Old Hairy Legs Rides Again

Today, I am reposting a perceptive commentary that appeared yesterday in the blog produced by former Chicago Tribune colleague John Kass. It is by Marie T. Sullivan and posits that e-devices such as the iPhone, iPad, etc., may be Satan’s latest attempt to corrupt us humans and drive us mad through isolation and loneliness while draining our already tattered and abused souls of compassion, charity, and benevolence. I think Ms. Sullivan has a point. Read on.

 Old Hairy Legs Rides Again

by Marie T. Sullivan

In our times, unseen forces apparently are working to render Americans comfortably complacent, open to manipulation, and downright stupid. How to achieve this end? In part through the combination of powerful personal technology and voracious consumerism.

I am no ascetic. I like a nice, expensive, soft leather handbag handcrafted in Italy as much as the next girl. I own one and feel special on the rare occasions I take it out—rare given the relatively dreary times in which we live. I stroke the leather as I load its beautifully upholstered innards with lipstick and tissue and a crisp twenty-dollar bill in a ritual known to women the world over as Changing Purses. My fine leather clutch is a thing of beauty.

Given Big Tech, however, consumerism is roaring out of control. Pandemic-induced staying at home has engendered ever more online buying, leaving us prey to dancing, targeted ads designed to make us want still more. And Amazon wants us to stay home, increasing our reliance on the products they purvey while they harvest our keystrokes.

Could it be a conspiracy? Surely the aforementioned unseen forces are at work to reduce us to the status of economic animals, couch consumers, less than human, mouths wide open like those trolling, bottom-feeding scavenger fish.

Too much time at home with devices dulls us, weakening our resistance to bad ideas, too, the next step in the plan of the Unseen Forces. Bored into consuming a good deal of inane content, we can be lured into consuming harmful ideas as well as products.

Who’s behind it all? Big Tech alone? The federal government seeking to control us?

In essence, it’s Satan. Old Hairy Legs, as he’s been called from the time of Milton. The Prince of Lies. The King of Subtlety.


What more subtle way of ruining a human soul than by slowly filling it with false desires that lead to emptiness? Or forcing it into home-based idleness that fosters marital tension, depression, and even the delicious, diabolical triumph of an occasional suicide? Old temptations, powerful new e-tools.

Mention the devil at a cocktail party, and you won’t be invited a second time. Not that I would do so, sophisticate that I am. But who has been to a real cocktail party lately? I look forward to the restoration of real, grownup parties with witty and intelligent conversation and to wearing one of several crisp cocktail dresses that hang dormant in my closet. And carrying my Italian leather clutch.

Ah, adult conversation. A dinner party of six reasonably like-minded people is one of life’s joys. Such parties are at last resuming post-pandemic. Maybe in 2023, the dreariness will subside. In the meantime, one must refuse to become discouraged, discouragement being a well-known tool of the devil.

In the meantime, it’s helpful simply to recall that Old Hairy Legs is at work. It explains a lot.

Here’s another problem with our devilish addiction to devices: Too Much Bad News. Our news feeds deliver more than human beings can hold. Surely Satan enjoys saturating us with murders and mayhem.

A highly intelligent friend now in his grave, a secularist and man of the Left, once sat with me in a Chicago park as we watched a circle of young people silently consulting their phones, ignoring one another. Suddenly he commented, “You know if I were the devil, I would invent I-phones.” Coming from an atheist, it was a remarkable observation.

Americans are distracted. A few years back in a televised interview, a reformed professional thief explained that a respectable street theft once required the talents of three collaborators: one to cause a distraction, one to commit the theft, and one to drive the getaway car. No longer is the distractor necessary, he reported. I-phones serve the purpose.

Readers of a certain age will recall the Young People’s Concerts Leonard Bernstein presented with the New York Philharmonic in the ‘sixties, well worth watching now. Bernstein is incomparable, but an added treat in viewing these broadcasts in our own time is to observe, as cameras pan the audience, a thousand well-scrubbed adolescents listening with obvious interest, and not one of them has a device. Those grainy, black-and-white broadcasts delight the viewer even aside from the musical concepts so brilliantly presented by Bernstein. They remind us of a world before galloping vulgarity, much of it conveyed electronically.

But then, to paraphrase St. Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well.”

So cheer up, everyone. All of this is just Old Hairy Legs up to his old tricks, frolicking on his playground with his new tools, causing us to e-isolate and crave shiny goods we don’t need. It’s easy to forget about him, with all our distractions, and who was it who said that his greatest achievement was making modern man think he doesn’t exist at all?

What to do? Resist. Do real things, like playing ball, playing the piano, and throwing intimate dinner parties. Better still, laugh out loud at him. They say the old sot hates nothing more.


An Ohio native, Marie T. (Terry) Sullivan has lived in Chicagoland all her adult life. She has a degree in music, with flute as her principal instrument, but turned to singing in small vocal ensembles after college. In more recent years, she took another musical turn to singing jazz. By day she works for a Chicago nonprofit. She served as culture editor for the now-defunct Chicago Daily Observer for two years.

You can follow John Kass Kass at https://johnkassnews.com/. He also produces a podcast https://johnkassnews.com/category/podcasts/

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About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here

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