Campus fashion & etiquette 101: Annoying Ringtones

Two students offer tongue-in-cheek tips for the sweatpanted and cell phone-toting masses

Jeffrey Lam, ArtSci '08
Jeffrey Lam, ArtSci '08

As I try to sit through my genetics lecture, I can’t help but be disturbed by the intrusive, computerized versions of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” or Ludacris’ “Move Bitch.” I think you know what I’m trying to get at: whether it’s at the library, mid-lecture or while writing a mid-term, you can’t help but be drawn to the persistent, catchy, alarming tunes that spew forth from any number of cell phones throughout each day.

It’s apparent that inappropriate places have become home to ring tone battles. With each ring tone trying to outdo the others in volume, techno beats and mp3s, it’s gotten more than a little annoying. I guess when one cell phone goes off, we neglect to turn off our own cell phones in hopes that our own phone will flaunt its louder and more obscene tune of “Yeah (yeah) / Shorty got down to come and get me ...” It’s alarming to see how dependent we’ve become on cell phones. People seem to have developed a nagging insecurity, feeling out of the loop sans cell phone.

Realistically speaking, cell phones have created a superficial self-importance marketed with a convenience crutch. Now with every trivial bell-and-whistle option imaginable for your cell phone, who doesn’t seem to want a mobile device with a camera, mp3 player, video camera and—why not—even a bottle opener all in one?

Maybe this is another reason why people love to hear their ring tones so much—to remind them of their technological equivalent of the Swiss Army knife.

Undoubtedly, when one’s personal musical ring tone goes off, he or she feels a sense of pride and joy that someone afar really needs—and actually friggin’ wants—to talk to them.

Perhaps this artificial reassurance of self-importance fused with a catchy ring tone is what people need in today’s society.

I am not condemning the possession of cell phones, since I myself have previously owned one. It’s obvious that we are in a technological age of communication and convenience, and really, who the hell still sends letters by post?

My point is just that we should take a step back and have some self-actualization of how important we really are—or rather, how important we think we are. Just how necessary it is to leave your cell phone on 24/7?

A courtesy note to cell phone users: they include a vibrate option and—surprise, surprise—you can even turn them off.

That little thing we call voice mail wasn’t created just so people can hear your sexy voice.

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