The Progress Train has Left the Building

Printing Press

I see it all the time.  A new piece of technology comes along and the doom and gloom people start a ruckus.  The new thing will ruin culture as we know it and mourning for the end of an era ensues. 

 Remember when 8-tracks were replaced by cassette tapes?  I sure do.  I was a teenager asking for a stereo for Christmas.  “Please Mom,” I asked.  “Get me one that will drop at least 3 albums and I want one of those new cassette players because they are going to stop making 8-track tapes.”  My Mom, thinking it was ridiculous that the music people would even consider stopping production on the fabulous 8-track, found a great deal on really nice stereo system.  Fortunately, the price of an 8-track cartridge went down considerably; unfortunately, no new music was released on the device.  I listened to my one 8-track tape, Loverboy – Get Lucky, a lot. Thank goodness I could still play my old Journey, Styx, and Fleetwood Mac albums. 

It happened in the field of photography with the Instamatic camera and now the digital revolution is sending old school photographers screaming and pulling at their hair.  In the beginning when digital was still expensive, I heard friends say,” I’ll never give up film.”  But how can film compete with a camera that gives instant results and if the shot is blurry, you just hit delete and shoot again. 

Now it’s happening in the publishing world.  E-books and the birth of the Kindle and the unfortunately named IPad are sending old school publishers and writers into a tizzy.  Print media is going to disappear!  Anyone can post a blog!  It will be the death of true literature!  Come on people, it’s called progress.  Jump on the train or get left behind. 

I for one still love to hold a book in my hand but have taken to reading the news online. I still love to sit down on a Saturday with the big weekend edition and read the funny papers and I hope that doesn’t go away anytime soon.  But progress is as progress does.  Things change.

Check an example of the Gutenberg Bible in digital splendor at the following link:

Hard copy is on display at The Ransom Center, University of Texas