While I’m linking to the New York Times, here’s a poignant essay from John Herrman:
The pandemic gadget boom is a story of both new needs fulfilled and old desires restored. Buying noise canceling headphones is, of course, a consumerist treat, setting aside the new circumstances that made them feel necessary — the construction downstairs, the baby 20 feet away, the spouse simultaneously trapped in a video meeting. You can feel the faintest muscle memory activate when you comparison shop for a gadget of a type you’ve never purchased before, even if that gadget is — judging by back orders and top listings on Amazon as the winter creeps closer — a S.A.D. lamp or an outdoor radiator.
This gadget boom will end like every other — with a bunch of little-used and rapidly obsolete junk stowed away in closets and landfills around the globe — but it won’t inspire much nostalgia. This isn’t spontaneous mass hobbyism or a slide into decadence. It’s a cornered populace spending what they can in hopes that some novel invention will stave off disaster, or even just gloom.
With writing this good, how does one not read the whole thing?