Of Blogs and Books

OK, 22 Words has done it again.

I understand that for some reason it is necessary to make short paragraphs on blog posts.

I also understand that this doesn't necessarily mean that people who read blogs can't read books with long paragraphs.

But... I do really fear for the future of the older classics in this new culture of techno-literacy. As people become more and more accustomed to shorter paragraphs, twitter content, IM, etc., I fear they will have completely unsuited themselves for Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Hugo ... even Steinbeck.

If this happens on a large scale, I do not think it will be a failure of education, desire or inteligence, simply a matter of habit and conditioning. That's what scares me the most. It's so easy.

And then what? As Morissey might say: "Come armageddon!
Come, armageddon! come!"

Unfortunately, only a couple days after that post on short paragraphs in blogs, I found some of these very fears disturbingly realized reading the comments of 22 Words's fairly literate readership in response to the question, "Are there any good books you don't like?"

Dickens used to appear in the newspapers for crying out loud! Now he appears on lists of books that fairly literate people couldn't get through.

It's almost enough to make me drop out altogether, like one twentieth century writer, thinker, and human being I admire an awful lot.


Janine the Bean said...

I just recently read an article along these same lines and the author pointed out the same thing. We just need to break bad habits. It is scary. And something I need to continue to be on guard about. I think it's even more difficult when you have children and things seem so ... interrupted.

There is the draw to the computer and I personally have to learn to say "no" more.

Our friend Gary, who loves Wendell Berry as well, has never entered the computer age. And there's something I really admire about that.

JPB said...

But lest anyone misunderstand ... I don't think I buy Berry's logic or reasoning in that article. It's just tempting when I see what the internet and technlogical trickeration do to literacy.

The Six of Us said...

I just got through all of the links...and with that thought lies one conclusion, or thought, on the subject.

Internet, to me, is a whole new way of multitasking our thoughts. I "log on", pick up various thoughts from various sights, quickly log off and ponder whichever one comes to my mind.

In one sense, this is a good way to open up a world of outside thought to my otherwise closed day.

In another way, it must NOT replace focused reading. I myself have to separate those things in my mind.

And at other times, I have to return to someone's post at a focused time to read it without distraction. However, by that time the next post it up and the blog has moved on.

I don't think the internet should be banned from intellectual thought anymore than I think guns should be banned from society. It is the misuse of each which brings destruction.

Disagree? Agree?

The Six of Us said...

Wow, I used the word "thought" quite a bit in that comment.

Which brings up another topic: is the art of writing also being damaged by quick, unedited posts/comments?

Anonymous said...

haha. i love books, yet fahrenheit 451 felt like a complete waste of my time. how's that for irony?

JPB said...

Meghan! How dare you!!!!

I LOVE that book.