10-The Skeuomorph Skew
ended up with
on their faces.
coins hitting a metal plate are added. That sound is played whenever
anyone wins even a small amount, to keep them playing.
In technology circles, there's great debate. Skeuomorph supporters like
Apple pioneer Steve Jobs have defended them, saying they help people
cope with new products and technology. Others say those phoney
throwbacks to the past stifle creativity and visionary thinking, especially
now that most young people have no experience with the old stuff that's
imitated, like that hand-held calculator.
Maybe we should be talking more about spiritual skeuomorphs, too. As
we try to leave our old values, attitudes and behavours behind, what are
the things we keep from the past, even though we don't need them and
they don't do us any good? We've all got 'em.
In some cases, we keep parts of our old life, either for status or to look
strong, especially since the stereotype is that believers are weak and
stupid. So even when we're trying to let God make us more like Christ, it's
hard not to want people to think we're tough, trendy and together. That's
often why we stay aggressively ambitious and competitive, hide our sins
and struggles behind a veneer of invincibility, or spend way too much on
stuff to impress people so they won't think we're crazy or just uncool.
Sometimes it's hard to let go of old friends, habits and priorities, even
when we know they're not good for us. Rather than find spiritual
replacements, we keep the old life and simply add Jesus to the mix. So,
when making too many changes is too scary, lots are attracted to a
Christianity that combines saving faith with the safe and familiar. Most
often, the result is a diluted or distracted faith, like the Jesus-wants-meto-be-rich theology that dresses naked materialism in God clothes.
Not everything from our past needs to go. There are people and
perspectives from days gone by that help us adjust to a godly life. But
true, lasting change comes when we trade half-measures for whole
holiness because “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new
person; the old life is gone and a new life has begun.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Easier said than done. But if we keep the past in the past, our future will
be a much better present.
VOLUME 38, NUMBER 10
March 24, 2013
Whether you realize it or not, your
life is filled with skeuomorphs.
A skeuomorph (SKEW-uh-morph)
is an unnecessary holdover from
an earlier time — something from
the past that's kept around, even though we don't really need it and it
doesn't do much good.
Examples surround us, and they've been around a long time. As far
back as ancient Crete, the rich had fancy silver cups but, when cheap
ceramic copies were made for commoners, the ripoffs had sculpted clay
pellets simulating the rivets in the metal originals. it was a status thing.
Today, many plastic consumer goods once made of metal have moulded
screws that exist only to give the illusion of added strength or durability.
Some skeuomorphs are designed to link the present with the past and
the values of “the good old days”. On any phone, for example, the
ringing sound of an outgoing call hasn't been part of the technology
since the 1950s. It's simulated, purely for effect. It's now the same with
the shutter sound made by cell phone or point-and-shoot cameras.
Occasionally, skeuomorphs are a safety issue. Some legislators have
pushed unsuccessfully for mandatory cell phone camera sounds, to stop
sereptitious photos in places like locker rooms; the sound of an
automotive turn signal is totally unnecessary but carmakers add it so
drivers know the light is on; and many virtually silent electric cars have
speakers that play recorded engine noise so people hear them coming.
In other cases, skeuomorphs are used to make something new and
intimidating seem comfortably familiar. That's why smart phones have
calculators that look like the hand-held kind, or a “Notes” app with ruled
yellow paper, and why e-books have turning “pages”.
But in casinos, skeuomorphs exist purely to play the players. On newer
slot machines that use tickets instead of tokens, enhanced recordings of