As the new year approaches, it’s a good time for stock-taking. And with the holidays upon us, it’s a good time for thinking melancholy thoughts. So here you go:
There’s no reason to think that reading and writing are about to become extinct, but some sociologists speculate that reading books for pleasure will one day be the province of a special "reading class," much as it was before the arrival of mass literacy, in the second half of the nineteenth century. They warn that it probably won’t regain the prestige of exclusivity; it may just become "an increasingly arcane hobby."
Yes, there’s a lot of deep stuff about the “antagonism between words and moving images,” but many of us started getting depressed the moment we saw the title of Caleb Crain’s New Yorker article: “Twilight of the Books.”
(If, as may be surmised by the research, you have neither the time nor the inclination to read the whole thing, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: get rid of your TV, although you can keep your PC–but no YouTube.)