Speaking at a TED conference earlier this week to show off the latest version of Google Glass, the Google cofounder opined thusly:
"You’re actually socially isolating yourself with your phone," Brin told the audience. "I feel like it’s kind of emasculating…. You’re standing there just rubbing this featureless piece of glass….
"I whip this out and focus on it as though I have something very important to attend to," Brin added later, holding up his phone. "This [Google Glass] really takes away that excuse.”
As a general rule, I try not to think about Sergey Brin whipping things out of his pants and rubbing them. But I have to admit he has a point. Brin is, after all, one of those rock solid icons of masculinity, someone you talk about in the same breath as Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Rock, or Chuck Norris.
And it’s true: Girlymen use smartphones. Manly men wear Goggles that make them look like Poindexter McNerdipants on his way to the AV Club dance.
But it got me to thinking about how emasculating much of our other technology is. Take tablets, for example. You call an iPad a computer? That’s not a computer. It’s an Etch-a-Sketch with an attitude.
What do you do with a tablet? You tap, swipe, and pinch. Did you ever see John Wayne tapping, swiping, or pinching? No, you did not. Real men rustle, wrangle and punch.
In fact, a true manly man (or manly woman) uses a liquid-nitrogen-cooled 16TB sextuple-core beast that requires 15 minutes’ notice to the utility company before he turns it on. And when he’s traveling (on horseback, or barefoot over the badlands of South Dakota) he carries a 15-pound ruggedized laptop with broken glass Krazy Glued to the keyboard.
You know what else is emasculating? Social networks. What do you do on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin? You ‘friend’ people. You like the things they post. You follow them, hoping they’ll follow you back. You ask them to please pretty please link to your profile and – just maybe – endorse your pathetic set of unmanly skills. In short, you act like a complete and utter wuss.
Real he-men and she-men don’t ask other people to be their friends. They acquire targets and then conquer them. They impress others into servitude. And when that person has outlived his or her usefulness, they ‘defriend’ them by reaching into their rib cages with their bare hands, ripping out their still beating hearts, and devouring them.
Also emasculating: Working from home. Admit it, you know the only reason people work from home is so they can wear a dress all day. That or go full commando. No wonder the FedEx refuses to come to the door any more.
Telecommuting is for wimps. You know what’s not for wimps? Spending two hours each day crawling through rush hour traffic or packed like sardines in a commuter train with a bunch of strangers who smell like offal. Drinking day-old coffee that tastes like battery acid, eating junk food out of a hallway vending machine, and arguing about the size and location of your cubicle. Real he-men and she-men are happy to waste endless hours in meetings where only one person ever talks and everyone else stares out into middle space with eyes like dead fish.
That’s manly. No wonder Marissa is such a fan.
Manly: Coding your own OS from scratch using your own fork of Yellow Dog Linux. And then documenting every single g-ddamned line. In Sanskrit.
I could go on, but you get the point. It’s not enough to be using the best technology, or the smartest, fastest, cheapest devices. You must also choose the tech that makes you look most like a testosterone-fueled knuckle-dragging brute.
You know, like Sergey.
This post originally appeared on InfoWorld.
He-man Sergey pic courtesy of Dvice.