The first time I heard someone say they would never read a book on a screen, my thoughts weren’t really about how many people still had the habit of reading, but the experience of doing something in a new environment, however resistant to changes for several years. In school, we learn about the acclaimed authors in literature, but we also dismiss them really fast: Bandeira wasn’t Eliot, but if we actually understood poets, nobody would need to judge them, let alone compare Guimarães Rosa with William Shakespeare. What’s actually worth remembering is how language can transform by attempting to describe, in any style or format, any genre or culture. The information society makes us less likely to pay attention to text, but ironically, we only make progress when we produce it. Under this circumstance, how are we going to assess what matters to read, and more importantly, who? The answer, it seems, is not related to what’s been written or not, regardless of quantity or quality, but where we’re consuming a product, which is certainly a troubling reality for many creative people around the world.
It’s more important than ever to say where you got your information, not just because of the rising trends in journalism, object of discussion in threads and comment sections, but also on live broadcasts. While masses of people call for freedom of expression, institutions need accuracy and categorization in order to guarantee a democratic communication landscape. In other words, you can’t just say anything you want, but in case you’re curious about the reasons, suppose that you can and see what happens when you try. We keep our effort and hope to make people understand us, in our problems and our perspective on how to solve them. One could suggest it doesn’t matter, most of the time, that the problem is actually solved, as long as you talk about it. That means to say that, for example, if I address a social issue on the internet, all I’m doing is writing something, not changing how stuff works at all. Of course, there are other questions: who you’re saying it to makes a hell of a difference, and you’re going to be choosing your words more carefully if you start thinking that your audience is the whole world. Ideally, that’s what people do, but a new standard is coming up: if you act like you don’t care, people will like you, because you’re encouraging someone to say what they really think. Albeit true to some extent, it should be relevant to say being authentic is not being irresponsible, which means I can disagree, but I won’t attack you for that – because my actions and my words influence other people.
A lot of people relate more to video than text, in a complex evolution of the media, both in consumption and production levels. The standards really have changed, but a lot of them stay. We should probably be giving the support necessary for more people to produce content, which is the word for everything now, from gym sweat to street protests. Sorting out what matters and what doesn’t has become too difficult, and that’s why machines are helping us. Artists all over have been struggling to make themes visible and stay healthy in the process, businesses spend day and night chasing innovation and the working class, this category that seems to scare everyone, doesn’t even have the time to stop what they’re doing to enjoy a moment of relaxation. In general, we don’t have the time or the money to build knowledge. So maybe it makes sense to have fun, at least while we can, and thank the people who brought us a meaningful moment, whatever the type, mentioning them as we navigate the world of media, culture and art.