June 20, 2024

Lost Arts: What have we forgotten due to the digital age?

The shift from physical media toward digital media has most recently been exemplified through stores’ decisions to get rid of their BluRay and DVD selections.

This move was notably announced by Best Buy in October 2023, stating it would take effect in 2024. According to a representative from Best Buy, “. . . the way we watch movies and TV shows is much different today than it was decades ago. Making this change gives us more space and opportunity to bring customers new and innovative tech for them to explore, discover and enjoy.”

VHS tapes, which were phased out because of DVDs. Photo via Pixabay.

While this disposal of DVDs and BluRays may be shocking to some, this is not the first time an art has been lost.

VHS

Perhaps the closest previous affair to getting rid of DVDs and BluRays has been the discontinuation of VHS tapes. Released in the United States in 1977, VHS was the main form of home video entertainment. Entire stores existed for the sole purpose of being able to rent a tape and bring it home. 

VHS was compact and simple, but in 2006, David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” was the last film to be converted to VHS. Although invented in 1995, it was the mid-2000s when DVDs, even more compact and even more simple, finally surpassed VHS.

Cassettes

The Sony Walkman, which popularized the use of cassettes over vinyl. Photo via Pixabay.

Cassette tapes were essentially the music equivalent to the VHS tape. While they were invented in 1962, cassette tapes became popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, decreasing the popularity of vinyl records and eight tracks. 

A major appeal to cassette tapes was, again, the compactness. While portable record players and eight track players did exist, none were compact enough to be able to clip onto your belt or fit in your pocket, something that came to life with the invention of the Sony Walkman, released in 1979. 

The cassette remained the most popular way to listen to music until the invention of the CD in the late 1980s. The greatest benefit of the CD the cassette did not have was the ability to skip directly to the song you wanted rather than having to rewind or fast forward. You also did not have to flip a CD over like you did a cassette tape; however, even CDs lost their popularity. While still in production, digital streaming of music has decreased the use of CDs.

Cursive

While the art of writing still exists, writing in cursive is rarely used anymore. It is no longer seen as necessary, and in 2010, cursive was removed from the Common Core curriculum. Today, the most common occurrence of the art of cursive is in people’s signatures. Other than that, print is the commonly used form of writing. 

Writing with pencil and paper is also slowly being replaced as schools are moving toward online resources rather than paper resources. While print would still be the option for physical writing, digital writing is likely to phase out the need for pencil and paper.

All of these arts can still be found/practiced, but it is evident how the digital age has removed so many art forms from the everyday life.

Author

  • Charlie Rinehart

    Charlie is a first-year Creative Writing major. In his free time he enjoys drinking iced coffee and watching terrible horror movie sequels.

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