Super Sad Decline of Speech?

One of my students recently commented heatedly that thanks to technology, we no longer know how to “use our mouths.” I was reminded of the satirical use of verbaling in Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, where speech is so uncommon that it’s marked. 

When I saw these children in the store a few days ago, there was nothing unusual about the scene. It plays out again and again in the paths I cross every day. What struck me was that these children never moved. From the time I walked in to the time I walked out, they remained statuesquely in situ.