Being a reader, it’s hard not to come across quotes such as these, and being a critical thinker, it is hard to not be irked by this simplistic view of reading. They seem to promote the idea that readers are superior to others, simply because they read. One quote implicitly implies, that people who take many selfies must be ‘dumb’, and in order to make them ‘smarter’ they should be required to read books, as if all books make you smart and all the selfie taking makes you, or shows that you are dumb.
The other quote goes on to equate reading to learning, laughing and even living. It’s shocking to see how superior an activity, some people consider reading to be, that they see everything else as a way of ‘not-living’, because why else would they say that not reading was equal to not living? This statement is insulting to people who use other mediums of media, such as video games, movies, TV shows, comics, podcasts, etc. in lieu of books, in this age of information and innovation, for both entertainment and learning.
Take my brother for example, who once wrote a beautiful and provocative flash fiction piece of a soldier not being able to shoot the ‘enemy soldier’, but instead helping the ‘enemy’. He’s not a ‘reader’, but doesn’t this show that ‘non-readers’ are capable too? Simply reading by itself isn’t something superior; I have learnt more from Doctor Who, a TV show, than I have from The Old Man and The Sea, by Ernest Hemingway and isn’t that what matters? We should emphasize the fact that we learn not necessarily how we learn.
I am not trying to say that reading is not an amazing phenomena, but that it does not necessarily overpower other ways of 'living'/feeling/learning. And that simply because the medium of a book has been used to convey something, does not necessarily make it better. There are bad books out there and brilliant movies too. Yes the books tend to be better than the movies, but don't forget that in those cases it's the movies being adapted from the books and such adaptations have a lower chance of being better than the originals considering so much of the book is usually left out. The reverse is much more rare: I haven't seen many movies being adapted into books. Therefore there is much less room for comparison. Also different stories tend to demand different mediums, thus bringing in even more subjectivity into the picture. There seems to be no unbiased way to say that books are simply the best medium for anything simply by the virtue of being books.
First Published at: http://edict.in/wp/?p=999
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