Maybe I'm overreacting, but it seems like the standard response among people who think they're too smart for a discussion is to just tell the people they're discussing/arguing with to “go read a book” and that's their finishing statement. Done. You can't come back from that. It's over. Read that there book. Are people saying this because it's a meme (well...) or because they really think books are all that?
Maybe I am just biased because I'm offended on three levels: One, as a writer on a digital-exclusive platform, I don't get to have my writings printed into a book. Two, as a writer about VIDEOGAMES who takes the position that videogames are the best medium. And three, people sorta tell me to “go read a book” occasionally. Like I'm an unread nitwit. Psh.
|The logic here is that reading a book makes you more civilised. That doesn't make any sense.|
So yeah, I'm going to tear apart this idiotic catchphrase and you're welcome to link to this article anytime you see someone say “go read a book” or if they, in fact, say that to you. It even has headers and anchor HTML so you can link to a specific part.
...And don't you dare say “go read a book” to anyone.
There are a few fallacies at play here. Let's explore.
The Quality Fallacy
People have this delusional belief that just because it's published on a piece of paper, it's suddenly better than the stuff written on the Internet, spoken through television, or communicated through a videogame.
But we can all point to examples where that just is not true. There are plenty of horribly-written books out there, ranging from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway to Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton. Of course, there are some great books out there. Would those great books become less great if they were never turned into a book?
I know about the struggles that people wanting to break into the book-writing business have to go through. It's a shame that garbage is published by people with good connections, while the unknowns with some great writing go unheard. “Go read a book” is submission to the book-publishing industry's (nefarious) practices.
It parallels the videogame industry in a lot of ways, actually, like the whole physical distribution vs. digital distribution thing. While I'm undoubtedly a physical videogame kind of guy, what “go read a book” proponents would suggest is that somehow the actual gameplay is different depending on how you obtain the game. It's not. The coding is the same.
It's The Better Medium Fallacy
Why not read books instead of playing videogames? This suggests there is something inherently better about reading books.
|What the hell are you doing with a gaming set up? Don't you know books are better?|
AND WHAT ABOUT TIMMY?!!? POOR TIMMY HAS BEEN OUTSIDE FOR DAYS WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO PLAY WITH HIM!
I touched on this point about public perception when I was writing about the loss of physical instruction manuals in favour of digital ones. And, no, I'm not being a hypocrite here.
“Just looking like you're reading something makes you look better than if it looks like you're playing a videogame (even if you're just reading something on the game system).”While I do think physical instruction books are better than digital ones, it's not because they are published booklets, though there are small advantages to those. (That said, while digital things can make you have Computer Vision Syndrome, there is also eyestrain associated with printed books.) My reasoning is that printed instruction manuals are given greater exposure to the end-user and thus given supply-side pressure to be better products.
But yeah, there is this widespread public perception that reading books are somehow more “noble” than doing something with a screen, I guess. These are likely the same people who consider playing board games to be a “family activity” but would never describe videogames in those terms. Reading a book doesn't make you a smarter or better person than anyone else.
|According to this guy, white children are more likely to prefer videogames than reading books.|
According to a 2011 Pew Research Center study, white people are more likely to read more books per year than black or Hispanic people.
Unique Experience Fallacy
If someone is telling you to stop what you're doing now and go read a book, then that means they're saying that your current mode of operation is lacking in the unique experiences that only books can provide. According to that Pew Research Center study from the caption immediately above, the summary of why people read is this:
“The joy of reading to people comes from entertainment, enjoyment, education, enrichment, escape, and the way it eases life in a stressful world.”Videogames can provide all that and more. Not every videogame does do all those things at once, but not every book does, either. But the fact is, there have been hundreds if not thousands of games that hit every one of those checkboxes, and many people will tell you those same reasons for why they play games.
There just is not any unique experience found in reading books that can't be in games, but there are unique experiences in games that cannot be found in books. That said, books might be more effective at just outlining information (though not necessarily at having you RETAIN information) than videogames would be. But this isn't purely a books vs. videogames discussion, it's a books vs. everything else discussion.
|Black Lives Matter protesters are dumb and don't make sense no matter the topic. But she thinks she's the arbiter of logic.|
For outlining information, then there are non-book methods of doing it that are just as valid and perhaps more accessible. Such as resources like KoopaTV!
And hey, you can learn about proper logic via non-book resources as well. If you learned about proper logic from any medium, you'll be able to recognise that “Go read a book” isn't proper logic. So choose your favourite medium and learn logic.
Just don't use the book that this “@AngryBlackLady” used.
If you ARE going to go read a book, check out Samantha Lienhard's fiction novellas! They have awful covers, but there's another saying out there that says, “don't judge a book by its cover” that makes a lot more sense than “go read a book.” FULL DISCLOSURE: Ludwig doesn't even read books. That said, he's interested in reading Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal, which he'd get from the library.
Ludwig actually did review a book here in KoopaTV. It was Pokémon Gold/Silver: Pathways to Adventure.
Do manga count as books? If so, Ludwig also reviewed Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Official Casebook: Vol. 1: The Phoenix Wright Files.
Ludwig wants videogames to be completely as effective or more as books are in all aspects, including raising children on classic literature. He wants children's videogames in the same vein as classic children's books.
Ludwig has confirmed that he's started reading The Art of the Deal.