Just after posting the last entry, I read David Brooks column in the NYTimes. Titled, “The Medium Is the Medium,” Brooks notes that children who read real books do better than those who do not. Just living in a house with a library leads to improved performance at school. There seems to be something about a “book” that somehow adds to intellectual development.
Here’s his bottom line:
> . . . [T]he literary world is still better [than the Internet] at helping you become cultivated, mastering significant things of lasting import.”
> Right now, the literary world is better at encouraging this kind of identity. The Internet culture may produce better conversationalists, but the literary culture still produces better students. . . It’s better at distinguishing the important from the unimportant, and making the important more prestigious.
Same basic message as Judt’s and mine. Words matter, and the medium through we we acquire and use them matters. All this “wonderful” new technology hasn’t yet and may never do as good a job of cultivating the human beings we have the potential to grow into.

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