Up Front 03/11

When sorting out some of my mother’s possessions after she died many years ago, I came across a video of the film Wall Street. At the time it struck me as a very odd choice of film for her to own – she was never wealthy, didn’t own stocks and certainly never appeared to have aspirations toward the lifestyle presented in the film. Like many of her generation she was frugal, she scrimped and saved, preferring to forego her own luxuries in favour of helping her children and grandchildren. We even discovered an envelope of cash, some of it no longer legal tender, in which she had enclosed a note saying it was to be used to cover funeral costs in the event of her death. I was reminded of this when watching the follow up to Wall Street recently. In the opening few minutes Gordon Gekko, the character who coined the phrase ‘lunch is for wimps’, collects his possessions at the end of a jail sentence. The size of the mobile phone he collects stands out. In the 80s using a mobile phone was a bit like holding a Doc Martin boot to your ear. Today of course it is all very different. In pubs or restaurants the chances are that anyone not in conversation with someone else will have their head down staring at a small screen. Marketeers now need to reach a generation of people that text, tweet, browse Facebook and listen to music and watch television at the same time. There is a constant race to produce money spinning applications and games for mobile devises but the one that I think my Mum would have enjoyed a hearty laugh at, is the new application designed to help Catholics to make confession. The App offers ‘a personalized examination of conscience for each user, password protected profiles’ and ‘invites Catholics to prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance.’ Although a devout Catholic, I’m sure my mother would have found this too amusing to be upset by. I think she would be more likely to start a campaign to bring back the Doc Martin sized mobile and herd the Gordon Gekko’s of the world into a giant warehouse to make their confessions – perhaps they already do.