The new multi-tasking tater of the digital age no longer just slings his remote. Laurence Scott of The New Yorker writes:

The decline of the couch potato signals a shift in our moral attitude toward life lived in front of a screen. Our century’s professional expectation that we be constantly online provides an alibi for our indulgences. The person hunched over her laptop in the coffee shop could be poring over budgets or caught in an unrewarding whorl of YouTube videos: the silhouette is more or less the same. Likewise, our smartphones display both urgent e-mails and consolingly familiar reruns of “Friends.” Even earbuds don’t necessarily portend mindless consumption; a conference call, or even a podcast teaching introductory Mandarin, could be piping up those rubbery lines. With television’s new proximity to the more puritanical uses of our devices, the archetype of the beached sluggard on the couch has been smuggled into a portrait of diligence. As a result, the old-school sheepishness about watching television, especially during the day, has been replaced by a sense of pride in our new technological capabilities.

July 7, 2016

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