Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is reading dying?

I got an e-mail today mentioning an interesting article in the New Yorker Magazine titled Twilight of the Books: What will life be like if people stop reading? Here's a short quote from the article:

A reader learns about the world and imagines it differently from the way a viewer does; according to some experimental psychologists, a reader and a viewer even think differently. If the eclipse of reading continues, the alteration is likely to matter in ways that aren’t foreseeable.

You definitely should read the whole thing. There are some interesting data about the different ways the brain reacts to reading. Hey! That reminds me of a webpage I just ran across dating from April discussing television/video's "merits."

For your edification(?), here's an excerpt:

The commercial starts off by showing school kids, hopped up after a full day's learning and lunchtime Twinkies, bouncing off the walls of a school bus. A rather distressed looking adult enters the bus, assesses the situation and reacts by pulling down a tiny television monitor, at which point the kids fall into a zombie-like stupor.

A voiceover intones "When the kids get what they want, you'll get what you want." Great lesson, Dodge – and one that's repeated a few seconds later in the interior of a Caravan. In this vehicle, two children smile emptily in the back seat while mommy and daddy (or perhaps a pair of Yuppie kidnappers – the ad doesn't elaborate one way or another) exchange we-put-one-over-on-the-seven-year-olds-again grins...

In a moment of serendipitous timing, a commercial from Adbusters Media Foundation is touting April 23-29 – the last week of the Dodge Caravan DVD promotion – as "TV Turn Off Week." The Adbusters spot shows a series of heavy-lidded cherubic young 'uns, who are assumedly watching a television screen right in front of them, staring glassily and open mouthed at the viewer.

They look strikingly similar to the kids in the Caravan commercial.

What more can I say?


Josh McManaway said...
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Josh McManaway said...

Gosh - that's an awful lot to read. Isn't there an interview we can watch on Youtube?