Text vs. World Trumps
Hossein Derakhshan

Thank you for this thoughtful piece. Like Steve commented below, I don’t have patience for video links and almost always prefer to read something because I can read much faster than I can watch. I have come to realize, however, that I am a disappearing minority in that respect, even among my friends and family. They don’t read many or most of the many things I send or suggest to them, and I don’t watch many or most of the video links they send or suggest to me.

As much as it frustrates me, their approach is sustainable in daily life and, perhaps, mine is not. Several of my preferred sports websites, for example, now automatically load video that I don’t want to watch. And they do it on almost every page I open. They have decided for me that video is my priority, even though I didn’t demonstrate I wanted to see it, and it slows down everything else. I wrote one website to ask if I could set a preference to avoid video I had not summoned. I got a cheerful non-sequitur reply that, of course, I could stop any video that started to auto-play if I wanted to.

I am not “right” about my preference, but I confess that it bothers me in the way it bothers you. I once read a fascinating science-oriented New Yorker article. It was very long, as they often are. I tried to get my kids to read it. Rolling his eyes, one of them called me over to his computer and said, “Dad, isn’t what you’re talking about just this video?” I watched the four- or five-minute video, and he was right. The video did an extremely good job of covering in five minutes what it probably took me well over half an hour to read.

I believe in the intrinsic value of reading, but that belief may be complementary rather than prescriptive — just as vinyl turntables have returned to supplement our reliance on digital music.