Posted on March 2, 2016 by Xavier Toby

Read a book. It’s what Ryan Gosling would do

Ryan Gosling

You know it’s true because there’s a Ryan Gosling meme about it.

This piece first appeared in The Herald Sun

DO YOU think that evolution is going backwards? I do. If you’re reading this, I’m clearly not talking about you, since you can read.

I mean read something longer than a street sign, an ironic tattoo and the winning lotto numbers and that’s the key.

As a society, it’s a fact that we’re getting dumber. Think of it: Adam Sandler movies. Selfie sticks. Kardashians.

A big part of the problem is that so few of us reads books anymore.

Now, if you don’t know what a book is, like most people under 30, let me explain.

A book is like a small piece of the internet but on paper. Unlike the internet, however, most books are not full of porn and much of what’s written in books is true.

When you read a book, you pause to think about it and contemplate it’s deeper meaning. By not reading enough, we’re losing this ability to think deeply and contemplate anything. Basically, we’re turning into a society of goldfish.

Some of you have probably already forgotten what this article is about. I have and I’m writing it. In my defence, I was distracted by an urge to check how many likes I had for my post about the times Donald Trump’s hair has resembled mating swans.

Six likes. Go me! Now how many do I need before I get a real-life friend?

Anyway, plenty of people claim to do all their reading on screens: laptop screens, tablets and TV screens. They may as well be reading a flyscreen.

Reading a web page is nothing like reading a book, because nobody reads a web page. You scan it, because that’s how we’ve taught ourselves to read them as they’re packed with bright flashing things and there are unlimited ways to divert your attention. Such as checking your email or social media.

As an intelligent and fruitful use of your time, that ranks up there with playing Candy Crush, waiting in line for the new Apple iAnything and expecting that anyone apart from Hawthorn to win the Premiership.

I hate Hawthorn.

Apparently books, boring old words on a page, are having trouble competing with the other entertainment options out there: games, YouTube, movies, television, nipples.

A book, however, is better than all those things combined — even nipples — and it’s because books cultivate something all those other options neglect and it isn’t just the feeling of superiority they provide when reading one on public transport.

It’s your imagination.

Ever wonder why movies often struggle to be as good as the books on which they’re based?

It’s because in your mind there’s an unlimited number of pixels, sounds, special effects and nipples. The more you read, the better become your abilities to fantasise and imagine.

If it’s not working? Well try a different book — there are plenty around.

Then the next time you’re faced with one of life’s big decisions, such as:

“Should I binge-watch all of the Real Housewives?”

“As a man, should I be wearing leggings?”

“What would Ryan Gosling do?”

Hopefully you’ll choose the correct answer which is: read a book. It’s exactly what Ryan Gosling would do.

Full disclosure: I’ve written two books. Please buy them. I need the money, because nobody reads anymore.

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian. His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

Real book:

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/products/going-out-of-my-mined

Or eBook:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017VE81CQ

This piece first appeared in The Herald Sun