Tag Archives: cracked.com

The Funny Side to the E-book Debate

As the sales of e-books soar past print books without a second glance, I feel the need to bring some laughter to this heavy issue. I will not be stating any argument on the debate, as I feel there is merit to both print and digital books. I will, however, give you an example of the downsides to e-books only Cracked.com would bring to our attention.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-unexpected-downsides-switch-to-e-books/

What happens when you take a well-known comedic site and combine it with the debate of oh the next 50 years or so? The monstrosity of an article shown above. It details the satirical and true downsides to e-books coming to power.

The first downside, you ask? Where will assassins hold their guns? With security and surveillance becoming more high tech, assassins and hit men must become more creative in hiding their weaponry.  So why not just hide it in your coat? Metal detectors solve that problem outright and as the author of the article goes through the strangest places to hide a gun, we come across books as the cliched place to hide a gun. If e-books take over and make books obsolete (don’t think it will happen for a while) then carrying one around will be odd and out of place, making guns in books undesirable for killers.

The list continues to include mundane tasks like holding up a wobbly table and doodling in textbooks. While people might not find ultimate value in these odd reasons, the root of them is the same. What happens if we change the entire facet of books? Just like phones when they became mobile, the culture began to change to create something people 50 years ago wouldn’t recognize. The mobile phone example is perfect because while most people use their cell phones,  land lines are still prominently used. The influx of cell phone eventually leveled out and became consistent while land lines were simply used less. To me, this seems like a possible example future for books. As print books have been such a long standing form in the medium, I believe they will hold strong to the people who need them. At the same time, there isn’t anything wrong with using both for different reasons and keeping the history of the medium alive.

One of the most interesting downsides on the list is the use of ancient texts and mystical books in movies and games. Many movie plots and even whole genres rely on the use of books that either have a magical quality or important information only found in old books. There would be no plot to The NeverEnding Story without the old, mysterious book. If you replaced the mysterious, almost magical book with a Kindle, the movie wouldn’t have the magic in it.  Where would the old witch find her potion recipes or the young sorcerer learn his trade. For the fantasy genre, it almost solely relies on the use of these ancient books in the plot to suck us in to the story. Would we take those out and replace them with e-books as most technological updates have required of movies? I don’t know, but I sure don’t want to live in a world where I’d have to find out.

We move on in the list to the use of books in opening secret passages and the sanitation of bathroom reads. One of the things people don’t understand about new technology is how it truly affects our perception of the world and changes our culture. While some people prefer to read harlequin books in the bathroom rather than take them out into the world, e-readers require you to have all your books in one place. This isn’t ideal for the bathroom reader, but neither is by two Kindles just so you can read on the John.

Speaking of changing culture, the most shocking realization of e-books rising above print books is book burning. What has plagued controversial books for decades? The threat (or not) of book burning. Contrary to Fahrenheit 451, replacing paper books would make book burning less appealing. Would you rather burn a bunch of 5 dollars books or burn a $200 electronic device that doesn’t actually hold the only copy of the book. It make the statement of book burning completely useless.

For authors like Mark Twain and J.K. Rowling (as well as librarians and bibliophiles) this could be a relief. However, the point of book burning is not such a terrible thing, is it? Does it stand to reason that a book, which can rile the masses to burn its pages is important? Without this option, how would we know that books hold a power above just the pages? If a book on an e-reader is too controversial, you would just get rid of it. You wouldn’t burn your Nook. The only indication that a book was too controversial would be the peer reviews on the app and Oprah’s Book Club wouldn’t read it. Although I’m obviously against burning books (unless I’m stranded and have a bunch of Twilight books), there is something powerful in that action to stand against someone’s view of the world. Though many people would find it a blessing to be rid of this act, I find that the world would be a less honest place if radicals couldn’t burn books and provoke people to read them more.

Either way, there are upsides and comical downsides to e-books, but this much is true. There is no way for us to know the results (positive or negative) of this new technology until it has had more time to prosper. Print books have had hundreds of years of head start. Give e-books time. They may have their hindrances, but everything in the world does. Cracked as always gives you a relaxed way of looking at a heated, sensitive issue.

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If I Could Write For Cracked.com

I am a HUGE fan of the comedic article site Cracked.com. So much that I wish all of my witty writing talent could go to that site and get paid for it. An ideal job, I think so. Sadly, they don’t work as a normal company hiring people based on needs. You sign up for a forum and hope they ask you to write. So this is an article I wrote for Cracked that I wish they would publish on their site. 🙂

 

LANE RAGE

What is the deal with people who switch lanes all the time? Is it a competition to pass cars if it isn’t an old grandma or oversized vehicle driving under the speed limit?

I was driving in my car today going the allowed 5 miles above the speed limit when a large pick-up truck zoomed past me. He crossed over 30 seconds later only to be 10 feet in front of me. We ended up stuck at the same light with me only seconds behind his car. So, what was the point of passing me if we got to a stopping point at the same time?

I am convinced that changing lines is an unconscious psychological compulsion for a driver on the road (mostly the highway) to change lanes and pass any person they can to be first. It’s not about going to speed limit or going a little faster. It’s about being ahead of everyone else.  I became angry at the driver in the truck. How dare he deem my driving speed unworthy to follow behind? I’m obeying the laws of the road and he should respect that. Where did this person have to be at 8 am that they could not wait a few seconds to follow a car to the same destination? Answer…the supermarket. Going the supermarket is not a logical reason for the driver to gain a few seconds/feet ahead.

What was there an emergency and they needed extra Ho-Ho’s at work?

Must get chocolate frosted cakes before boss gets to work and fires me!

 

See? There is no real reason someone should pass on a road with a total of 3 cars going the speed limit.

On the other hand, I completely understand where this need to be ahead comes from. As you’re driving along the highway you come up to a relatively slow driver. The driver is going to speed limit, but they are just too close for you to continue going the speed limit or above. You easily merge into the left lane and accelerate to pass them. Good. Now how does it feel? Do you feel like you have accomplished something by getting ahead of this random driver? Of course you do because humans are instinctually competitive and unconsciously need to prove themselves more competent than the person next to us.

This need to be better than the guy next to you goes all the way back to neanderthals. The urge to bring in a bigger kill than the guy in the next cave to impress a potential mate is ingrained in us from the beginning of our kind. But how did we manage to evolve into conscious, logical beings and not get rid of this primal rage to be better than one another? The answer is that we’re all just savage animals that need to get in line ahead of the next ape.

So, next time you’re in your car passing someone going the same speed as you are, take a second to think. Is a real reason to pass them or are you just soothing the raging beast within?

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