Newspapers are turning me into a cultural iPad Kid

Column November 16, 2022
By Lieve Roegiers

There have never been so many cultural things to do, but, I don’t know where to find them. If scrolling on my phone makes me a brainless iPad kid, then the other option would be the newspapers. Unfortunately, I find newspapers lacking in cultural news.

When someone is looking for literary news, they look in a newspaper, obviously. Pieces of paper on which they print news. So I start. Someone has been shot on the first page, a war is waging on the second. Then, big bold letters scream “HOW TO DEAL WITH RISING ENERGY PRICES”. Followed by the sports section: one, two, three, five – eight pages in total. How much sport is there to report on? Then, there it is, finally, the holy grail of cultural news, the cultural section. Or so it should be.

The first article is on the upcoming blockbuster, that I have read about hundreds of times before. Next is an interview with the global pop star that will visit my country. Then I find what I was looking for: the book section. Only, there are no articles in it, there are just four reviews. Maybe they can tell me which book I should read this evening before going to bed: I love a good relaxing story. The first review is about that famous book with all those difficult words and multiple storylines. That would take ages to finish, I will tackle it when I have more time. The next one is about … A girl that turns into a plant and her husband still has sex with her. Okay, I am not really into whatever that is. The following review is a non-fiction book about the Armenian genocide, that is a bit too distressing and sorrowful for a relaxing bedtime story. The last one is about social injustice: not the most cheerful read either. After four pages of cultural “news”, the stock exchange starts.

The newspaper is a disappointment. It didn’t tell me anything new about arts and culture. They revert back to the same events that have been in the spotlight countless times, or they stick to one genre: bland. The newspapers only recommend books that a select group of people understand or that are non-fiction and are about the poor state of the world. I don’t need a book to know how bad the world is doing. I can just check my bills! Books are my escape from all the wars, inflation, and misery. Give me some farfetched sci-fi book, an unrealistic romance story, even some absurd fairy porn will suffice. Just like the millions of others who read books to escape their boring and depressing lives.

At the end of the day, I go back to the same place I always go to: Instagram. Back to the endless scrolling past the millions of posts about millions of books from which I will try to deduct my next read. I tried to be sophisticated by reading a newspaper, but I guess I will rather be an iPad Kid.

Text: Hanna Daniels
Photo: Pexels