Discover more from Pessimists Archive Newsletter
🗞 𝙿𝚎𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚖𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚜 𝙰𝚛𝚌𝚑𝚒𝚟𝚎 Roundup
🎂 Ok, Einstein
Last week was Einstein’s birthday, generally considered one of the smartest people that ever lived, he wasn’t always right. In the middle of the Great Depression he gave a speech blaming automation for economic collapse.
📚 Over Booked
This 1891 article discussed the over abundance of books. The piece lamented a “surplus of books on the market" and said there were "too many writers, too many books published" pointing out that publishers were putting out new books every 2 or 3 days! “
“The reading world is not large enough to consume all that reading matter.”
🚴♀️ Satan on Wheels
To celebrate #womensday we shared this 1895 headline about women riding bicycles, in it a ‘Doctor’ claimed “Satan inspires women to ride wheels.” An accompanying illustration shows a women in manly attire, donning a top hat while flying a flag made of a pair of bloomers (female cycling trousers.)
☎️ Alexander Graham Bell
We found this surprising report that the father of the telephone - Alexander Graham Bell - ended up hating it. This was shocking to us and after a number of failed attempts to verify the quote, a Twitter follower shared a letter from Graham Bell’s widow (Mabel Bell) calling out the press for making such claims.
She opened the letter:
“I am begginning to get distressed over the many statements that papers have been publishing of Mr. Bell’s dislike of the telephone.”
After noting some tongue in cheek remarks about wishing he’d never invented the telephone (that may have been misconstrued) she said:
“Mr. Bell’s one regret about the telephone was that his wife could not use it.”
(Mabel Bell was deaf) 🥺
🚳 Techlash 1.0
The bicycle was blamed for numerous and surprising things when they first started to come into common use. The bicycle had its very own techlash in the late 1800s to early 1900s. (Later this year we’ll be publishing an interactive timeline of them…)
⭐️ Tweet of the Week
A catastrophic win for the anti-vaxx movement happened this week thanks to a knee jerk reaction from a health committee in Ireland and an irresponsible press writing headlines missing crucial context. The 1998/2021 BBC headlines below is an example of how irresponsible tech/health reporting helps perpetuate technophobic misinformation.