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Not Reading Doesn’t Make You Any Less Smart (So Long as You Netflix Responsibly)

Samantha Eldridge

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I am an English major, so the entirety of my college experience has essentially revolved around books, and if we’re being honest, a lot of my life in general has revolved around reading as well. My parents used to get mad at me when I would come home from the library with more that five or six books (and yes, that happened more frequently than you would think).  Suffice to say, yeah, I like big books and I cannot lie.

So, when I meet people and bring this up, I’m usually met with a scoff, and a “I don’t know how you do it, I don’t read at all,” it hurts my soul a little bit. And by a little bit, I mean it feels like a few years have been taken off my life. (Even still, I do think that people who look down on others for not liking the same things are pretty uppity and annoying. Hypocritical of me? Maybe a little.) But I digress.

Because even with my preference for books, you best believe that I like to curl up with Netflix just as much as anyone else. Shows like Stanger Things, House of Cards, I’m hooked just like everyone else.

But the more I watch these shows, the more I start to think about how they’re sort of different than the television we all grew up with. Friends was great, sure, and everyone loves some Spongebob, but in the last few years I think there’s been a noticeable shift in the quality of television shows, whether they be online or actually being broadcasted on cable. It’s not like we’re all watching I Love Lucy or the Three Stooges like our parents used to. So is television really “rotting you brain”? I don’t think so.

I think that television has become more of an artform, and that certain shows are certainly just as nuanced and valuable as books. The average Netflix user streams about 1 hour and 33 minutes per day, and while that sounds like a lot, consider what they’re actually watching. Shows like Narcos, which are based in true history, or Orange is the New Black that tackles real issue like gender, sexuality and race, or the fact that Netflix has hundred of hours worth of documentaries all at the click of a button. Whether users realize it or not, television is feeding your brain, in the same way that books can.

So, as a bookworm, I am only going to say this once. Yes, it’s fine if you do not like to read.

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Not Reading Doesn’t Make You Any Less Smart (So Long as You Netflix Responsibly)