Dialogue on an According to Jim rerun:
Gracie, you sound like a broken record.
Mommy, what’s a record?
Children have no idea what a record is. It won’t be long before they ask, “Mommy, what’s a CD?” I mean, isn’t all music digital these days? I’m all about my ipod!
However, this piece in the Columbia Journalism Review gives me pause. Newspapers cutting back — or eliminating — book reviews? Perish the thought!
I wonder, “What would the world be like without books?” Here’s the last graph of the CJR piece:
They know in their bones something newspapers forget at their peril: that without books, indeed, without the news of such books—without literacy—the good society vanishes and barbarism triumphs. I shall never forget overhearing some years ago, on the morning of the first day of the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, a woman asking a UCLA police officer if he expected trouble. He looked at her with surprise and said, “Ma’am, books are like Kryptonite to gangs.” There was more wisdom in that cop’s remark than in a thousand academic monographs on reforming the criminal justice system. What he knew, of course, is what all societies since time immemorial have known: If you want to reduce crime, teach your children to read. Civilization is built on a foundation of books.
Like many people, I do quite a bit of online reading these days. I’m a fan of Audible.com, too.
Even so, I’m surrounded by books — at work, and in every room in my house.
Here’s hoping this conversation never happens:
Honey, I know you took that cookie. I can read you like an open book.
Mommy, what’s a book?
It’s not very funny, is it? Why? Because the thought of digitized ideas isn’t nearly as appealing as carrying around digitized tunes.
Indeed, civilization is built upon a foundation of books, which represent ideas with weight.