Sunday, August 29, 2010

Video Biographies: The new face of the 3R's?

You know you're getting along in years when they start making movies about events that took place in your lifetime. I got such a reality check during a recent sojourn to a local cinema. There were back-to-back trailers of two different movies about the start of the internet. And well, I realized that while I may still vividly remember a time without the worldwide web, to a lot of youngsters that just might seem ridiculous and unimaginable. Fancy that.

In the course of talking with people about their life stories and experiences, conversation inevitably veers toward technology - and the mammoth changes that each new development has brought with it. Some people speak of a time before central heating and cooling, before automobiles became accessible, and before color television made an appearance. Others talk of outhouses, and pickling and preserving fruit and vegetables in anticipation of a long winter.

This got me thinking about the changes that will take place (or have already taken place) in our own lifetimes. What will be the things that we talk about when we reflect on our lives and try to convey a sense of what used to be to our children and grandchildren?

There are bound to be a zillion different things that future generations will gawk at and consider us antiquated for, but one thing that really stands out for me is the act of reading and writing. Or rather, the mediums through which we do so. I grew up at a time when one took notes in class the old-fashioned way - using a paper and pen / pencil. In fact, when I graduated from using a pencil to a real honest-to-goodness ink pen, it was a rite of passage. I still remember my parents gifted me a beautiful, sleek Neptune-blue Parker pen to mark the occasion - turning me into a forever snob when it comes to pens of the ballpoint variety. But I veer away from my point! I grew up at a time when people still wrote... we knew not the modern ways of typing or touch-screens. It was a time when people still read real books - with paper and binding and hardcovers and paperbacks. Not e-books or electronic readers or computer screens. A recent article I read ( cited people predicting the death of physical books as we know them within the next 5 years. I don't look forward to that prospect and suspect that I shall metamorphose into a grumpy old lady stubbornly refusing to give in to the trend when the time comes, but who knows? Am I not here typing away merrily on my trusty notebook while waxing eloquent about the joys of 'real' reading and writing? What amazes me the most however is the ability of time to replace everything familiar with everything new... and that's why sharing stories and life experiences becomes so important.


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