Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts
We are spending countless hours online and less time outside. Is modern day technology really that harmful? Keyboards and mice have become a portal to a new dimension; a new way of communicating with each other without even making a sound. Are we ruining our own lives and the lives of others by constantly inventing new things for people to enjoy, consequently making them less social? These are some of the question found in Jonathan Franzen's essay “Liking is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts”, which is based on a commencement speech he delivered at Kenyon College, Ohio in 2011.
Some of the things Franzen puts into perspective during his speech is the way people use the Internet and their reactions to new technological inventions. He proceeds to sharing his personal experience with his smartphone and what his reaction was when he replaced his three-year-old BlackBerry Pearl with a more powerful version; the BlackBerry Bold. He describes how impressed he was by all the new gadgets, the new graphics etc. “... experiencing the marvelous clarity of its screen, the silky action of its track pad, the shocking speed of its responses, the beguiling elegance of its graphics.”1 He is astonished by how quickly technology has evolved in just three years, but at the same time he's showing his concern about the necessity of these smartphones. He knows that some of the listeners, who are mostly young people, will be slightly annoyed by hearing this. By adding a little bit of humor into the speech he manages to keep them listening and not ignoring his concerns. “Very probably, you're sick to death of hearing social media disrespected by cranky 51year-olds.”2 Franzen has a unique and slightly humorous way of describing the relationship between him and his smartphone. He compares it to a relationship of romantic nature using expressions such as “trust issues” and “accountability issues”. He wants to reach the young listeners and he does so...
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