Henry Ford certainly is a great guy. He introduced mass-production, putting the whole world on the wheels. But his contribution to the world is not just his Model T, which, like the old Singer sewing machine, was built all but for eternity. Both machines were, of course, almost fool-proof easy to handle, and best of all, capitalists could increase the wages of workers and cut the prices of their products at the same time, thanks to mass-production and its resultant global popularization.


Things began to change after the economic globalization, whose inception historians would date back to the end of the Second World War. The United States won the war, and women's obsession with nylon stockings surged across the world where GIs spread the gospel of semi-transparent sexy hose. Incidentally, GI, which stands for "government issue," means the American soldier, who was ubiquitous the world over in the latter half of the 1940s. The best present a German or Italian or Japanese girl could have from her GI friend was the nylon stockings.



Well, they lasted almost forever. That made American hose-makers worry about their business prospective. The good lasting nylon stockings would saturate the market sooner than later. So they had to turn out flimsier stockings to keep their market wide open. Pantyhose now available doesn't last long. Other manufacturers followed suit, producing increasingly costly wares that have a much shorter lifespan.


 


Take the telephone for instance. The old dialing machine was good for decades, causing the user no trouble of any kind. Improvements have been made, and the phone now has -- my goodness -- seemingly endless multi-functions, making its operation simply too hazardous for an aging technophobe. It breaks down easily. The user has to replace batteries and, more often than not, he cannot get connected, though it may not be the fault of the failing doohickey. Most of the time he gets connected, he hears the answering service that directs him to press whatever number he is told to and gets nowhere because he can't talk to the people he wants to talk to. The cellular phone reigns king, but it gives the older generation more headache than convenience. Elderly persons do not want to have mobile phones, which are getting all the smaller and harder to handle. Don't forget old gentlemen and ladies have less nimble fingers and poorer eyesight to correctly press the tiny digits shown on the flashy board.


 


The typewriter was a great invention in the nineteenth century. One can still use the old Remington or Underwood or even a modernized IBM typewriter, which has all since been replaced by the personal computer. The typewriter is good for decades, but a new PC has to be bought once in a not-too-long while. We are not nostalgic, but we do wish consumer advocates would appeal to capitalists for a little mercy for the rapidly graying population.


 


 


advocate : 提倡者;擁護者[(+of)]
appeal : 呼籲,懇求[(+to/for)][+to-v]
capitalist : 資本家
cellular : 細胞組成的;劃分的;多孔的
contribution : 貢獻[C][U][(+to/towards)]
doohickey : 小玩意
endless : 無盡的;長久的
eternity : 永遠,永恆;不朽[U]
eyesight : 視力,目力
foolproof : 笨人也能懂(或會用)的;極簡單的
GI : 美國現役或退伍軍人
gospel : 福音,基督教教義[U]
historian : 歷史學家[C]
hose : 軟管;水龍帶[C]
improvement : 改進,改善;增進[U][C][(+in)]
inception : 開始,開端,起初
instance : 例子,實例[(+of)]
latter : 後面的;後半的;末了的
lifespan : 壽命,預期生命期限
mass-produce : 大量生產;批量生產
mercy : 慈悲,憐憫;仁慈,寬容[U][(+on)]
multi-function : 多功能的
nimble : 靈活的,靈巧的,敏捷的
nostalgic : 鄉愁的
nowhere : 任何地方都不
nylon : 尼龍[U]
obsession : 著迷,被纏住[U]
pantihose : (女)連褲襪
popularization : 大眾化;通俗化
prospective : 預期的,盼望中的;未來的;即將發生的
reign : 統治;支配[U]
resultant : 作為結果的
saturate : 浸透;滲透;使濕透[H][(+with)]
seemingly : 表面上;似乎是
semitranslucent : 半透明的
sewing : 縫紉;縫紉業
stocking : 長襪[P]
technophobe : 技術恐懼者;不喜歡機器設備者
tiny : 極小的;微小的
typewriter : 打字機[C]
ubiquitous : 到處存在的,普遍存在的
wages : 代價;報償
wheels : 汽車

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