Choose Your Time Wisely: a Comparison of “in Praise of Slowness” and “Old Father Time Becomes a Terror”

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April 11, 2011
Choose Your Time Wisely: A Comparison of “In Praise of Slowness” and “Old Father Time Becomes a Terror”
The clock is ticking no matter what people do. Some people choose to be busier than others, as well as some people do prefer do the path less travelled. Carl Honore’s “In Praise of Slowness” and Richard Tomkins “Old Father Time Becomes a Terror”, each author shows a genuine concern for the fast paced society. Carl Honore discusses the praise of slowness through a very bias window and shows his personal experiences with slowing down and realizing how fast life goes, expressing a high interest for people to see things though his eyes. Richard Tomkins portrays a broader view of the issues of today’s world in comparison to the positive life of another era, leaving himself out. In a comparison of the two articles, I will be displaying how each author presents the problems, their causes, and solutions in their own way. Although both Tomkins and Honore believe modern day people are too rushed, there are differences in the way they portray the problems in their articles. Carl Honore begins his essay by describing “New York-it is” as a serious illness “whose symptoms included edginess, impulsiveness, impatience, aggressiveness, quick, fast movements,” as if these “symptoms” can kill you. He further expresses his concern for the growing disease as a “world-wide epidemic” to show that this problem has become so out of control that it is no longer a disease that belongs to New York alone (203). Honore displays the need for speed as “an unfulfilling and unsatisfying way to live”, much like the feeling one would have when coming down from a high, yet people continue to do everything with “more speed” like it is an addiction. He also explains how people can “sense” this way of living is not good, as if the ideas are not fully there and people barely get it (203-4). Honore gives a negative vibe when he describes “our cult of speed”, which shows he is bias to the act of slowness. People tend to think negatively toward cults because they portray unusual ideas that are not generally accepted as normal. The “significant evidence” that Honore claims to have against the drawbacks of speed; “Americans now work more hours than the Japanese, and Europeans; hurried parents now read one-minute bedtime stories to their children,” is nothing more than the use of the word “now” to show that things have not always been this way. This shows the drawbacks as a burden to people, since they do not have the same amount of time they used to. When Honore talks about the realization of becoming a pointless race, he portrays it as a “moment, a wake-up call” which sounds like it is a one time occurrence, and people do not ever think about this it just hits them all at once like a ton of bricks. Honore shows his personal experience of reading to his kids as not fun or enjoyable while explaining that he was “whizzing my way through The Cat in The Hat, skipping a line here, a paragraph there, sometimes a whole page.” The trappings of the “speed tunnel” people are stuck in is displayed here since people can not even take enough time out of their own lives to fully read a simple book like The Cat in The Hat to their children. While rushing in an airport in Rome, Honore himself cannot even enjoy the surroundings of the ancient city, instead he is concerned with business and getting on the next flight, which is precisely the slowness he describes people to be lacking. The only thing that had the ability to take his mind away from all the hustle and bustle was an article to save time, which he has no problem taking away from his kids and their “bedtime ritual” (204). “Another victim of our speed culture is food: so many of our meals are pit-stops, so much of our food is processed, spewed out by an industrial food-chain that it doesn’t even taste like food anymore,” says Honore, which shows that meals are no longer a slow process and people just...
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