Just when you thought the everything in the office vs. working from home debate was over, here comes New York Times columnist maureen dodd A lament for the glory days of newsrooms.
Even though she doesn’t want to write an article about how things used to be better, she believes it to be true, which leads her to rant about how things used to be better. In fact, her tapping was as loud as a typewriter’s chorus. In order to write scripts, I bought a typewriter at the request of my son over the past few years. We soon discovered that, as Ms Dowd recalled, the “crack” of the typewriter was actually a harsh staccato.
Cigarettes and beer feature heavily in this old world of newsgathering. This always ends in respiratory and liver failure, with a lot of inappropriate harassment and bullying along the way. Ms. Dodd cryptically declared that “assistants” who were “in their 20s” didn’t want to come into the office, which for her, in particular, was a source of boyfriends. If today’s journalists were unaware of other potential ways to find a romantic partner (online dating anyone?), I suspect their prospects as journalists might be protected.
I think Ms. Dodd hits the nail on the head when she writes that she fears that “alchemy” or “romance” is gone. This problem exists with many calls for people to return to the office; they are based on Zen thinking about invisible magic that only seems to happen under ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights.
It fails to realize that people communicate differently today by doing what people have always done, which is adopting available technology to do their jobs more efficiently, more enjoyable and more flexibly. Typewriters and offices are examples of technological progress, as are abacuses, adding machines, and personal computers.
We tend to like the familiar. Classical psychology research has shown that re-presented stimuli receive higher affective ratings compared to novel stimuli. No doubt someone connected it to avoiding the mistake of embracing unknown predators in Stone Age caves.
For whatever reason, we tend to give the past more credit. Of course, the classic film and television dramas of our youth can also stand the test of time, but watching TV dramas from the 1970s and 1980s is often hard to watch.
It’s not just the obvious things like the sexism of female characters (if they even exist), but the script writing, acting, lighting, direction, pacing, you name it, are generally better done today.