Three years ago, I read a Boston Globe article praising the Kindle as the device which just might lead to a Renaissance of Reading. For an entire generation of children, it made reading fun again- being able to carry around a personal library in the palm of your hand made you cool and the object of envy- which meant it made READING cool, too. Kids were downloading the Harry Potter series and Goosebumps and whatever it is kids read these days, and a glimmer of light broke through the clouds. Briefly.
So much for the Renaissance. First, the Kindle introduced a touch screen. No big deal- it's what the kids like these days. Then the color screen was introduced, and for me, this was the first warning bell. Why do books need color? Good books create the color in the mind of the reader.
I don't need to go through this step by awful step, do I? Let's skip to what is currently the basement, because that's where Kindle has taken us with it's beautiful little idea.
Look what the kids are doing with their Kindles now- they are playing brainless, pointless race car games. They are watching cartoons. They are downloading movies. In short- it's not a book anymore. It's a fucking television.
I thought the idea was to get kids AWAY from this mindless junk. I mean, we've already got cell phones and laptops and tablets for this crap. As it turns out, Amazon didn't have as much faith in the intelligence of the public as we might have been lead to believe, three years ago. Turns out, downloading books was just the hook to reign in the Luddites who were thinking that no technology was immune from debasement. "Hey look, here's the Kindle!" Amazon shouted from the mountaintop. "It encourages literacy! You'll love it! And your kids will love it- which means they'll love reading, and they'll grow up to have functioning, active, inquisitive brains, unlike those kids who play video games and watch tv! Get a Kindle- do it for your kids!"
Now, my Second Generation Kindle, with it's buttons and virtual ink on grey background and its icky books sure looks retrograde compared to the pretty colors and images and awesome sound of the Kindle Fire (or the Kindle Fire HG- I think that's what the latest one is. Can you use it to update your Facebook page, call and text friends, or get directions to the concert? Do I really want to know?)
If you listen very closely, I think the word "reading" is actually mentioned in this commercial, but it's hardly central to the advertising campaign for the new Kindle. Amazon is done selling good-tasting veggies (and teaching kids that veggies CAN taste good.) Here's a big bag of colorful candy, children. Never mind exercising your brain- here's another way to keep yourself glued to trash.
Yep, the Boys on the Board of Amazon decided somewhere down the road that while it was nice being praised as part of the solution for a while, the real money is in being part of the problem.