Good Reads, Technology

Segway and the Death of the American Dream

Best article lead I have read in a very long time:

Back in the good old days, strong men such as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Ken Kesey went screaming across the great American highways with heads hopped full of sour mash and benzedrine. They performed lewd acts, taunted the police, harassed the stiffs and produced great art. These days we’re left with four twenty-something geeks traveling country roads at 10 mph with their Segways, iPods and blogs.

Okay, get this. A guy is going to journey across this great land of ours … on a Segway scooter.

That could be a respectible adventure in and of itself, but he’s going to be followed, at ten miles an hour, by three buddies in a “support car” holding 16 backup batteries, and a bunch of toys, merrily blogging their adventures the whole way through. The Register continues to pound out great copy:

Kesey and the Merry Pranksters were also said to have debated the use of text messaging on their trip across the US. In the end, however, they decided that a fridge full of acid-laced orange juice would be a more profound use of technology. For Kerouac, there was but a typewriter, gallons of red wine and meth.

Even lame old dannyman smoked the marijuana in Amsterdam, chugged gallons of wine in Lyon, and rung in the New Year with a nice young lady in Bangkok … though I’ve only blogged the first two thirds of that adventure … the most blistering attack comes in follow-up reader mail:

Even not-quite-so-long-ago adventurers would wander far and away on novelty vehicles ranging from scooters to bicycles to skateboards. The point was they left on the vehicle to see if they could make it. Not to “survive” a pasty pablum experience with the luxury of a support vehicle, sixteen batteries, a team of helpers, a webcam and a text messager every ten minutes to update you on their progress past mile marker 457.

In the good old days these guys would have been turned into a Monty Python skit about twits on parade. Now these soulless apparatchiks lay claim to the spirit of adventure, and really only show what happens when a coddled surburbanite decides to show off his toys.


So, of course, I just had to write about the people who are writing about the people who are writing about the people who are blogging about riding a Segway scooter across America. All in an effort to entertain you during a diversion from my normally-scheduled work-related program activities.


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