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"People are choosing to allow television and Electronic Arts to do all their imagining for them."
- Peter Watts

Tele-Photophonic Attachment  
  A device that permits a telephone funnel to see as well as hear.  

Before the advent of the television camera, you needed to call it something.

“Praise your Boss!” hooted the funnels. “He is the people’s friend. That’s how he deals with kings! He shows no mercy to the people’s enemies. The Tsar is a low-grade moron. His heredity is horrible. He cannot pass Test 1 upon the Binet board. He is a wretched brach, and will now work in the leathers till he dies, producing for you.”

“Hurrah!” screamed the spectators. “Out with him! To the Rest Cure!”

And the absurdity of the display came home to none except myself. These citizens were in deadly earnest. How shrewd the mind that had contrived a pabulum so well calculated to appeal to the mob 113palate! The contrived crudeness, the planned abuse betrayed an intimate and assured acquaintance with the people’s psychology.

“Praise louder!” whispered the intimate voice beside me. “Why do you not praise when the others do?”

And then I realized that the funnel was speaking to me! Nobody else had heard, nobody else was meant to hear. I knew that the funnels had a tele-photophonic attachment whereby one could see as well as hear. Somewhere, then, the person who had spoken to me that morning was watching and playing with me.

From The Messiah of the Cylinder, by Victor Rousseau.
Published by AC McClurg & Co. in 1917
Additional resources -

If you remember the Two Minutes Hate from 1984, this is pretty much the same, a generation earlier.

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  More Ideas and Technology from The Messiah of the Cylinder
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  Tech news articles related to works by Victor Rousseau

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