In his book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr examines various affects the internet has had upon society, particularly how we as individuals engage literature. He makes the argument that the internet has shortened our attention span and made us a generally more distracted people. He argues that its convenience comes with a price. On the internet, people can meander through a great deal of information, that would take focus and intelligence to delve from books. He states that this level of convenience we experience on the web has made us a generally lazier people. While information on the internet is revolutionary, just like the first appearance of writing thousands of years ago, he stresses that it lacks real depth, hence the title, The Shallows.
Watch a clip of Renoir’s The River, and then one from 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, and you’ll see what Carr’s talking about. The piece from Renoir’s movie consists of a traditional dance accompanied by some exotic sounding music in some unfamiliar Indian tongue. It makes you sit still and watch, without knowing what to think. It’s a piece of a cultural tapestry that the viewer is meant to be unfamiliar with. It doesn’t really leave you with a better knowledge of what India is like, but it shows you something that is for some reason important to India, and that’s what one might call deep knowledge. The clip from Slumdog Millionaire is more a piece of entertainment. There’s little dialogue, we just watch some Indian kids hustle while a catchy song from MIA plays. Granted that it may be a really accurate depiction of how life is like over there, it’s just how it was delivered.