I read Reading is Bad for Your Health by Roy Porter and Mark Twain's The First Writing-Machines. Porter's essay was a satirical piece about how reading was harmful and gave real, historical quotes and excerpts that encouraged people not to read.
- Has reading left you with any medical problems?
- Are we afraid of information overload in the same way that they were in the 18th century?
Twain's essay was about his experience of being one of the first people to own a typewriter. He eventually gave it up because it "degraded his character." I think he meant that all the defects annoyed him that he was in an unpleasant mood all the time. He pawned the typewriter off on someone else and his "morals improved" (p. 502). Then typewriter didn't have the same owner for very long. It went through many different sets of hands.
- Do you think Twain and the others gave it away out of frustration? People tend to think that each new technology will be easier than the previous, but sometimes you have to put in the time to learn it. Maybe they felt unintelligent because they couldn't get it to work properly?
- Or maybe they didn't like how the typewriter made them feel? It turned them into a short tempered person?