Sunday, November 6, 2011
"Reader" by Justin Taylor
In issue six of Canteen, there is a short prose piece by Justin Taylor titled "Reader." The author starts off by stating that the reading is not a group activity, comparing it to attending a sporting event or seeing a concert. Instead, he asserts, "the act of reading is one of deep. fulfilling, isolation." I had never really thought about comparing these different activities but I can definitely say I agree with him.
He goes on to discuss how the importance of literature in society today has drastically depleted from previous times, proclaiming that: "We live in a period where the value of self-knowledge has been undermined, debased, and perhaps abandoned; when the very notion of the self is held in profound suspicion." This is, unfortunately, a harsh reality of today. The majority of people of our generation spend their time on social networking sites, which only contributes to an increase in narcissism on a global scale. It is a sad time, not only for the economy, as Taylor points out, but also for the arts, which have become far less important to us.
Taylor also discusses the importance of private discourse in leading to "productive public discourse amongst individuals." which is certainly true and relates directly to the act of reading a piece of literature. This decrease of interest in literature is disheartening, particularly for someone who cares about it as much as I do, and as much as most of you probably do as well. Hopefully there will be a revival and people will realize that spending time on your computer facilitating false relationships will never replace the person to person interaction that literature instigates.