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.
Long time reader of your blog, John.ReplyDelete
You are 100% correct in how Amazon used the Kindle to grab in the people who were on the fence, or Luddites, as you put it, with the first Kindle. I've been watching good tech get commercialized, and "pimped" out for generations. I KNEW the Kindle was going to go the way of the dodo bird. It was only a matter of TIME.
Society has officially turned into one BIG reality show, what with people "tweeting", and updating their precious Fakebook statuses over every menial little thing that happens to them. There's no more objective questions anymore. People don't talk to each other anymore. I remember a time when you HAD to talk to people or you were considered an outcast or retarded. Now if you talk to someone, they think you're a rapist of some sort. I guess me, you, and a handful of other people who read this blog are the only REAL ones left. Pity, I thought the human race would have evolved beyond texting, and "IMing" but this is the last stop for mankind. LOL
Welcome to 1984, John.
Awesome use of Newspeak, Will!ReplyDelete
My guess is that next year's version of the Kindle will not include the Reading Books option- and no one will notice, or care.ReplyDelete
Oh, yeah, I totally agree. Books are a thing of the past. All about MOVIES and TV that do NOT concern anyone.Delete
I infinitely prefer made-of-paper analog books. I have an easier time reading an analog book than a digital one, for some reason, and I just prefer the feel and weight of it in my hands. *shrugs* Tweech's own. I'm a shameless Luddite in this area and I can see I'll continue to have no shame about being way behind the curve and hopelessly out-of-date. The last thing anyone needs, or should want, is yet another wireless device from which to do the mindless business of imaginary import. What, smartphones, cell phones, netbooks, iPads, and wifi aren't enough ways to engage in banalities with others? Eesh!ReplyDelete
When I have children, I will be the Uncool Mom. I will be the hopelessly backward parent who's content to be an upgrade (or three) behind everyone else because what I have meets my needs just fine, and my kids will suffer because of that. I'll insist they read something other than the social network updates from their friends and that they're fluent in English as well as txt (or whatever the digital dialect is called then). I'd like to say they won't get calculators to do their math homework until at least eighth or ninth grade, but the amount of homework I'm hearing elementary kids have these days blows my mind, so maybe they will need calculators just to get the work done (which is disturbing for several reasons).
The data entry guy I used to be doesn't much care for these blasted things because I remember something that Amazon would rather I didn't: paper books will outlast electronic records. Simply put, the volatility of the data on these gizmos gives me the willies.ReplyDelete
I love my Kindle, but I love books, too. As a history teacher, I remind my kids that old books ( I have several Horatio Algers that are more than 100 years old) are a treasure trove of information- many of them were given as holiday presents and are dedicated and dated, there are notes in the margins, etc.- and I worry about all the photos being taken on electronic devices which are never printed onto paper.Delete