An Open Letter to The Huffington Post

The difference between Entertainment and Life & Style

Our ancient, pre-literate ancestors fought an uphill battle. There was sickness, cold, predators, hunger, and a lot of pain and death. And that was all before 9am.

language1Imagine early Homo Sapiens huddled together in a cave to keep warm and stay dry, avoiding whatever beasties were outside ready to gnaw on their skulls. You get the picture? It was brutal. It’s a miracle we are still here. Well, almost. We did have a few advantages over the rest of the environment.

After all, maybe this was always our destiny.

Homo Sapiens had more to offer than our tree-swinging cousins, and a little more curiosity about the world. We invented language. We learned to talk and to communicate symbolically.

Watch out world. Suddenly, humans were a force to be reckoned with. After learning to speak and write, we were no longer solo creatures. We were a collective instrument, thinking and sharing ideas. Building civilizations and inventing.

Many anthropologists and researchers agree that we are humans because we invented a symbolic language. It’s likely the one major difference that drove us to create art and culture and the scientific method, rather than remaining content picking bugs out of our fur.

That’s a lot of preamble. Even I recognize that. So, the obvious question is how does the Huffington Post fit into this discussion?

I have one humble request.language2

Like so many people around the world, I love your website. Some of it is a little click-baity. But, this is the internet. You gotta get it where you can get it.

There is one slight oversight regarding your website you can likely “fix” in a few minutes. Granted, if you want to “fix” it.

From time to time, I read your section on “Books”. Your book reviews are often quite good with topics other websites miss. Naturally, I want to find book reviews in your “Life & Style” section, because books are obviously stylish and life-giving.

But, sadly, I find “Books” in your “Entertainment” category. Like, reading is something we consume to shun the boredom, like watching reality TV. It reminds me more of disposable movie culture. You watch bad, schlocky films one time then forget about them forever. Some directors actually create art, intending for their babies to be viewed dozens and dozens of times.

Reading can be entertaining. We’ve all turned a few unengaging book pages on a plane or bus to simply pass the time. But there’s so much more to reading.

Books are how we grow, mentally and spiritually. Yet, we are becoming more addicted to other attractive media forms. Purchasing a book buys you a ticket into a club only a few language3belong to; the readers. People who think consuming long form narratives, both fiction and non, is important to their existence. We are in awe how this one invention, printing symbols on paper, can transform our minds, entire societies, and the world.

Books are life. If humans hadn’t invented language and writing, we would not be here today. We wouldn’t have been able to tell our friends about the pending mammoth attack, or to communicate where food was to be found. We would’ve been overtaken by another animal on this planet as the dominant species.

But, none of this happened because we can talk and write.

Dear Huffington Post, this is why books are so much more than entertainment. They are life. They are the style in which we have become Homo Sapiens.

Thanks for the consideration,

the best,

Mr. Vanishing Paperweight


About Blog Boss

Jim MacKenzie and Sarah Giavedoni are the creators of the blogs Stuff Monsters Like, the Incredible Vanishing Paperweight, and more. When they are not blogging, they are devoted to managing the Asheville Blogger Society, watching movies, running a completely unrelated nonprofit, and making money at their paid employment.
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