De uoluminibus trianulibus

All of the noise being made about three-ring binders is just silly–It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It’s just office supplies, or is it? Imagine, presidential candidates discussing office supplies, or were they discussing women? I’ve had three-ring binders for years, and they have proved ever so useful. Yet, I can’t but help think they are both a bit quaint and old-fashioned. When I was five, I didn’t have any binders, but by the time I was in the seventh grade, I had several and kept my English/Spanish notes in a three-ring binder. I keep my choir music in a three-ring binder–very orderly. Most of our tenure notebooks are three-ring binders. I have never, however, had women in three-ring binders, and I’m not really sure how that would work. Even if we invoke the use of the poetic trope, synecdoche, where a part of a thing stands in to represent the whole (“All hands on deck!”), why don’t we just say that we keep information about women in three-ring binders instead of we have women in binders. Yet, I’m not sure which sounds worse, information about women in binders or women in binders. The whole mess sounds dirty at best, and at worst it sounds like someone with a fancy for S/M is offering up their phone list of participants. If we take the “women in binders” remark seriously, it points to both shoddy thinking and careless rhetoric, not to mention completely slighting all women who have been reduced to collections and lists that have been filed in three-ring binders. By definition the binders of women are exclusionary and speak to the reality of the glass ceiling in American business, education, religion, and politics. The binders, themselves, are just mindless objects with a quasi-utilitarian organizational slant that some people use to keep track of paper or papers which they need to preserve. The binders act as temporary book covers for the perishable material inside. Most people have binders, and most people don’t give them a second thought until they need them. I’ve suggested that students use them while writing a thesis to keep their pages from getting mixed up or lost. I’ve received scripts that have been held together in three-ring fashion. In and of themselves, three-ring binders are antique, anachronistic, and clumsy in our digital age of binary information storage. Any tablet could conceivably hold the information from thousands of binders, so the contemporary use of binders, unless it’s for music, a thesis in progress, or tenure notebooks speaks to unprogressive thinking, old habits dying hard, and out-of-date analogue storage. This is the digital age and except for a few old-fashioned applications, binders are passé and junk, speaking to a mind that is not only not contemporary, it is not moving forward at all, anchored in a past of paper, outmoded thinking, obsolete platforms, archaic structures, and worn-out ideas. Information via the digital highway has long since passed many of us by, speed limits are up, and the new generation of thinkers, men and women who don’t use binders, are leaving us all behind.