iPod, therefore I AM

BiblePlayer-for-iPod.jpgMaybe it’s just the mass-media professor in me who is used to chanting “technology shapes content.” But, you know, I sort of see a link between the following two stories in those radically different Washington, D.C., daily newspapers.

First there is the Washington Times piece on what could be called iPod theology among the young ‘uns. You know, the tendency to get a stack of religious texts and punch up “shuffle.”

It may mean the rise of “orthodoxy a la carte,” where, as with IPods and music, young Americans take a “mix and match” approach to religion, said Bill Galston, a domestic policy adviser in the Clinton administration.

Read that story, then try to get it out of your head while you are reading the new Washington Post‘s Metro piece on the growing D.C. trend of iPod theft — which some people are seriously calling a form of “identity theft.” That leads to this idea:

. . . “Thefts) of digital music players are rising, police say, putting [Sara] Scalenghe and others through the emotional trauma of losing something that has become an increasingly important and personal part of their lives. Victims said they felt the thieves got an illicit glimpse at their musical tastes and even their “souls.”

See what I mean? I wonder if anyone is preaching on these trends?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://raphael.doxos.com Huw Raphael

    Odd. Didn’t the “a la carte theology” come decades before the iPod? Certainly the iPod Shuffle was a much later addition to the Apple Family of techie goodness. This might be a case where theology shapes technology, but given that both the “spirituality” and the technology arose in post-hippie california and then moved east, I think they are better seen as, rather, arising from the same cultural springs.

    Given that much of the a la carte stuff is lifted rightout of it’s cultural context into faux “celtic” or “native america” or “eastern” spiritualities that are then sold from a huge salad bar to anglos, I think the iPod theft issue is a good parallel – as are lawsuits from RIAA for illegal file swapping.