Saturday, November 29, 2008


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.


Jason said...

Let the TV go dark. I promise you won't miss it very often. I wish I could get broadcast TV maybe 2 or 3 times a year. If it wasn't for sports I wouldn't even wish that.

Unknown said...

While she may be correct about some areas of technology, I disagree about the Kindle. As an avid reader who recently recieved one as a gift, my feeling is it is almost just like reading a book. The major difference is I can carry a whole library and it automatically knows where I left off. The content is the same. The Kindle is really made for reading long books, not short snippets like web reading. I am reading more than before because I always have a book at hand and ready. I've gone from an average of 1 full length book per week to 3 or 4.

Sujit On web said...

Some tech-free celebs are recovering tech addicts. Tyra Banks told New York Times Magazine that her BlackBerry habit caused her physical pain. She has since gone low-tech and jots her thoughts in a notebook.
Technophobia, of course, extends far beyond cell phones.