Anyone who really knows me, knows that I’m a pretty big conspiracy theorist. We’re talking Illuminati and HAARP status, okay? For your benefit, I will spare you on all the details of what I think the internet is all about and all of this gun-control hosh-posh and we’ll just move right along. The whole idea of a Kindle or whatever other devices used to read, scares the shit out of me. Not because of people’s fascination with touch-screens and technology, but because of what reading tablets actually mean to achieve. You’ve all read or at least heard of “Fahrenheit 451” by the wonderful Mr. Bradbury? You know, the temperature at which books burn??? Well why burn when you can just erase?
Call it what you like or deny it all you want but billions of dollars a year are pumped in to technology — to steer us in to a complete technologically-dependent society which is lazier than the current (it’s totally possible) one. Everything is attempting to become digital for “our convenience”. Sure, it’s fun and interesting and it’s still new and it’s become a part of everyday life. Smartphones, FaceBook and even blogging. Technology is a major part of most people’s lives and we’re already heavily dependent on it. Music, films and books have all gone digital. Three majorly influential forms of art, completely capable of being erased without a hint as to their existence.
My mother is an avid reader. Always had a book in her hand for as far back as I can remember. She got the new Kindle about 6 months ago and honestly, she hates reading on it (go Mom!) because she likes holding books and turning pages and the smell and all the same nerdy shit I love books for. However, in order to appease my stepfather (who is a penny pincher), she feels she needs to read books on it. When she bought a 99 cent book at Half-Price Books he asked her why she bought it when she had the Kindle. He’s not an asshole or anything, just an Engineer (oooooh).
So now my mother will feel it’s necessary to buy books on her Kindle even though she doesn’t really enjoy reading on it (she mostly plays Words With Friends). The whole situation just seems unusual when you look at it from that perspective, doesn’t it?
Kindles are meant for reading, yes, but they have tons of other features and if you find you don’t enjoy reading on them, it’s a bit drastic to say it was money wasted. But, like most consumers, we need to get that bang for our buck, so, instead of actually buying books in the form that she prefers them, my mother has been pressured in to downloading them. Not that she reads anything entirely worthwhile — she reads crap and she admits it, but that’s not the point. The point is, a book-loving woman who reads at least 3-4 books a month, who picks up old books and smells them, who likes the way the print slants on some pages — she has been pressured in to giving up something she actually LOVES to please someone who has no interest in reading for pleasure, only for squeezing $200 worth of a piece of technology.
And this, I fear is happening under different circumstances throughout households across America. Books, music and films are all cheaper when you download them. Not having a cellphone has become a “dangerous” thing. Our psyche is being tampered with and most people are too dumb to realize it. It doesn’t take a genius to fit the pieces together, it just takes someone willing to accept that they’re part of it. Because once you accept that you’ve been victimized by the whole thing, only then can you actually find footing around it and work forward. It’s taken me about seven years to accept certain things and they were difficult things to accept. There are still plenty of things to come to terms with but my life is not devoted to exposing the real masterminds. Not because I wouldn’t enjoy it but because people aren’t ready for it. Everyone, even my George Bush loving mother knows the government is fucked up and secretive, but it’s just become widely-accepted with no thoughts of action against it, because “that’s just how it is”.
So, like my dear role-model Maude (Harold and Maude), I make small differences in my own, little way. I buy books. Real, bind-cracking books with slanted words and musky smells and bent covers. New, used — doesn’t matter. I don’t watch television, I write, I play my own music and I quit reading the news that purposely clouded my vision of society. I may be bound to my financial responsibilities, but that’s the only place they’ve got me. Everything else is mine.