World in Motion

Thinking about it some more, I believe my last post was a bit over the top. Yes, I think reading and literacy are important. No, I don’t think playing video games is a substitute for reading. Something pushed my buttons, which prompted me to write that post. I realize now what those buttons were.

If I see one more blog post or comment, one more newspaper editorial or letter to the editor, one more magazine article or TV commentary about how video games or peer-to-peer filesharing or cell phones in public or text speak is going to cause the downfall of Western civilization, I’m gonna barf. Oh, boo hoo! The world isn’t like it was when you were 7 years old! There’s a reason for that: you’re not 7 years old any more! Time passes, things change. Western civilization has survived phonographs, radio, moving pictures, jazz, rock & roll and hip hop. People have been whining about a decline in literacy since the Great Unwashed Masses got access to literacy, and yet society marches on.

You can embrace change or you can whine about it and watch it pass you by, but you can’t stop it. Frankly, I can’t imagine why you’d want to, but then, I love the World of Tomorrow I live in. Of course, when I was 7 years old, the world looked like this, so you can imagine why I love change. Worrying that a change in library services will cause us to head down “the wrong path”? That I don’t love so much.

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7 thoughts on “World in Motion

  1. Pingback: Blog » Blog Archive » World in Motion

  2. All civilisations will end anyway, so we may as well have fun while it happens…

    The end of civilisation is going to be brought in by bank scandals and food prices rises anyways.

  3. “If I see one more blog post or comment, one more newspaper editorial or letter to the editor, one more magazine article or TV commentary about how video games or peer-to-peer filesharing or cell phones in public or text speak is going to cause the downfall of Western civilization, I’m gonna barf.”

    We probably read different stuff, but I’ve never once heard anything more than tales of irritation or cautionary statements made regarding the technology you’ve just mentioned.

    “Time passes, things change…. People have been whining about a decline in literacy since the Great Unwashed Masses got access to literacy, and yet society marches on.”

    Society marches on, yes. However, the quality of society’s march should be a matter of concern for every thoughtful member of civilation.

    “You can embrace change or you can whine about it and watch it pass you by, but you can’t stop it.”

    Of course things will change, that’s not the issue. What’s at issue is what is being changed and whether the costs outway the benifits. Change for change’s sake is never a good idea.

    “Worrying that a change in library services will cause us to head down “the wrong path”? That I don’t love so much.”

    Information Science is not an innovative field. In general, it is along for the ride. Wherever the winds of money and technology blow, there you’ll find “Information Scientists” trying to get hip to it, fooling themselves into thinking they’re relevant and cutting edge. No longer are libraries institutions who help shape and preserve culture, but now are nothing more than technological waste bins trying desparately to keep up with what the tech corporations are telling them they need.

  4. Joe, I’ve heard it all before. People have been warning of society’s march down a dangerous path, screaming about the death of culture, since long before either of us were born. Video games, p2p filesharing, cell phones, text speak, or what have you–none of that is going to destroy our culture. They’ll change our culture, and maybe in ways that you don’t like. But again, that’s inevitable. There are aspects of our culture that I don’t like, but until I’m Supreme Dictator of All Reality, life will always be like that. There will always be people doing things you and I don’t approve of. But the quality of society’s march being determined by video games? Please.

    And you obviously have a darker view of libraries than I do, because I don’t see libraries as “waste bins” at all. I see libraries actively shaping and preserving and engaging in the culture of today, and I love it. This is why I love being a librarian and why I’m proud to work in public libraries. In general, I love the world we live in, I love our culture, and I love that everything that’s happened in the past has gotten us to this point.

  5. My concern has always been creativity, imagination, and abstraction. Are these lost with so many visual aids? If you were to give a tween who is a non-reader avid gamer Huck Finn, could they read it and follow the story in their head? Otherwise, I’m all for games. 😀 I think a healthy balance is best.

    On the key of civilization downfalls. It seems culture changes rapidly with technology advances (as it always has: can you imagine this same conversation 15000-30000 years ago… those darn kids and their plows refusing to move with the group… they’re breaking up the family…), and it’s just faster now than a lot of people are comfortable with.

    I cannot say American culture is doing very well, but I don’t think that can be blamed specifically on games. In Germany, America’s top story is… Britney. Yup. Where do people eat? McDs… What do people do on Sunday? Football… I don’t see the library contributing to these cultural behaviors. America is, in my opinion, losing its foothold and people are disinterested or ignore it. But who knows? At least we still have libraries. 🙂

  6. Your posts inspired a nice long chat between Jer and I last night. I think we came to a conclusion that we both pretty much agree with you, though personally for me I have such an intense love for books that I do place them and the ability to read them at a slightly higher level. But what we mainly decided is that we are a culture of imbalance. Like PUU said before us, healthy balance is best. Unfortunately, I think most people are imbalanced. I could go on…but I don’t feel like it at the moment! Just wanted to let you know you gave us a great talk.

  7. Wow, that’s great, Stacy! (For those that don’t know, Stacy is my sister-in-law and Jer is my brother.) Thanks for commenting here!

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