It seems like only yesterday you’d see children out in the castle courtyard, pretending to be knights and socializing with their peers. Alas, no more! Ever since the invention of the printing press, our children have lost interest in anything other than these damn “book” things. I don’t wish to sound backward, but Gutenberg’s creation is the worst thing to happen to civilization since Copernicus lied about the sun.
Each morning, when I leave my cottage, the scenes I witness could be taken straight from the End of Days. Villagers passing you in the street with their noses in books; couples on the backs of potato carts, staring expressionlessly into books. I even see people reading while riding horsescareening blindly into cottages, mowing down peasants at random—it should be illegal!
Townsfolk seem excited about the advent of accessible literature, but I think that these people must not have kids. All mine does now is hole up in his bedroom, consuming “tales.” When he wakes up, his book is the first thing he reaches for. He doesn’t talk; he barely pays attention to a beheading in the town square. Recently, I’ve even caught him looking at his mother and me differently, as if in some disturbing way he’s imagining the words a book would use to describe us. This technology is altering the psychology of my child!
In the thirteen-hundreds, we had healthy Christian hobbies, like jousting and stalking wild boar. We quested, sang songs, killed the French, hunted for food, pillaged French villages, and brought honor to England by destroying the bastard country of France. But now? I swear, sometimes these kids aren’t even reading anything—they’re just addicted to turning pages. I can’t wait until they grow up and realize how much of their adolescence they wasted on “content” when they could have spent that time killing Frenchmen.
As for my child, he flinches when addressed, and grows like a weed near any light source amenable to reading. I told him that books are not allowed at dinner, but I can tell he’s riffling through them beneath the table. Worse, I sense that he’s becoming obsessed with other people’s lives and depressed with his own. Compared with the lives of all these heroes and noblemen he’s reading about, how could he not feel his mother and I are, as he puts it, “fucking peasants”?
How is this generation supposed to fight a war? I shudder to think of them all on the battlefield, squinting at the enemy. I attended a duel recently in which the two combatants were so nearsighted that they had to depend on their hearing to engage one another. Once our foes hear that our nation is defended by a bunch of armchair-physiqued literati, our pathetic country will fall!
I ask you, what was wrong with scrolls? Sure, they were written on highly flammable papyrus, and, yes, the amount of expensive monk-labor required to transcribe a single scroll virtually insured that only the landed gentry would ever be able to collect them—but they were nice. These days, people don’t even have the patience to look through a scroll, now that you can just reference a “page” (ugh!) and find the appropriate “chapter” (what?!). These books are ruining the attention spans of our youth!
This is my last-ditch effort to get my son’s attention. David? I wrote this for you. Are you reading it? Please talk to me. Please go outside. Please see the world. Renounce books so that you may educate yourself. Become a man with your own life experiences, instead of a carefully curated collection of “stories” provided to you by total strangers!
And, if you don’t, I swear to God I will take your books and burn them.
Your loving father,