Thursday, February 3
This Digital World
I didn't want a smart phone, but I have to admit it changed my life. I remember the day Jonathan presented me with my pink iPhone. I recoiled because I didn't want to be one of those people who "uh-huhed" their way through conversations because they just couldn't bear to part with their beloved smart phone for just a few moments. I didn't want that blue thing sticking out of my head either. No, I didn't want to be that person. Sadly, I find myself becoming that person at times. In this day and age, we can't sit still for even a moment. We are rarely alone with our thoughts. I fear that idle time is going the way of the book, magazine, CD, DVD and the stores that sell them. I received a shock today when I read the headline in the Memphis Daily News that said Blockbuster was pulling out of the Memphis market. No more video stores. Wow. Not even 24 hours before I read this, I stood in front of the Starbucks at Prescott and Poplar and stared in disbelief at the now-vacant Bookstar book store. No more book store. Wow. Nine years ago, I started my journalism degree with the hope that someday I would be a magazine writer. Somewhere along the line, that dream metamorphosed into something else. It was a good thing, because magazines are dropping like flies. Only the most outrageous gossip mags can survive. These staples of our younger lives are disappearing in a blink of an eye, and what will we be left with? Our iPhones, iPads and various forms of digital media...all of which are complete nothingness if you really think about it. They are a bunch of data files on your hard drive. That's it. Without those physical books, movies and music, so much is lost. The art -- covers, photos, design -- the things that prick the creative juices in our minds... These things are gone. The personal collections of great music, literature and classic movies will slowly disappear as well. Sure, there will always be die-hard collectors, but the average person won't have The White Album, St. Pepper and Rubber Soul on vinyl or CD. It may sound superficial, but I don't want these things to become relics or novelties. Books, magazines, music and movies were the 20th century, and a world without them is not nearly as lovely. I'm not so sad about the mega-chains like Blockbuster, but I worry about the mom-and-pop stores. How can they survive if the big guys can't? We must buy the real stuff....records, magazines, CDs, DVDs, books. We must fill our shelves and minds with their reality, their art and their stories. We must share them, and hold on to them. Real is pretty, and real is good.