone. Oh, it tries. But it doesn’t succeed. Halfway through a sentence it cuts out, leaving my mother to think that I just hung up on her. (Not only does she not speak text, she does not understand that cellphones don’t speak phone.) My sister, who lives in the 20th century with my mother, wrote me a scathing letter last year complaining that my kids keep hanging up on Grandma without saying goodbye. I tried to explain, but they don’t get it. Not enough cell coverage? They use a land line.
It’s especially problematic in New York, where skyscrapers bounce signals off the walls, and in southern California, where the residents suffer from NIMBYism (among a multitude of other sanctimonious social ills). I have homes in both places, and it’s driving me crazy.
NIMBYism — Not In My Back Yard—is just one of many symptoms of the growing fascination with socialism. We want all our perks and benefits, but we want someone else to provide them. We want our cellphone reception to be clear and constant, but we don’t want an unsightly, and potentially dangerous, cell tower within ten miles of our darlings. (I find it ironic that they don’t want a cell tower installed within ten miles, but they give said darlings their own cell phones from infancy and sleep with their own phones under their pillows.)
Hence, I need a land line.
So here’s my offer to AT&T: you can put your cell tower in my backyard. I live at the top of a hill overlooking a canyon. People will benefit from my cell tower for miles around. And if you camouflage it behind one of my majestically towering juniper trees, no one will even see it.
All I want in exchange is lifetime phone, internet and cable service for me and my family in perpetuity. And a new phone every two years for free, like you used to do. That’s it, and you can have the top of my juniper tree. Deal?
I tried to call you with this offer, but my phone kept cutting out. So send me a text. Or better yet, let’s do lunch.
Jo Ann Skousen is the co-producer of FreedomFest and the founding director of the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival, where Big Tech will be debated after the screening of “The Creepy Line,” a documentary about Google surveillance and targeted marketing. You can often find Jo Ann wandering the sidewalks of Chapman University shouting, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” FilmLovers Passes are available for all four days.