So I am sitting in the Union Square Barnes and Noble Starbucks at the moment and I have come upon an interesting mirror circumstance when I look up into the walls that are covered with artistic renderings of notable Western authors (there is one from the East-Tagore). What do we have: Orwell, Nabokov, Joyce, Shelly, Wilde, Twain, Shaw, Dickinson, and as I previously noted: Tagore.
But the mirror occurrence as we are all sitting here drinking tea and metaphorically shifting through papers. Key word is metaphorically because we shift through documents on a thin laptop instead of physical papers. You would think the modern day equivalent would be authors on their laptops sipping from Kombucha filled plastic cups with green straws sprouting out. But let’s be honest who really thinks about authors these days? While we are all constantly scrolling down Facebook feeds and watching videos, binge watching Netflix original series, flipping through Snapchat stories, who honestly has time to open a book and read it? Even schools are beginning to acclimate themselves to this new reality of a commerce-centric world where praise for innovative and technocentric entrepreneurs is as ever present as immutable truths such as the rise of artificial intelligence and climate change.
Whatever happened to the appreciation for literary art? Did it die out with our warmth towards strangers as smartphones have replaced our need to force interactions with others? Or is it still alive through other multimedia forms aided by smartphone applications and social media news feeds? If it is the latter then the democratization of the form has severely crippled its quality. In any case we must force a new intelligence on constituents of the form. The short videos must become more intelligent in their production. The quality of content must force us to think whether it be through laughter or some other reaction that leads to an emotional reaction. This production of mindless 6-12 second video shots that try so hard for a cheap laugh must be replaced by more complex video shots that force us to examine ourselves and the human condition. That is how we continue the tradition of the literary elites. This is how we maintain the quality of the painting of the human condition through the written form.
Because no one reads anymore, our writers need to create damn good video content.