I recently returned from New York where I had the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and see the Medici exhibition. By the way, the Met had a vaccination mandate, masks were needed, and everyone felt safe and comfortable. One of the recurring symbols used by Renaissance painters in their depictions of famous people was the book. Invariably, whether it was a Medici, Dante, or someone else, the subject was holding a book. Books are a universal representation in the art of Renaissance knowledge and learning, often making reference to power and educated status. Books were rather scarce, but what they contained was precious. Collections and libraries were expensive, and only the wealthy could afford them. Knowledge was prized.
Today we take books for granted. Our reading time has been supplanted by scrolling time. We spend hours going through an endless succession of posts, feeds and advertisements. The technical term is doom scrolling. The content is a mile wide and an inch deep. We have learned that social media is rife with misinformation and misinformation. It has the power to distort reality. He has the ability to make people, especially young girls, feel bad about themselves. Good literature educates and uplifts. Social media makes people stupid and stupid. The next time you take a picture of yourself for Instagram, maybe you should hold a book.
Paul Chiampa, East Longmeadow