The Internet's Effects on Reading

Powerful Essays
The Internet's Effects on Reading

NEAdites join me in rejoicing at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) report Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. This report brings into view the dangers of the Internet and foreshadows the impact it and the associated electronic media forms it delivers will have on culture and society. Our only chance is one huge electromagnetic burst that will take it all out from the inside. The act of reading as we traditionally know it is under assault. We must not get caught up in the electronic media and forget that which is important, “A book must be an ice ax to break the seas frozen inside our souls” is Kafka’s battle cry for reading (Solomon 1994). This quote is echoed by Nomi Schwartz who, like Solomon, draws up sides in her argument in favor of reading. For her, there are those who know the joys of reading, and those who do not but should. There must be two sides to every battle. Don’t rush out to join the NEAdites just yet though, traditional reading of literature may be in decline as statistically shown by the NEA report, the narrow focus of the report however fails to consider that change is continuous and inevitable and that these new forms of media actually have the potential to expand reading and enhance participation in activities associated with culture and the arts.

We all have our comfort zones, not surprisingly we are most comfortable with what we known. A stake in the present can rattle change around as a threat to the future. Reports such as this are intriguing because they challenge our safety zone, they bring our fear of change to the surface, prompting us to take action so we don’t loose our sacred now. The NEA report is one of many “crise du jour...

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United States National Endowment for the Arts. (2004, June). Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literaty Reading in America [Research Division Report #46]. Retrieved September 22, 2004, from National Endowment for the Arts:

Vegh, S. (2003). Classifying Forms of Online Activism: The Case of Cyberprotests agains the World Bank. In M. McCaughey & M. D. Ayers (Eds.), Cyperactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice (pp. 73-77). New York, NY: Routledge.

Wood, P. (2004, July 19). Literature at Risk. National Review Online. Retrieved September 20, 2004, from
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