Technology and Its Discontents

On the batteryification of things that didn’t used to need batteries

As it relates to antidecableificationism

Get thee behind me, battery.
Get thee behind me, battery.

If it is the phones that will inherit the earth, then it is their dependence on batteries that may give the human resistance a fighting chance in the post-phonepocalyptic world toward which we are inevitably hurtling. But if we, as a species, can learn to live without batteries in a solar-powered steampunk Zion (with or without nightly orgiastic dance parties), I believe we can hit the enemy where it hurts the most: in its lithium-ion Achilles heel.

When the first wireless keyboards and mice were introduced, I must say I failed utterly to comprehend why such a thing was desirable. I mean, here we ’90s computer users already had keyboards and mice that appeared to work just fine—and, more to the point, without batteries. Why make them more complicated? Why the fuck put batteries in them? But against all logic they caught on, oh yes, and multiplied.

So now we have standard-issue keyboards and mice that need to be fed, nurtured, paired and de-paired, input devices that actually interrupt users to complain that they need more batteries—and soon—or else. Whither the dumb keyboard that did my bidding without talking back, the mouse that didn’t mysteriously stop working until I rebooted my computer? I miss my old friends. They were good to me.

But of course it’s obvious to me now. If our coming phone overlords can create a battery-dependent human society, then future humans will never be able to cast aside their battery-powered essentials—like flashlights, toothbrushes, vibrators, like KEYBOARDS AND MICE. So the time has come to plug back in, to rewire, to de-pair. We must prepare for the struggle ahead and cast the battery aside! Long live the cable! Long live the revolution!