The article below specifically refers to reading and how people claim the internet and television has caused an illiterate society which no longer reads. I think the subject goes far beyond that.
I’m as guilty as the next person of waxing nostalgic about “the good old days.” I still think the love children of my youth were headed in the right direction with their Make Love, Not War signs. I love reading historical novels and often wish there were time machines so I could visit other times and places.
But when I really stop to think about it, there were no good old days. Do we really want to go back to the fifties, often held up as idyllic, forgetting the McCarthyism and nuclear paranoia? The twenties may have had happy flappers but it also had prohibition, and no equal rights for women or blacks. Any decade you point to, you can find both good and bad things we left behind.
Even when we humans have the right idea (wouldn’t the world really be a better place if we had all evolved into flower children?) tons of wrong ideas happen at the same time. Can you name a time in the past when everything was better off than we are today? If you can, does everyone else feel the same way about it?
Remember the good old days when everyone read really good books, like, maybe in the post-war years when everyone appreciated a good use of the semi-colon? Everyone’s favorite book was by Faulkner or Woolf or Roth. We were a civilized civilization. This was before the Internet and cable television, and so people had these, like, wholly different desires and attention spans. They just craved, craved, craved the erudition and cultivation of our literary kings and queens…..read more