By Jenny Bruce
I'll admit it, I'm somewhat of a technophobe. Since I don't own a computer, I need to drive to work if I want to check my email over the weekend. The most high tech music device in my possession is the nifty CD clock radio I received when I graduated from high school (definitely a step up from my record player.) I'm seriously considering letting my analog television go dark in February because I don't want to mess with a converter box. Oh, and I've started occasionally communicating through a method the kids call "texting."
Technophobe that I am, it's no surprise that I'm a bit wary of the enthusiasm surrounding digital literacy and devices such as the Kindle. Thus, I loved Christina Rosen's recent article, People Of The Screen. Here's a taste:
"If reading has a history, it might also have an end. It is far too soon to tell when that end might come, and how the shift from print literacy to digital literacy will transform the “reading brain” and the culture that has so long supported it. Echoes will linger, as they do today from the distant past: audio books are merely a more individualistic and technologically sophisticated version of the old practice of reading aloud. But we are coming to see the book as a hindrance, a retrograde technology that doesn’t suit the times. Its inanimacy now renders it less compelling than the eye-catching screen. It doesn’t actively do anything for us. In our eagerness to upgrade or replace the book, we try to make reading easier, more convenient, more entertaining—forgetting that reading is also supposed to encourage us to challenge ourselves and to search for deeper meaning."
Even if you don't share my issues with technology, I think Rosen's insightful article is definitely worth a read (even if you have to read it via your computer screen.) Meanwhile, I'm going to go learn how to program my VCR.