did the dvd contribute to civility’s demise?
pre-dvd, vhs was the popular video format. the analog format consisted of cassette tapes.
these vhs cassettes offered post-theater release movies to consumers for home viewing. due to the cassettes high prices, they became popular as rentals. video rental stores, such as blockbuster, popped up all over the country. likewise, there were the ever popular local mom n’ pop video rental stores.
an analog tape required that the tape, at completion, be rewound. video stores encouraged this practice by posting signs “be kind, rewind.”
after the joy of completing a movie, renters were instantaneously brought to reality. they had to think about others, the next viewer and the video store worker. they could show kindness by sparing others of the rewind. the click on the reverse button constituting a simple act of kindness.
with dvds, and eventually video streaming, video viewers are free from the obligation of thinking about others. has this changed societal attitudes? format changes have lead to binging and playing premium video content are mere background noise or video wall paper. further, streaming has led some to remain in solitude with the lesser need for human interaction.
this brings to another rewinding. a one that is an ancient tradition. the torah is read on an annual basis and is completed. a holiday exists to commemorate both the completion and start of the new reading. the holiday is called. simchat torah. participants can hear the famous words from the book of genesis, “breshit barah eloheim,” or “in the beginning…”
the torah’s format is ancient. it is scrolls and parchment. thus, it requires rewinding upon completion. this concept of rewinding is a community experience. in doing so, new readers or participants can start with the beginning of the torah and share their experience with those who are continuing with the perpetual reading.
thus, by maintaining the ancient format and the act of rewinding, there is communalism, shared experience….and celebration.
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