Are Screens Making Books So Boring That Kids Won't Bother To Read Them?


“I remember reading novels because the life within them was more exciting, the characters more attractive, the freedom more exhilarating than anything in the reality around me, which seemed stultifying, parochial and enclosed. To a kid reading Pynchon on a Galaxy 6 this summer, it has to compete with Snapchat and Tinder, plus movies, games and music…. Life itself has become more immersive.
— I have been thinking about this a lot lately. You hear all the stories of kids not wanting to learn to drive because they no longer need to physically travel somewhere to get separation; friends and communities and other worlds altogether are all on the phones they carry with them like an extra appendage. These stories are almost certainly exaggerated, but they speak to a larger concern that our surfeit of virtual opportunity and diversion will drain our youth of the greatest incentive for self-improvement there is: the desire to get away from parents and the general boredom of typical teenage subsistence. What do you do when you don’t have “there’s nothing to do” as an animating principle? What is life like when ennui and the angst of repeating the same eventless existence every day aren’t all that’s available? Without those things, what will happen to our kids? They will be eaten by robots, that’s what. I’m telling you, everything is a scam set up by the robots so that eventually they can eat us. You laugh at me now but when those terrible metal teeth are clamping down on the bodies of everyone you hold dear you’ll wish you had listened to me. You fools.