I never owned an iPod. I do not like to wear head phones. I think it’s less the discomfort of shoving something in my ears than it is a dislike of not being about to hear anything but the music. I want to have situational awareness, and dedicating my hearing 100% to music feels, to me, not all that different from wearing a blindfold. Even when blasting my stereo I can still hear the fire alarm.

So, i won’t miss the iPod, but it is significant that it only lasted thirteen years. And it totally transformed the music industry. No one buys CD’s anymore.

On the other hand, in my experience, an iTunes gift card is considered by teenagers to be one of the most impolite of gifts. Our sons have often asked for cash as compensation for an otherwise worthless gift. In fact, the only time I have ever purchased anything on iTunes was because I had been forced to fork over twenty bucks to compensate a disappointed stepson for getting a gift card for something he routinely steals via music pirating sites.

For a while, I tried to discourage this behavior because I considered the theft to be immoral, but it soon became clear to me that I was fighting a culture so normative and ubiquitous that I might as well have been fitting them for chastity belts.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com