It’s been a while since anyone’s walked down the street and found someone reciting The Iliad in classic oral tradition. It’s not hard to tell why: it’s irrelevant today. Not the story of The Iliad, but the oral tradition of it. Today we have things like podcasts and movies, we don’t need people telling the story like that. One thing has remained constant though, and that’s books.
It’s easy for someone to say that the art of poetry is dead, and in many ways it is, but it still lives strongly today. It simply evolved. Modern poetry is consumed through song lyrics. There truly is some lyrics out there that read like beautiful poetry and are only intensified by the music backing them. Now, I’m not saying that the newest 2Chainz rap is poetry, but there are better examples.
The same goes for theater. Chances are at some point students will be forced to read Shakespeare or any other playwright. And now all the playwrights haven’t simply died and gone away, they just evolved into screenwriters. One of the great improvements of technology is the ability to be lazy. Before, plays would have to be scheduled for specific times on certain days. If you missed the play for whatever reason it was gone. But with television and movies you can record the video or purchase it to watch later. Of course there’s still a few plays out on broadway, same thing with how there’s still a few poets out there, but the majority of them have moved to their evolved mediums.
That leaves the issue of books. Books really have been around for a long time. I don’t need to explain how old books are or how crucial they’ve been to the development of society. For the most part books have remained constant in the way they are presented. The only real way to challenge that is with the development of E-books, which isn’t exactly the evolution of a new medium but simply a new way to present the same thing. So will anything replace books?
I get skeptical when I hear someone saying books are dead. Books have become a crucial part of our society, if not already a part of our human nature. That’s why books are not dead, at least not for now. I can’t see anything coming along that would fully replace books as a source of entertainment. Nothing else is able to allow the imagination to set its own stage and create its own environment quite like a book does. Even if less people are reading, or how big the other forms of entertainment are, books will live as long as humans live.