Speed Reads

No Selfie no cry

Michael Musto missed the obvious point about the celebrity flip phone 'retro-chic phenomenon'

Some boldface names from Hollywood and high fashion are using clunky old flip phones instead of smartphones, Michael Musto notes in The New York Times. Stars like Scarlett Johansson, Rihanna, and Kate Beckinsale are walking around with LG clamshells and other vintage 2000s cellphones, as are Anna Wintour, Iggy Pop, Musto himself, and politicians like New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Musto gives some possible reasons for this "retro-chic phenomenon" — De Blasio wants to look populist, Iggy Pop wants a phone that won't break, Musto wants to keep his $30/month wireless plan, Schumer wants to escape email — but he misses the big point about clunky old phone-button technology: Privacy. Flip phones don't store photos in iCloud, and it's hard to hack grainy low-res photos from a clamshell handset. Rihanna and Scarlett Johansson, at least, have a good reason to use a phone that's a mostly just a phone.