Thursday, March 22, 2007
It's 2007, you idiot--Decline of Western Civilization, Part IX
So if I close the covers, the content stays on the pages, even without being plugged in?--What follows are two absolutely true stories, both of which happened this week.
My daughter has been accepted in a Jewish high school for next year. The school is now in its fifth year, with only about 100 students and using borrowed space until they can build their own permanent home. The school is well-funded and resources are not lacking. At an orientation meeting a few day ago, they opened the floor to questions and I asked about the library. I know it fills about half of a normal-sized classroom (they haven't had time to build a real one, yet), but was curious about their plans. They responded that eventually they will have a full-sized library but it is not on the top of their list because the kids don't really use books. They would much rather use the Internet for research.
Quick fade to the home front. My daughter (and I am not picking on the little darling) has an assignment about ancient Greece, the mythology and the Greek alphabet. For reasons we will not go into here, she computer-grounded for the time being. Occasionally, we will let her have her iBook either as a reward or to do homework that requires a computer. Last night we had a bit of a tussle because she insisted she needed the computer to research the Greeks. Reluctant to let her have the computer, I pointed out that we have a brand-new set of the World Book Encyclopedia downstairs, so unused that most of the volumes are still wrapped in plastic. I unwrapped the G volume, opened it up to about 20 pages of text and pictures on Greece, including the alphabet and a whole section on mythology, all beautifully laid-out and easy to search. World Book does a really excellent job. I got the look you normally give a large animal that just peed on the rug. "I don't want to read through 20 pages of text," says she. "It is much faster on the Internet." But using books is something you have to learn to do research, says I. Not everything is on the Internet and some of the stuff on the Internet is not very good.
"This is 2007!" says she, stalking away.
Take me now before it gets worse.
Which gives me an excuse to point you to this positively hilarious sketch, I think from Sweden. You will note I'm not the only one peeing on the rug. Have a laugh on me.
[Thank you, Amy]