I Thought About Writing Something But Then I Realized Nobody Reads.

Paul Cantor
Nov 1, 2018 · 3 min read

I thought about writing something but then I realized nobody reads, or at least they don’t go in the internet to read. They look at things, things that they need to look at, because they need a cupcake recipe or want to buy a SodaStream or can’t remember who was in that movie that one time with Kevin Bacon.

And so they go online, they take their phone from their pocket, if it is not already in their hand, keeping them company, keeping them comfortable, and they look up the thing and the thing becomes real and they buy that thing or they learn that thing and now the reason to read is no more, they have done what they needed to do and that is it.

I thought about writing something but then I realized nobody reads, because it is easier to watch television, the Netflixes and Amazons of the world keeping us fed with a steady diet of streaming content. Shows about witches and warlocks and war rooms and whatever else you can think of. The anxieties of middle age and divorce, pregnancy, you name it, they have it.

Want a documentary about some random thing you thought one night at 3 AM as you lie awake in your bed panicked about the life you wanted but aren’t living because you spent your time watching television instead of chasing your dreams— there’s a 10-episode docu-series on that!

I thought about writing something but then I realized nobody reads, because there are podcasts, so many podcasts, more podcasts than there are people, the podcast being the new business card — like, hey I’m Matt and I’ve got a podcast, have you heard of my podcast, you should totally be on my podcast! It’s just a podcast where we talk to interesting people and you seem interesting, you don’t read but you seem interesting,come on my podcast.

I thought about writing something but then I realized nobody reads, nobody reads because they can go on Wikipedia and learn the thing you spent your entire life specializing in, the thing you were going to write about it, they can learn it all in five minutes, the pre-Arabic history of Saudi Arabia, the cuisine of the indigenous tribes of Australia, the whole lot of it, everything, by just clicking a link, and if they get bored of that, they can watch a YouTube tutorial, one of the thousands, and it’s great, having that, it really is.

I thought about writing something but then I realized nobody reads, because they are all busy writing their own things, their own thoughts — here, check out my important, extremely well-informed, completely and totally-researched, scientifically-proven and academically-challenged opinion! You want to know what I have to say, don’t you, I have a lot to say, and I am going to type it, I am going to publish it, and you are going to read it, or at least I think you are, until you don’t, and I realize too, that nobody reads.

I thought about writing something but then I realized nobody reads. Nobody reads because it is too hard, it is too hard to sit still, to concentrate, to spend more than five minutes consuming someone else’s thoughts, to have words on a page command you to think, to imagine, to dream. It is too hard, these things, much too hard, and why bother, really, when you can turn on the television or stare at your phone, open an app, look there are pictures, there’s a photo of a baby monkey climbing on someone’s head and ooh look there’s that friend eating their avocado toast and drinking their cappuccino which looks like every cappuccino that has ever been made, ever, but go ahead, take that picture and post that picture, nobody has ever seen a picture like that before. Isn’t this so much more fun than reading, I’d bet it is.

I thought about writing something —anything! — but then I realized nobody reads.


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Paul Cantor

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Writer, Editor and Music Producer. Creative work for: Apple, Instagram, VICE, Warner Brothers, Verizon, Universal, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Hennessy, others.