Opinion/Editorial

RADIO SHACK

What did it, and does it, mean that Radio Shack, that great electronics sales company, went away? What do you suppose happened there that caused the ‘Mister Wizard’ stores, where you could get anything electronic or even mechanical to help you in some home, business or hobby project, disappear? The Marion family called it quits after starting one of the most interesting direct retail to the customer companies in history. Why? Oh, the money falling off and revenue descending, for certain. But why? Radio Shack and its ever smaller share of selling a product that was nearly non-existent before they came along were a harbinger of what was coming.

What was coming, we call ‘now.’ There is little interest in home projects today of any kind, or any hobby pursuits putting little parts together or fixing stuff. Businesses went big, or not at all. There are few hopeful rock groups of teenagers playing in garages and then going out on the road to spread their stuff around to radio stations. Gone. The music of today reflects that. There is little tinkering anymore, and that runs hand in hand with learning and, even more importantly, wanting to learn. What has happened since the creation of the Internet, television and cell technology is that motivation has taken a huge dive?

Believability, meanwhile, has taken a huge spike upward. The lying drivel of the current president is a perfect example. How is he is believed by so many people? Wikipedia is half, or more, wrong, about just about everything! But it is believed. How does an entire planetary (earth) population pull back from such a black hole of expressed idiocy? Without wanting to grow, to succeed, to modify, to make better, to do more than before, where do the populations of planet earth go? Where do they end up?

I actually argued, over coffee, with a man today who believes that decisions are not things of opinion. They are merely decisions based upon fact. That discussion was about Trump, of course, as Trump’s true brilliance is that he can make everything about him…and ergo there is nobody or anything else of ‘fact’ to deal with. How can anyone argue that decisions are like separate entities of combined fact-finding, and then application, without respect to the motivation about what one might have been working on to decide that things are to be about? This man that I sat there with is not a dumb man, but as he expressed himself there, he was perfectly willing to ignore objectivity altogether because he is in love with a fake returned Christ of his own ‘decision-making’ selection.

Somebody commented today by with a line some screenwriter wrote into a movie script “hope is not a decision or a plan,” or something like that. Hope, most often, is best represented by a patiently waiting person praying deeply for somebody else to come along with a solution, and then apply it. Radio Shack was all about doing things for yourself, and therefore coming to understand the project, and physics, and electricity, and so much more. I am so sorry the local store on Main Street in Lake Geneva is gone from my town…and the bright people who went in there are gone with it, now in their homes, wondering and possibly waiting for hope to work for them. The Tandy family tapped into a part of the ‘can do’ American psychology that has somehow departed, at least temporarily, to be replaced with a series of electronic solutions that are not founded on fact or truth. That you can’t get a full gallon of gasoline at a service station (that has no service, by the way), and that you can’t get decent cell phone service because they don’t have the promised and paid for cell phone towers turned on, and much, much more, are symbols of the sad state of lying existence that Americans have come to accept as reality in this new life being lived on cell phones, iPads, computers, and televisions.

How can the reality of mutual social existence be brought back? How can associating with other humans return as the best thing in life, and without which there really is no life? Radio Shack went away because our association with reality took a departure into temporary non-existence from reality. Can it be brought back? Not the company, that is gone forever, but the concept? How did such a vastly wealthy and successful economy and culture become so lonely and lost?

~~ James Strauss

 

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