Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once Common Things Passing Us By
This Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once Common Things Passing Us By is a cultural catalog of everyday things rapidly turning into rarities—from landlines to laugh tracks.
So many things have disappeared from our day-to-day world, or are on the verge of vanishing. Some we may already think of as ancient relics, like typewriters (and their accompanying bottles of correction fluid). Others seem like they were here just yesterday, like boom boxes and CDs.
We may feel fond nostalgia for certain items of yore: encyclopedias, newspapers, lighthouses. Other items, like MSG, not so much. But as the pace of change keeps accelerating, it’s worth taking a moment to mark the passing of the objects of our lives, from passbooks and pay phones to secretaries and skate keys. And to reflect on certain endangered phenomena that may be worth trying to hold on to—like privacy, or cash.
This thoughtful alphabetized compendium invites us to take a look at the many things, ideas, and behaviors that have gone the way of the subway token—and to reflect on what is ephemeral, and what is truly timeless.