Kalini PatelMcGinnAP Lang & Comp8 January 2017Call Me, Beep Me, If You Wanna Reach MeIn today’s society, technology controls our every movement. A platform for activism, social media manages to bring back the power to the people with a simple tweet, instagram post, or even a one-word hashtag. Online networking is an appealing form of expression considering “the exchanges are disembodied: We don’t have to face whomever we’re lashing out at” (Bruni 1). However, in Neil Gaiman’s “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming” and Frank Bruni’s “For 2014, Tweet Less, Read More,” the authors discuss the importance of reading “as a prompt for empathy” (Bruni 2). Using repetition, direct speak, analogies, and personal anecdotes, Gaiman and Bruni argue for the creation of a more deliberate, and well-thought conversation throughout society,the the encouragement of today’s youth to to read, and support the libraries in which these books come from. With strong diction, Neil Gaiman conveys the “responsibilities and obligations we have to children, to the adults those children will become, to the world they will find themselves inhabiting (Gaiman 6). Inhibiting repetition, Gaiman explains our obligation to libraries, language, understanding, daydreaming, and much more. He explains how we can not “stealing from the future to pay for today” (Gaiman 6). Gaiman continues to speak directly to his readers, as he prompts them: “Look around you” (Gaiman 7). By doing this, the author puts the reader in his shoes, enabling the reader to see his viewpoint. He explains that everything around them was imagined at one point, just as fiction books are “imagined” by authors. After this move, Gaiman continues with his “obligation” repetition, but taking a more philosophical route, expressing things that would be hard for readers to argue against. For example, “an obligation to make things beautiful” and “an obligation to tell our politicians what we want…. A matter of common humanity” (Gaiman 8). To provide clarity to his readers, Gaiman employs the analogy of libraries to sharks. He explains his “worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them” (Gaiman 5). He expresses knowledge of other forms of books besides hard copies, and does not oppose them, but feels as though “a physical book is like a shark” (Gaiman 5-6). He explains how sharks are prehistoric, “the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is,” just as physical books are “good at being books, and there will always be a place for them” (Gaiman 6). Similarly, Bruni discusses the need for “slow debate” on social media, like a need for a healthier balance in diet. Recently, there’s “been a celebration of slow food..and we’ve proved more receptive to slow TV” (Bruni 2). Using such analogies, the authors relate their points to everyday things that audience can easily grasp. Personal anecdotes establish credibility for authors. If they are included in the things they are arguing for or speaking about, the audience is more likely to understand, and even agree with, their point. Gaiman begins his piece by establishing the fact that he is an established author, and therefore may be biased for the work of fiction. However, this also implies that he has a deeper understanding of literature considering it is “obviously in myhis interest for people to read” (Gaiman 1). Employing humor, Gaiman also mentions how he is “biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a british citizen” (Gaiman 1). Gaiman even mentions how when he was in New York, he heard of correlations between illiteracy and criminality. He continues to solidify his point: “Literate people read fiction,” and fiction is “a gateway drug to reading,” provoking “empathy” (Gaiman 2-3). Similarly, Bruni includes his mother in his piece. She frequently said to him, “‘Count to 10 before you speak'” (Bruni 1). He continues to explain how with a mindset like that, if she were to see the times now, the use of social media, she might roll over in her grave. This anecdote sheds light on a world in which one can take pauses, think before they speak, “consider other viewpoints” (Bruni 2), rather than just being “impulsive” (Bruni 1). Bruni also includes that he himself does a majority of his daily activities online, so he is included in the subject he speaks about. We mustn’t “destroy a child’s love of reading,” “We need our children to get onto the reading ladder” (Gaiman 3). Reading is a different world, “you’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed” (Gaiman 5). Reading provides you to with the “skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real” (Gaiman 6). Reading is important, and we mustn’t “closeing the gates that should be open” (Gaiman 6). Reading makes “you consider other viewpoints without allowing for the incessant interjection and exaltation of your own” (Bruni 2). Reading allows you to take a step back, healthier and happier, not jump the gun. Even Albert Einstein said to let the children read, and how can you argue with Albert Einstein (Gaiman 8)? Read before you act.
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