Tonight I had what I am calling a “Penty moment” on my blog. For those who do not know who Arthur Penty was. He was, along with Belloc, Chesterton, and Fr. Vincent McNabb, an advocate of distributism (of which I will not get into on this thread). He was also one of those who did not always see technologial/mechanical advances a progress. Hense, this is why I am saying I had a “Penty moment” with the following blog entry:
If you read the news these days, you see that a number of news papers and magazines are either going out of business or are going completely electronic. Part of this is due to their slanted viewpoints and the fact that the information is hours/days/weeks old by the time one reads the paper or magazine. However, there is more going on here and that is the decline, and possible demise, of the print media in favor of the electronic media.
And it is not only the news media that is being affected. It has started to creep into literature to. Whether it is Sony’s Reader, Amazon’s Kindle, or even audio books, many books are now available electronically. However, I do not see this as progress for a couple of reason.
First, this limits one’s sources of literature to those companies that can afford to, or are allowed to sell their products in the formats readable by these devices. This is dangerous since censorship could easily creep into the selection of what gets publishes based on viewpoint or that one dares to also publish with the competitor’s proprietary format. It also smacks of global capitalism since devices for reading literature will be controlled by a few companies due to the proprietary nature of their devices
Secondly, for me, I think it is easier to read books when it is on paper and not on a screen. It is easier to look up footnotes/endnotes or when something in a previous section is referenced. You can also highlight and make notes in the books which you cannot do with a electronic file.
Finally, and this applies specifically to audio books, I see this specific media as a threat to literacy. One no longer has to be able to read to be able to “read” certain books. However, why learn to read when you can “listen” to the books. Of course, this limits one’s selection of “reading” material since the majority of books are not and will never be on audio books. Even then, many audio books are “abridged” which means you are not getting the whole book. In some cases, like driving or as a reinforcement tool, audio books are a good thing but these are few and far between.
Whether it be newspapers, magazine, or books, there is a beginning of decline in the print media. Some are much further than others. Whether this, will this lead to the demise of the print media is another thing all together. I see books as the last to go and, hopefully, not for a long time.
Progress for progress sake is not progress at all.