On The Superiority Of Print Media

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

I was inspired to reflect on this by paradox over at the left coaster.

However, Mr. President, I’ve heard your pronouncements and speeches before, and even though I watch television frequently I did not take on the asinine presumption of that ludicrous medium, I have a memory, I forget very little. The past is indeed relevant in evaluating your proposals, oh yes, and what I’ve repeatedly seen is a great speech to start good politics and then total failure as no leadership fight evolves to make it happen.

My minor point is-

Television and Radio are a serial medium of communication.  Even as you are processing the information they provide, new information is coming in all the time and I find myself frequently sitting there after an hour or a day of mind numbing novocaine saying to myself-

What the fuck?

What did I just see?

Seriously, I can’t remember.  It washes over me and through me with no point of reference, bobbing up and down in the middle of a vast ocean like Spalding Gray in Swimming to Cambodia.

Print on the other hand is random access.

No only can you absorb it at your own pace, but you can go back and review in light of new information and confirm what you think is true.

Blogging is kind of a hybrid.  You can review it if you can find it and good luck with that.

The perfect form is a book, condensed and easy to carry.  Indexed with page numbers.

News papers are much more messy.  Not only does the ink rub off on your hands, if you collect too many of them you’re in danger of suffocating under a collapsing pile of the past.


Skip to comment form

  1. When did cable tv start taking off the 80’s…. well my Mom thought it was a waste of money so we never had it. The radio was always on the CBC toronto station.

    I lost interest in newspapers when I moved to the Memphis area because our local is lame. And I realised I could read any paper I wanted online. But whenever I go home a Sunday ritual with either my mother or my best friend is to pour through a few newspapers on Sunday morning. I miss the ritual of it.

    I always disliked radio call in shows of the right or left few hosts worth listening to. There is a good local station here run on donations and volunteers that is not affiliated with public radio. Great variety of music. I like to listen to BBC radio on the way into work. Yes… there can be processing issues but the rythmn of say BBC radio or public radio is pretty easy to digest.

    • Edger on January 22, 2010 at 01:08
  2. Also, I believe it is the most effective means of long-term education and propaganda. (Look at the success of Marx and the Bible, to take two obvious examples.)

    But at the same time (and there is no need to explain this to bloggers, who make use of this daily), with personal computers and the internet, everything is becoming archived, so that all media can be reviewed easily.

    Also, since it takes less money to produce print on paper, it is less likely to be controlled by monied interests (yes, I know, naive!) than a television station, which costs millions to run. In contrast, an author or a small cooperative can publish books or newspapers on a shoestring.

    And where TV is prone to comforting sound bites, print is more likely to be used to convey fully formed ideas, including those outside the prevailing ideology.

    And I just like books and newspapers better!

  3. when I go to bed, I will curl up around a book, or the most recent copy of The New Yorker.  My NYT is for reading on a bus or a train…or when I’m bored at my local pub…and as for electronic media?

    They just are not for curling up with.  I’ll listen to Temple Public Radio (WRTI) overnight (great jazz until 6 a.m., then great classical music)…but can’t imagine trying to read from a Kindle or even a laptop while in bed.

  4. Can’t vouch for its authenticity (it’s from the internet, ya know)

    Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.

                                                                                        –Thomas Jefferson

  5. you can go back and visit them and both enjoy the familar and learn something new. I did a re-read a book this year ( The Hermit by Eugene Ionesco) that I picked up when I was 25. Twenty years later it still had meaning but in a slightly different way. I often find out when I go backto a book who I was and how I have changed and how I have remained the same.

  6. when I saw this. I created an account so I could say :YES !

    The key to it is IME, invested mental effort. When you read, your mind must take the symbols, turn them into words, string them together, and understand them. TV requires no such effort, it just rolls on. Also, if you didn’t get a sentence or paragraph you can read it again.

    I learned more about the Civil War from reading Grant’s memoirs than I did from Ken Burns’ PBS thing, and I sat through it twice.

    • TMC on January 22, 2010 at 18:53

    I have delivered is the NYT, not that anyone reads it but it is the best absorbent paper for lining the cat litter box. Books, I still have a stack from my “to read while I’m recuperating on sabbatical”. I did read all but the last of the Harry Potter series and Shock Doctrine which I occasionally return to for reference. Right now my news is coming from the Internet due to lack of any other source.

  7. who used to give great speeches too. However, Obama seems to have more going on in his brain.

  8. Would be people’s recommended reading lists, and lists of books they are intending to read.

Comments have been disabled.