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Stuck in the past

By Debra Dobbins

The term “Luddites” in Greg Ruland's article today about qutting cigarette smoking is used in the general sense of people refusing to accept changing times.

The term, however, had a very specific meaning when it first came into English. It referred to workers in England in the early 1800s who were angry about technological advances in the wool and cotton industries. They viewed new machinery in these industries as threats to their livelihood.

“The Luddites were named after ‘General Ned Ludd’ or ‘King Ludd’, a mythical figure who lived in Sherwood Forest and supposedly led the movement,” according to the website www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

Their protests turned violent — so much so that the British government dispatched thousands of troops to places such as Yorkshire, according to the same site. “In 1812, machine-breaking became a crime punishable by death.”

Every time I unload my own groceries from a cart and/or scan them at a self-checkout station, I feel a little bit like a Luddite — in its more general sense, I must hastily add. (There will be no havoc on aisle nine.)

I miss the cheerful help I had in the “good old days.” However, that type of job, requiring not much education, is being swallowed up by advancements in technology. I, as a consumer, must accept that, and young people who may be tempted to skate by in life without constantly adapting and learning new skills would be wise to accept that, too.

According to LinkedIn, jobs in the tech sector were among the hottest for 2013. To see the list, use this link: http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/12/18/the-25-hottest-skills-that-got-people-hired-in-2013. Please don't ask me what many of these jobs actually entail. When it comes to high tech, I'm a lowly Luddite.


TIME WARP: According to Wikipedia, an 1884 Penny magazine engraving superimposed art of two men purportedly acting in 1812 onto art of a Jacquard loom. However, Wikipedia adds, the Jacquard loom did not come into being until after the 1820s. (Photo of engraving courtesy of Wikipedia)


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