On Monday I was reading Richard Gilbert’s Narrative and his recent post on the evils of PowerPoint, and was reminded of a comment I read while browsing posts on Facebook: The commenter was a professional editor who was told by a reader about the difficulty of reading in blocks of text rather than in bullet points — even a four-sentence paragraph was difficult.
First, reading that comment made me wonder if that reader’s head would explode reading The New Yorker. Second, it made me wonder if reading something more than bullet-pointed text is a dreadful chore for most people. And if it is a chore, then what’s the fate of stories?
Stories are necessary for memory, as Diane Ackerman explains in An Alchemy of Mind, and memory is necessary for survival, cultural and otherwise. If stories are becoming bullet-points, then what happens to memory?