The iPodding of America

Yes, iPods are a fine invention, and there’s no doubt that the ability to carry your entire music library with you (now with video!) is far preferable to the old one-note portable music players. But how healthy is it for everyone in America to travel around in a self-imposed isolation bubble, preferring the iPod sountrack to the sounds of the world? “Behaviors that seem weirdly antisocial when they emerge quickly take on the bland, banal tone of business as usual. Cell phone yakkers in airports and elevators barely get noticed now. And it’s no longer odd to pass someone in a grocery store aisle who’s peering intently at the tomato paste cans and chatting away into some barely visible headset.” Are those infernal white ear buds just the latest escapist plague?