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I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else.I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.
Much of what I am going to describe next has been covered elsewhere, although none of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has really grasped the implications of what seems to be occurring.
To begin: Kid’s You Tube is definitely and markedly weird. Last year, there were a number of articles posted about the Surprise Egg craze.
It’s not that Berry isn’t correct to be desperately concerned about these issues, and about the loss of old ways and fine workmanship in general.
You can be right there alongside him, at least on the big points, while still being driven to madness by repetition. Like Henry David Thoreau, one of his touchstone influences, Berry went back to the land — in his case, a farm in Henry County, Ky. Unlike Thoreau, he lacks a certain crucial insouciance.
He complains about “gleaming, odorless” bathrooms and fancy bassboats and “TV jingles of soup and soap.” In one early essay, he comes out against weather forecasts (! Berry deplores “the so-called ballroom dancing” because couples, in ring dancing, used to all be together.
He writes, mystifyingly, about the moon launch: “Americans have gone to the moon as they came to the frontiers of the New World: with their minds very much upon getting there, very little upon what might be involved in there.” (Roger, Houston, we’ve deployed the sectional.)Hippies cared too much about their hair and took their drugs wrong. He admires some aspects of our current food culture, especially the increasing awareness of where our ingredients come from and the concurrent boom in organic farming.
As someone who grew up on the internet, I credit it as one of the most important influences on who I am today.
I had a computer with internet access in my bedroom from the age of 13.
It is impossible to imagine Berry writing, as did Thoreau, “Do not be too moral.
You may cheat yourself out of much life so.” It’s almost impossible to imagine him, like Jefferson, another of his touchstone influences, really enjoying his wine.