Good literature educates and elevates; we take books for granted (Letters) – masslive.com

I recently returned from New York City where I had the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and view the Medici exhibit. As an aside, the Met had a vaccine mandate, masks were required, and everyone felt safe and comfortable. One of the recurring symbols utilized by the Renaissance painters in their depictions of famous people was the book. Invariably, whether it be a Medici, Dante, or someone else, the subject was holding a book. Books are a universal representation in Renaissance art of knowledge and learning often referring to power and educated status. Books were rather rare, but what they contained was precious. Collections and libraries were expensive, and only the wealthy could afford them. Knowledge was prized.
Today, we take books for granted. Our reading time has been supplanted by scrolling time. We spend hours scrolling through a never ending succession of posts, feeds, and ads. The technical term is doom scrolling. The content is a mile wide, and an inch deep. We have come to learn that social media is full of misinformation and disinformation. It has the power to distort reality. It has the ability to make people, especially young girls, feel bad about themselves. Good literature educates and elevates. Social media makes people dumb and dumber. The next time you take a picture of yourself for Instagram, maybe you should be holding a book.
Paul Chiampa, East Longmeadow
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