Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reading, writing and the American culture

A fascinating essay in today's New York Times' Styles section by Michelle Slatalla delves into a problem that I believe is becoming endemic among Americans, and poses significant concerns not only for those of us in the media but for our culture as a whole.

She writes about how she's finding it difficult to read books, even though she has read books for most of her life. She is experiencing something that studies have been showing is becoming more and more a problem. As we read, but only in short slivers (such as this post), or watch only parts of comedy shows (SNL skits on YouTube, for example), we are losing the ability to concentrate on longer-form media. It becomes worse with our multi-tasking, such as reading a newspaper, checking email while watching a movie on television (that was me last night). Because we really aren't doing justice to any of the three, we lose attention. And it's the longer-form that needs it the most.

Now that you've read this short form, follow the link and read the longer form of Slatalla's original thought. Then maybe, a whole book. Trust me, you'll feel better in the morning.

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