Friday, May 25, 2012

Zine review: The Aardvark #3

The Aardvark #3
full size / 20 pp $2
Manual Publications
PO Box 771
College Park MD 20740

I don’t know what the scientific evidence is, however in the past two decades I have subjectively observed a decline in not only the quantity of people who read for enjoyment or education, but also the quality of the reading process itself. People’s attention spans have been subverted by television and the internet, e-readers, ipads, and an endless array of gadgetry.

The tactile and tangible experience of reading books is a joy, one that humans have connected with for hundreds of years. Deep reading involves attention, thought, and reflection with minimal distraction. Deep reading is an essential ability that shapes critical thinking and comprehension skills.

Art Vark’s newsletter / zine The Aardvark is an affirming, literate publication that asks us to be mindful of the relationship between reading and technology, and our own reading habits and choices. The Aardvark is a celebration of words on paper. Corporate CEOs like Steve Jobs (RIP) and whomever is the CEO of Amazon would have us abandon the ship of books and paper like passengers fleeing the Titanic. The problem is: corporate technocrats haven’t thought about the societal implications of such a rash act. They have only thought about billions in profits to be gleaned from digital culture consumers.

The Aardvark moves fluently through philosophical discussions and introduces the reader to some thought provoking, overlooked tomes. There is more substance within its 20 pages than I’ve read in some full length books. If you care about the act of reading, and the future of reading, I propose immersing yourself in these pages.

I recognize the irony of cheerleading for the world of paper on a blog. Yet I seek balance – this blog is also a paper zine and even a radio show. I do 95% of my reading away from a screen, and will always choose paper over an “e-anything”. As we plunge deeper into the digital age, paper zines like The Aardvark may become archaic, or they may not – they may become the impetus for thoughtful discourse that moves us in a direction of equilibrium and reason.

1 comment:

JS said...

Thanks for the kind words about the Aardvark. I appreciate it.