Response to Onion Article: “Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text”.
The title of the article, “Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text” really caught my eye- because I, probably like many of you can absolutely relate to this phenomenon.
I like the way the Onion uses humor to draw attention to a real issue. It had me laughing out loud. I was a bit uncomfortable with how hard I was laughing though- because is it really funny that as a culture we have lost our ability to enjoy reading dense, book-like text?
Hilariously put, the Onion article states, “”Why won’t it just tell me what it’s about?” said Boston resident Charlyne Thomson, who was bombarded with the overwhelming mass of black text late Monday afternoon. “There are no bullet points, no highlighted parts. I’ve looked everywhere—there’s nothing here but words.”
But the fictitional character Charlyne might be on to something: What is it about dense, uninterrupted text on a computer screen that sends us running? Have our brains always been wired this way, or is there something about the culture of surfing the Internet, and the instant access to boundless information that is reshaping the inner workings of our brain?
I personally find comfort in remembering that although it is a pain to read blocks of uninterrupted text on a computer, I can still find satisfaction in picking up a book and reading pages upon pages of dense text. Computer screens in fact do emit a low level of ultra violet light, and something called “blue light”, according to Ehow’s article “Do Computer Screens Emit UV Light?”.
Although it has not been proven that small amounts of UV light and blue light pose any long term risks to damaging your eyes, it has been proven that eye fatigue can occur. This eye fatigue alone could be a main reason why we simply are not wired to take in as much text on a computer as we can comfortably from a book.
So the next time you are hard on yourself about finding it difficult to get through dense blocks of text on a computer, remember to give your eyes a rest, and cut yourself some slack.