Sunday, July 25, 2010

How We Value Things & Entertain Ourselves - Roger Ebert on Huck Finn vs a Great Video Game

A few weeks ago, I did a post on reading which made mention of something that I think deserves more attention... that being a Roger Ebert blog entry on Huck Finn vs video games.

Ebert's piece on his Chicago Sun-Times blog stems from him posing to readers the question "which of these would you value more? (A) a great video game or (B) "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain."

The tally at the time that his blog post was written was 13,823 to 8,088 in favor of video games (or 63% to 37%). Ebert writes of the unscientific and open to interpretation nature of his question, but the results (and Ebert's take on them) are still very interesting and certainly worth a read.


As I think about the general popular opinion, it reminds me of a "Permanence of Words" blog post I did and how Ebert's poll results show that everyone has their thing (or things).

For my own personal "thing", younger me (not even that much younger) would have put sports above all other non-family things, but I now view my favorite sports more as entertainment and less as something of great import (due in large part to now having children, me thinks). At the same time that sports has moved down the list, words (both the reading and particularly writing of them) have moved up.

In many ways, my life would be easier if that weren't the case as I'd have available as free time that which I spend now on reading and writing... and I'd also get rid of that persistent nagging feeling I put upon myself of thinking I should spend more time writing. However, we all choose what dragons we want to slay, and as the aforementioned "Permanence of Words" post details, I've at least for the time begin (and presumably going forward) chosen mine.


Going back to the Ebert piece, it's a fascinating question to think about the "absolute value" of something. Is a great book such as Twain's of more value than a great video game?

My personal answer is yes, but what Ebert raises for consideration is whether a comparison such as this can be definitively answered in any context other than each person's individual view. Tough to answer, but interesting to think about...