So, I was looking through my blog posts for the last nine months or so, and the topic breakdown goes as such:  

Blogs about writing: 1%

Blogs where I shamelessly pimp A) my book B) me reading somewhere: 4%

Blogs about cartoons:  38%

Blogs about Tony Jaa:  Whatever number is left (author’s note: I could not locate the calculator program on his computer)

I decided I would shake things up today, and do a little social commentary, because dammit, this is my blog, and I have deep thoughts, and if I’m sufficiently indignant I might even get linked on reddit or metafilter (author’s note: consider that a hint). 

The issue:  a school in Boston got rid of all of the books in their library. 

My initial reaction:  What the f? 

My reaction after I read the article: Technology is depressing. 

I don’t know if you guys are actually going to click over and read the article, but basically the school thinks the books are taking up too much room, so they bought some kindles, threw up a couple flat screens so kids could display stuff from the internet (i.e. fantasy football, facebook, and youtube videos of dudes getting hit in the pills with wiffle balls) and a freaking coffee bar and turned the place into a “learning center.”  

I have some thoughts on this, and some of them may very well be deep. 

My Thoughts

1.  A coffee bar?  Seriously?  What the hell kind of school is this?  Where I went to high school all we got were bagels and these deceptively gross cookies the size of a Frisbee (author’s note: I still get in arguments with my friends about the “giant cookie,” but seeing as I have a web presence and they don’t, you're just gonna have to take my word for it.  The giant cookie sucked.  Hard.  Square yardage should not factor in the equation for the deliciousness of a cookie).

2.  I don’t think the people at the school are evil or anything, and yeah, it’s probably a huge pain in the ass to store a bunch of books, but still…this seems a little premature.  Maybe in five or ten years every kid will have a Kindle, or one of those freaky computer implants in their brains like in “Feed” by MT Anderson (wicked book, by the way) but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case right now.  So, I’m guessing that the “learning center” is going to be less of a place where kids read so much as “the room where we get lattes and watch youtube videos of dudes getting hit in the pills with wiffle balls on the sick ass flat screen TVs.”
Guess what happens in this video? 
Sure, everybody’s got a cell phone and there’s probably some app or another to read books off it, but let’s just slow down and think about this for a second.  What do kids do with their cell phones? 

A.  Talk/text with their friends about boys or Twilight or stickers or whatever (author’s note: I'm not entirely sure what kids talk about). 

B.  Watch youtube videos of dudes getting hit in the pills with wiffle balls. 

C.  Play video games. 

And I mean legitimately awesome video games.  Back when I was in high school, there was a bowling game for the TI 82 calculator that was just a bunch of black dots on a green screen, and I’d estimate that a solid sixty percent of my total classroom time was spent playing that thing (author’s note: my grades reflected this.  Was it worth it?  Totally).  So…I’m pretty sure you can go ahead and nudge that number up a bit with the games that are out there now.

The conclusion:  If I had a book that I could also use to A) get on the internet B) talk to my friends C) watch movies and D) play Oregon Trail, there is no way in hell that I would actually use the thing to read with.  And I like books.  This is what I do for a living.  I was even an English major, okay?  I really, really like books.   

I just like Oregon Trail, too. 
Oregon Trail is easy.  Oregon Trail is fun.  Oregon Trail never makes my brain hurt.  

And sometimes, books aren’t easy.  Sometimes they aren’t fun.  Quite often they make my brain hurt.  Hell, I still have no idea what William Faulkner was talking about, and I’ve written quite a few papers about the guy.

It’s not fair to make Faulkner compete against Oregon Trail, because Faulkner is never going to win. 

And that’s a bummer.  Because I don’t think that playing Oregon Trailer or calculator bowling made me a better person.  

But I’m pretty sure that struggling through Faulkner did. 
9/6/2009 01:34:55 am

This post = awesome. And I agree. As to the library with no books, I would respond in the same way I imagine kids today would after reading Faulkner: OMG_WTF?

And I too love Oregon Trail.

9/9/2009 02:26:51 am

That library is ridonkulous.
How could a kid look up the spelling of ridonkulous (as obviously I did not) in the dictionary at this library when all the screens are being used for gaming?
Seriously, it's bs.

9/9/2009 02:28:37 am

My blogs are probably 1-2% about writing too. Oops. BUT two of my WIPs are music related so my music posts will all make sense once those are published. ;)

9/9/2009 01:47:47 pm

you know, there are so many paintings and sculpture and shit taking up space too. why can't we just look at those on the computer, too?

9/9/2009 02:51:02 pm


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