Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ready-thinky

AB Chaput, a fine fellow in many ways despite his penchant for eagle feathers at Mass, has some useful things to say about the problems being created by the new media.

The Archbishop highlighted the impact of technology on the media, and its effect on consumers. "America was born as a nation of readers," he says, pointing to The Federalist Papers as examples of news at its best. "Unfortunately, if [The Federalist Papers] appeared today, few of us might read them," he said.

"The reason is simple," he continued. "Reading requires discipline and mental effort. But for the past 50 years our culture has been shifting away from the printed word to visual communications, which are much more inclined to sensation and passive consumption. This has consequences. When a print culture dies, the ideas, institutions and even habits of public behavior built on that culture begin to weaken."

This technological change has impacted our ability to think about the news, argued Chaput. Visual media, he says, "thrives on brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety and feelings." But "thinking takes time."

At least, I assume they're useful.

I didn't have time to read the whole thing.