Handwringing about ‘the Death of Reading’?

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Photo Credit  Used under a CC licence

Let me preface what I am about to say with this self-statement: I’m not a hand-wringer or a pearl-clutcher.

But when it comes to reading, it seems like my entire life people have been talking about how the literacy of young people is on the decline. I have moments when I think it might actually be true: maybe young people are a bunch of non-reading ninnies who can barely spell.

Then I come to my senses and remember that complaining about young people is a favourite pastime for middle-aged folks everywhere and everytime. I think there are probably thousand-year-old manuscripts in which monks bitch about how kids today aren’t as literate as they once were, and their illumination skills are terrible.

So when an email popped up in my inbox with the following text, I rolled my eyes. Rolled ’em way, waaay back:

The person wrote:

Recently I was introduced to the abbreviation DRTL, and I realized that this new language represents not just a kind of shorthand, but also a new philosophy of written language.  This particular construct, DRTL, seems to me to symbolize the new philosophy:

                     DRTL = Didn’t Read, Too Long

So here’s what had my eyeballs spinning in their sockets . . . people have been skipping some or all of the reading available to them since there have been people who could read. Let’s face it, many of us humans are lazy and easily bored. If there is a way to cut corners, we will find it.

So from my point of view, DRTL doesn’t reflect a change in reading habits, it reflects an uptick in honesty. Surely that’s a good thing?

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