A debate has been raging at Writer’s Bone HQ for most of the day. Before you read Dave’s evisceration of Matt, check out his original post, as well as Matt’s original response, and today’s installment of The Boneyard. Be sure to also read Matt’s rebuttal.
The advent of the Internet has changed a great many things. Many people no longer go to busy and infuriating malls and retails stores. You can watch almost any movie or television shows right on your tiny little handheld screen. You don't have to get the messy ink of a newspaper on your fingers, and the newspaper refreshes every hour bring you new, pertinent, and factual updates.
Right? Maybe. Or maybe the Internet has just made things easier, not better. Maybe digital content is just simpler, not more progressive. Change doesn't mean progress, it never has. The Internet is here to stay, clearly. But it doesn't mean we need to switch everything over to digital; in fact, that's probably the most damaging thing we can do. In my upcoming post, I'll break down one of the very many reasons why converting our whole lives to the digital world is killing some aspects of our culture: vinyl. Don't roll your eyes, because vinyl is coming back and coming back huge. Why? More on that to come.
Most people spend a large amount of time on the Internet, reading and watching. What are they reading and watching? If you commute to work, the next time you board your bus or train or subway, look at how many people are "plugged" in. Examine them for a second. Examine the guy on his 20th (!) session of “Temple Run.” Eavesdrop on how many people one person is texting and emailing and "communicating" with at one time. Reading teaches you how to be alone, but at least you know you're alone, you're not tricking yourself into thinking your not just looking at a phone.
E-books didn’t kill print, greed killed print. Do you honestly think Amazon gives two shits about the spread of human written word? Or did they just dump all their money into something new and cheap? And the Kindle was born. How does all this bode for writers?!
Not well. Like everything else on the Internet, it's all quantity over quality. Let's pump out eight stories in five hours with partial information rather than waiting five hours to get the facts right and publish something coherent. What's talent when you have 100 amateurs who are willing to be paid nothing to do the job one professional writer could do? Don't be sold something you don't need. Don't acquiesce because it's easier. Convenience has never been the right answer, for anything. Ever. Seriously, look it up on Wikipedia...
Maybe dragging yourself to the mall is a good thing. Maybe it teaches you how to tolerate people who don't share your beliefs or manners. Maybe that's how you spend time with a friend or parent. Maybe the girl sitting next to you sees the book cover of your book and, dare I say, a conversations starts. What if that downtime you spend on your phone or tablet lets you think more about the outside world, about the women with a cane who could use a seat more than you, and about the girl crying on the phone in the seat behind you would might have a much better day if you just offered her the tissue in your backpack instead of continuing to "deny" pictures of girls on Tinder. Literature has always been about holding a mirror to the world. But it's hard to be critical when you convince yourself the reflection looks so damn good.
The "if you can't beat them, join them," mentality has always been a defeatist one, and always will be.
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