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Businessweek Archives

Whatcha Reading?


Apparently if you’re a young person, the answer will be not much. Or maybe a blank stare. The Times explores the long term impact that Harry Potter has had on reading, and finds…not much.

Sure, this makes me gnash my teeth. Because personally, I can’t think of many things better than reading a good book. But it’s also not that surprising. A good friend of mine who is a beautiful writer decided in college that instead of writing books, she would write and direct movies.

Why? Because the favorite way of telling stories and morality tales had changed during the 20th century. People submerged themselves in movies to learn about society, figure out big ideas, toy with their take on morality. Oh yeah, and be entertained. Just as, a centurey or so earlier, they had moved from philosophy to fiction.

Now the Internet, social networks, virtual worlds, online games, are replacing movies. We can decry it or not. Say that kids aren’t learning the right lessons or not. But inevitably, each of these mechanisms for telling each other stories does show us a reflection of ourselves and does teach us to contemplate ideas and notions—big and small.

As a side rant, can we please just drop the “Fill in the blank” is dead…language? Here’s a blog that is simply entitled Print is Dead. (It’s just the title I am not so fond of.) But, oh yeah, we keep saying that radio is dead. Not so much. All of these things are changing, some are in decline, some on the rise. But we’re a lot more nuanced, and interesting society than one that simply erases an entire medium.


 
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