In other news, the lyrics to "Hey Ya" no longer make any sense whatsoever...

>> Saturday, February 09, 2008

Well, they finally did it. The maniacs. They blew it up. Damn them. Damn them all to hell.

Polaroid has announced that they are closing down the factories that make instant film and will cease production of instant film by next year.

On the off chance that some young'un wanders in from ficlets or by accident: back before cell phones and digital cameras that you plug into your computer, the quickest way to take a picture was to use something called a Polaroid camera. When you took a picture with the Polaroid, the camera would spit your photo out through a slot in the front--a small, square picture that would start out black and then slowly develop before your eyes as light hit it. For some reason, people believed that if you shook the picture, the image on it would appear faster. I'm not sure that actually worked, but that's what people did. Hence that line in that OutKast song, the one where they refer to the rapid movement of an attractive feminine derrière with the line, "Shake it, shake it like a Polaroid Picture"; they mean to shake that rump rapidly, as if an image of you surrounded by friends while you blow out the candles at your ninth birthday party might appear on it. Mind you, it's unlikely a picture will actually appear--it's a metaphor.

Anyway, Polaroid joins that long list of things that used to make sense in movies: a PanAm spaceplane docking with a space station in 2001, Snake Plissken landing on one of the World Trade Center towers, people eating at Taco Bell in Demolition Man: you know, things that could have happened when the movie was made, but now look silly in retrospect because the world has moved on. It won't be much longer before someone watches a movie--Memento, say--where a character uses a Polaroid camera, and it will be as mysterious and strange as characters in an old movie taking a phone call on a party line, or references to clothing in Shakespeare's plays. A man puts a strange, squarish box to his face and closes one eye; he depresses a control on the surface facing the viewer and the mysterious device and it emits a stark, blue-white stabbing strobe of light. He lowers the thing as it whirrs and clicks, ejecting a small white square with a whine and a click. He tears the square from the machine with his right hand and starts to vigorously shake his arm up and down, sometimes pausing to study the enigmatic square. Moments later, as if drawn by silent and invisible elves, an off-center image fades into existence on one side of the thick paper square; the man grunts with satisfaction as he peers at it, and puts it in his pocket.

In unrelated news, the Dell is talking to the network, but there seems to be a slight speech impediment. Communications seem a bit sluggish. Is it the TimeWarner network? The Apple AirPort I haven't used in quite a long while to send computer messages hither and thither 'cross the aether? Time will tell, I suppose. The earlier technical problems I was having with the Dell, incidentally, were related to capitol letters I didn't use when setting the network password on one machine but needed to use when logging in on another. Not as strange as it sounds, but a valuable lesson is offered: before pounding your head against the hardcore technical solutions, sometimes you should just start with the CAPS LOCK.


Nathan Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 10:54:00 AM EST  

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Oh, and do you remember the older Polaroids...the ones where you had to peel off an outer layer and then you couldn't touch the surface until it dried or you'd smudge the chemicals. Smelled like mimeographs and gave you a little 2 X 2 inch picture.

Eric Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 11:40:00 AM EST  

I'd completely forgotten about the ones you peel! I keep trying to come up with a next line to describe how gobsmacked I am to be reminded of those things, but might have to leave it at:


Kodachrome is also dying or dead, isn't it? Damn. There's another song that will sound like Greek arcana to future generations.

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