April 9, 2008

A zero narrative culture….

Posted in Why is it like that? at 8:37 pm by qballkubal

Sounds like a beautiful and interesting title, doesn’t it? The title is indeed interesting but unfortunately not in the beautiful way. In fact, it has a negative and decadent connotation. A zero narrative culture is a situation in one society where its people don’t give respect to books, information, and the activity of reading as pleasure. Instead, as some analysts argue, it is a society where people prefer video toys and internet hits to real reading.

To give more understanding about this issue, let me put it this way, in an interesting question: How many of your friends and colleagues (this could include yourself) claim reading as one of their life-style, not just merely another hobby? Compare the answer with this question: How many of your friends and colleagues enjoy watching movies and tv series rather than reading a book or news paper (be it printed or online)? The answer might vary but in general I believe that the answer for the second question will be much more than the first one.

Okay, I now that this issue might be a little old and has been discussed over and over again. However, I believe that this is still interesting and important to discuss because of the impacts that it might give to our society. Bear in mind that such situation not only occurs in our beloved Indonesia, but also in the mighty America. Check out the quotation from Playboy Magazine US April Edition 2008(You don’t think that Playboy is all about naked ladies, do you?):

The United States Today is not an illiterate nation. It is an increasingly an aliterate nation, in which books, magazines, and newspaper are being killed not by censors but by an indifferent public………..2007 report by National Endowment for The Arts, 40 percent of adults from the ages 25 to 44 and nearly half of Americans from the ages 18 to 24 never-I repeat, never-read books for pleasure. Not literary classics, not bodice-ripper romances, not mysteries, not poetry, not biographies or histories, not self-help books-not even the Bible. More than half of adults, in what is supposedly the most religious nation in the Western world, cannot name the four Gospels. It seems neither the good book nor naughty books can turn nonreaders into readers.”

If reading is being stereotyped as the main activity of geek and nerd people, I wouldn’t mind being into a part of that kind of society because I could not imagine what my life is gonna be without those thick-paper kind of things. In fact, I believe that being able to read as much information as you can will attract your opposite sex friend. Nobody wants a hunk or bootylicious chick with an airhead for sure (except if what you’re looking for is sex, perhaps).

Reading is boring and I sometimes feel that too. But why such tedious activity is important? Reading can be considered as the indicators for the society to retain certain knowledge and information about the world outside them. Indeed, it may not contribute to the real benefit of one life. It also may not increase your salary, but such ability is important in the long term. How somebody can pay your salary if he or she doesn’t have the knowledge to run the business. How you can enjoy (or make sure your child) can enjoy watching movie and tv series if nobody has the knowledge in the art of making movie. How then, you can have a good design and well-built of house and car if nobody is interested in reading engineering or architecture book?

Get my point?

Source: Jacoby, S. 2008. Zero Narrative Nation. Playboy Magazine US April Edition 2008.

Picture from nftsfilm.co.uk

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