Call the Pope, it's happened again!

popetomasses1A miracle!  No, not another virgin birth:  Historiann and Pope Benedict XVI agree on something!  Actually, Historiann recommends that you give up Facebook and texting forever–not just for Lent.  Here’s the part I loved:

Pope Benedict also has personal experience of the distractions of obsessive texting. President Sarkozy of France, a renowned technophile, came in for withering criticism for checking his mobile for text messages during a personal audience with the Pontiff.

Now, I loves me some Sarko–I’m sure his BlackBerry came in really handy while solving one international hostage crisis after another lately.  (Maybe he’s also working on global climate change and doing something about that wolf at our doors lately?  We can only hope.)  And if I’m ever abducted by the FARC, the Basque separatists, or anyone else, please see if you can get Sarko on the case for me.  Nevertheless, constantly checking your phone for incoming messages in an audience with the Pope is really de trop.

0 thoughts on “Call the Pope, it's happened again!

  1. I find Facebook *extremely* useful as a community bulletin board for my town. I guess it all depends on who is in your circle of Facebook associates and what you all use it for. I suppose it is put to “high schoolish” uses by some but I only have one high schooler in my Facebook circle, so…

    Also my university e-mail and WebCT servers are often down, so for a class or student group you need Facebook or a blog if you want reliable web communication and support. I’d rather use WordPress, but many students are not very comfortable with computers yet. With Facebook all their stuff is in the same familiar place.

    But I don’t understand the obsession with text messages, or constant cell phone calls for that matter. Although I will say that for cell phone messages, I would rather read them as text than have to listen to the voice mail – it is faster.

    What I really, really don’t get the attraction of is Twitter. A friend says it is all about communication which is always good. But I don’t want to track anyone like that, or be tracked like that, or have to carry a device to emit fragmentary 140 character messages like that.


  2. Also – I don’t even answer my land line during dinner or if I have guests, I let the machine pick it up. I don’t answer my cell phone if I am in conversation with someone else. I do not use call waiting. I mean, hey – I’m not in sales or anything like that, it’s just a professor job and a social life I’m organizing, I have 3 phones (home, office, cell), 3 non blog e-mail accounts (work, not work, and Facebook), I can receive paper mail at work and at home, and at work I can also receive faxes. I CAN BE FOUND.
    All the phones have answering services, too.

    Why do people think they have to be ruled by their cell phones and text messages, and didn’t their mothers teach them how rude it is?


  3. AND – I don’t understand the attraction of Iphones and Blackberries, unless you’re a journalist on assignment in Uzbekistan or something. WHY would one want to be so connected to a device?

    YES I want one of those Acer mini laptops, because my notebook computer is really to big to be carrying around casually, but that’s not a phone.


  4. if someone answers a cell phone at a dinner, I get up and leave, and i don’t associate with anyone who does this. I’ve had work MEN and I do mean men here come into my house and answer cell phones– I throw them out and hire someone who will focus on the customer. I suggest everyone get out the word–NO cell phones or texting while you’re with real people. Everyone put your foot down on this one and it will all end.

    If you’re a teacher have a one strike rule in the classroom– then throw the offenders out of the room and
    don’t let them back in. There are no more excuses for this behavior.


  5. Satsuma–oh, I wish I could have such a one strike rule in my classrooms. I can’t imagine the university ever giving us that kind of authority. Given that the uni doesn’t even allow us to mandate attendance in lecture, I can’t see the higher ups allowing us to bar students from the classroom. (And with 180 students in my largest lecture, the headache would be considerable.) Ah, but I can dream….

    Interestingly, I learned recently that students in our campus ROTC are *required* to carry pagers that they must leave on at all times. I suppose the thinking is that they could be called upon at any moment to pick up shop and leave to do something military. So they are my exception to the no cellphones/pagers/etc. rule.


  6. While I share some of your technoskepticism, I am not sure the Pope is a good ally for you, historiann. If anything, it should prompt all of us to reconsider resistance to Facebook, etc.


  7. With a just received offer from Verizon on a discount blackberry “storm,” they’ll have to pry my cold dead fingers off the text messa… No wait, what am I thinking?

    What I’m waiting for is the arrival of defensive equipment that will let people rein in out of control phone talkers in confined public places. I even fantasize about branding them: “Diss-Connect” [TM]; “Dial-em-Down” [TM]; and, for the commuter train, the “Rolling Tunnel” [TM].

    I especially think they should outlaw the rude behavior of going up to a cashier or other retail interface person and thrusting out a wad of bills while saying things like “then what did she say?…”


  8. I love my iphone. That said, I don’t talk on the phone when I’m talking to people. I almost never text. And I don’t give many people my cell phone number — it exists to use when I’m not at home. I can see the point of getting rid of a land line, but then the land line is the basic phone and I can get away from it. (If I wanted to I could forward calls to my cell, but why?)

    I’m big on boundaries. I don’t give students my cell phone number or my home phone number. I’d have to totally change the (very limited) way I use facebook if I used it for class. Right now, it has been nice to reconnect with people, or to stay in touch with friends in other places.


  9. The other thing I hate about cell phones is that people think they can use them to change plans at the last minute.

    Like the time I was supposed to meet a friend and her friends she was dying for me to meet at Snug Harbor, a place I never go and wouldn’t.

    This had been planned ahead but was then reconfirmed by phone as I was driving over Lake Pontchartrain (not far from the place).

    So I get to this club I wouldn’t choose, I pay the cover, and these people stand me up.

    Next day it turns out my cell phone tower wasn’t getting coverage, so they couldn’t get in touch with me to say they’d had a change of plans.

    What I’d have done: sent at least one person to grab [me] out of Snug Harbor.

    What I thought of this: these people are not very interested in seeing me, so it is the last time I go out of my way to accept an invitation from them.

    What they told me in anger: that I had snubbed them by not having better coverage on my cell phone.

    What my mother taught me: if social plans are serious they are made ahead and are not changed – and *certainly* not if everyone isn’t notified.


  10. P.S. It is so interesting how different peoples’ habits are. To reconnect with people or talk to friends in other places I’ve always used letters, phone, and e-mail, and I consider Facebook too public a space for those things. I’ve always thought of FB more as a bulletin board or virtual meeting space, and I *think* that’s what it was originally designed to be.

    I’m also realizing what a misanthrope I am. All my academic friends elsewhere have always talked about keeping boundaries with students, joining private gyms so as not to see them at the university gym, etc., etc., but my students are everywhere. Often I meet them first as a person in the community and only later in my classes.

    A student in a class, you only see 3 hours a week for 15 weeks, but a colleague you see much more than that for much longer. They are the ones I find it more invasive to run into at the gym, grocery store, etc. Also, students if you run into them at a concert or something do not insist upon talking shop, but faculty do. So I am misanthropic about interfacing with *them* after hours (except some of them, and some faculty blogs).

    (Do I sound horribly immature? Maybe it will make more sense if I explain that a student here is as often as not someone in their late 20s or older with a job, kids, and a mortgage. A lot of faculty are the same age but don’t have as much adult type experience.)


  11. P.P.S. Sorry about hogging this thread … I do not know why it is I have so much to rant about on these issues … well yes I do, it is that I am tired of being told by various people that I need to be constantly available by cell phone and that I need to Tweet.


  12. Amen, Professor Zero.

    I too had a friend who demanded I get a cell phone so he could alter plans on me at the last minute. He also bitched every time I was late but didn’t call to tell him ahead of time (no cell service underground on the subway…). He also rarely called me to to tell me he was running late.

    He was a hypocrite, and I am glad to be rid of him.


  13. You can always make the classroom rule – if a student’s phone rings during class, the professor gets to answer it. Might cut down on those things.


  14. I hear you, Professor Zero, on the issue of living in a place where you run into students and colleauges at the store, restaurants, gym, etc. I used to live in a college town, and that has its challenges. As I used to say in that quaint little place, why get a cell phone when if I want to speak to someone I can just open the window and stick out my head?


  15. OMG Historiann I am about get nauseated about Facebook. I went on it to say something to a community group I’m in. What do I find but that my dean is a FB friend of my neighbor. Meaning that my dean is on FB. Ewwww he’s too old for this, is my reaction. And, ewwww there are faculty who are even FB friends with him and guaranteed they do not hang out. Too much connectedness, I say. Panopticon.


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