Malcolm Gladwell has an interesting review of Steven Johnson’s “Everything Bad is Good for You.” It’s another nail in the coffin for all those cultural conservatives on the Left and the Right who love to tell their grand stories about the decline of all things in our stupid modern age.
Johnson… imagine[s] what cultural critics might have said had video games been invented hundreds of years ago, and only recently had something called the book been marketed aggressively to children:
Reading books chronically understimulates the senses. Unlike the longstanding tradition of gameplaying—which engages the child in a vivid, three-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical sound-scapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements—books are simply a barren string of words on the page. . . .
Books are also tragically isolating. …
But perhaps the most dangerous property of these books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path. You can’t control their narratives in any fashion—you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you.