In Catapult, Kristen Cardozo writes about the written word in the Age of Trump.
Some might say that studying the humanities in the twenty-first century was already a questionable choice before 2016 brought with it the vivid sight of a dystopian future running headlong to embrace us. The future is STEM, we were told. To major in English, many said, was to look backward, probably with unforgivable nostalgia, to a time when the written word was tangible, metal and ink warping paper. A man on the train, upon learning that I study Victorian literature, once told me, “No one has the attention span for that anymore. No one reads.”
But this is untrue. We read all the time. I read for grad school, and the rest of the time I’m reading on Twitter, or seeing texts on my phone, or devouring takes hot, cool, and tepid. Most people I know are similarly engaged with the written word, all day, every day. The STEM-dominated future we were promised is an open maw that needs content—words—and words, in turn, need interpretation and study. Words are only of use when they can be understood.
I’ve written about our era as both hyperlexic and hyperscribal, dominated by the written word in speed and quantities unthinkable at any other moment in human history.
So we better learn to work with text, huh? Study humanities. Save the world.
As always, READ THE WHOLE THING. Especially at the end where Cardozo talks about the use of passive voice and abstract verbs by SS officers describing murdering Jews.