Just as you can tell the Oligocene Epoch by all the small saurians running about, and the Ice Age by all the ice lying about, and the Stone Age by the boulder that yon Cro-Magnon man is prying off the cliff onto your head, so there are ways by which you can tell that we are now in the Post-Verbal Epoch.
Item: If you want to get people to come out and hear you, you don’t advertise a speech; you call your offering a “multi-media presentation.” The supposition here is that the mere hearing of words is gruel too thin to sell.
Item: Big Bird and Ernie and Bert have replaced McGuffey in the teaching of children. The implication here, presumably, is that children must be regaled with all that is cute and fun (and many of us post-children, incidentally, are fascinated by that bird and those Muppets) if we expect them to learn anything.
Item: Post-verbal utterances like “Oh wow,” “I mean like,” and “Outta sight” have replaced earlier verbal ways of articulating human responses to various situations.
Item: Audio-visual departments, supplying movie projectors, opaque projectors, overhead projectors, slide projectors, film-strip projectors, TV tapes, and one thing and another, have been called in to assist the lecturers in their job of trying to flag down the attention of undergraduates.
We have, it seems, moved into a post-verbal, post-ratiocinative era. We are told that we must see things, feel them, and be pawed, stroked, or inundated by them. Will a man with a book soon be about as timely a phenomenon as a man with a button-hook or an ox-goad?
There may yet be something to be urged in behalf of the man with the book, before we dissolve the libraries the way Henry VIII did the monasteries.
For a start, books are made up of pages full of ...1
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