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CHAPTER 1.2: RAISING THE ICEBERG

1.21: The Times They are a'Changin'

Every day we are confronted with new things. We have just got used to the Zip Code on letters, when we find strange hieroglyphics on the sides of the cornflakes box. Both innovations are, we are told, to make them computer-readable. The computer can read them but we can't. Computer stores and videotape rental stores are appearing all over town. We don't know how to shop in those stores. Suddenly, your ten-year-old son seems more at home on a planet where you have been living for several decades. As stated in one of the items in the test of Computer phobia (see Figure 1-1) traditionally, the arrogance of youth was countered by the arrogance of experience. Now, both arrogances are on the same side. It is not your side.

The confusing array of new things have some of us bewitched, many of us bothered, and most of us bewildered. A useful first step toward making ourselves more at home again on our planet is to recognize those new things as the tip of an iceberg. They are surface symptoms of an underlying syndrome. Understanding the syndrome will make sense of the symptoms. Let us begin to raise the iceberg by grouping some of those unfamiliar things around two familiar pieces of technology in our homes - the telephone and the television set.