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Keller @ Large: Can We Put Down The Smartphones?

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21:  U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd during the Public Inaugural Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama was sworn in for his second term earlier in the day.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd during the Public Inaugural Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama was sworn in for his second term earlier in the day. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s official – smartphones have us in their spell, big time, and they’re not letting go anytime soon.

Listen to Jon’s commentary 


The New York Times website ran a high-resolution photo-composite of the crowd on the dais behind the president during his inauguration, and guess what many of them were doing? Apparently the historic moment unfolding in front of them wasn’t compelling enough to hold their attention.

The same thing was happening yesterday in the Massachusetts House during their rules debate, an epidemic of texting, tweeting, and so on.

The debate over proper public phone etiquette has been going on for some time, and if you still think it’s OK to play with your smartphone in church or at a funeral, there’s isn’t much I can say.

But I do want to bring up for your consideration the phenomenon, also chronicled by the Times, of diners using their smartphone cameras and other devices to take pictures – of their food.

In some of New York’s fancier restaurants, the photo flashes became so prolific and annoying, cameras were banned; in others, they take you back to the kitchen to get your shots before they bring the food out.

I admit to having done this myself, once, on a trip with my wife, when the food was so beautifully presented we wanted a picture of it. But between people who like to post food pictures on their blogs and folks who just have to share every waking moment with others, it seems to be getting out of hand.

“It’s reached epic proportions,” one restaurant industry expert told the Times.

Only because humility, decorum, and respect for the comfort of others appear to be vanishing from the landscape, fast.

Maybe it’s naïve to even ask, but can’t we return to the days when people just took pictures of kids, pets and landscapes, and treated dinner as something to be just…eaten?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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