Yes, it's too bad the ancients didn't have the technology we have now. We wouldn't have to deal with nasty clay tablets, parchments & papyrus in museums. Those books before and after Gutenburg and others, my, they take up so much space in display cases, made of things PETA would object to). And, hey, what about that Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in Washington DC?? Gosh, the lines of people queued-up just to look at all that handwriting, how silly, when they can read them online. Too bad they didn't have a computer, then the printing could be all Arial or Times New Roman, and they could have emailed King George the whole document!
No, I disagree with some of what you say. So much that defines a culture is what we will "leave behind" to the future generations. A culture that depends, so heavily, on electronics is on a slippery slope, in my opinion. What if technology ceases? So much knowledge and personal history - POOF! - vanishes.
Too few people actually write, by hand, anymore, it's all on the computer (whether typed and printed or emailed). It's sad, as their personalities are lost by using a medium other than pen or pencil (or, even, crayon!). Their unique individualities are gone. Their letters look no different from yours or mine.
I have letters written by relatives from the War of 1812, the Civil War, WWI, WWII and later, as well as legal documents dating into the 1500's (a couple are penned on real parchment (specially-prepared animal skin)). The handwriting on these is exquisite. It says so much about the person. They couldn't just "backspace" or highlight and delete something if they made an error. It is there, you can see them gathering their thoughts and re-penning mistakes (though, there are few of those). There are blurs from tears (and the author's apologies for the blotted marks). Some have had locations scratched-out by censors (from WWI). These are documents about everyday life. About informing a family that their son was killed in battle. About new wife telling her husband, posted overseas in France, that their child was born (that letter stained with both tears and blood, as my grandfather was shot and the letter was in his pocket, as was his half-written reply to her!). About how much they are loved and missed. My Dad's diary from WWII is one of my most precious possessions. His handwriting describing his thoughts, hopes and fears. A smear and an arrow on the side of the front page pointing to the reason for the blob (he writes the journal was new and the paper edges were razor-sharp!). He was, quite literally, part of that journal.
No, you can't get any of these feelings when they are printed from typewriters or word processors.
We have friends whose only child was posted in Iraq. They emailed back and forth to each other frequently. He was killed. The day of the funeral, some UAV broke into their house and stole their computer, among many other pieces of electronic media. They hadn't bothered to print-out (or, back-up onto a disc) those emails from their son. They lost the last 6 months of communications from their son because it was all committed to electronic media.
Convenience isn't always better.
To hold an original letter, newspaper or magazine from a differnt time is to step into that era and moment. You can't get that same feeling from microfiche, a print-out or reading it online. I have a copy of the New Orleans "Times-Picayune" from when I was a child. Our pictures are in it above a captions "Calling loved ones to assure them of their safety". We had survived a hotel fire and were photographed, in our pjs, in a phone booth at an adjacent hotel. I can still remember that photographer! I love to look at the rest of the paper, reading articles and ads.
We have a huge personal library. Every room in our home (save the bathrooms!) has shelves with books. Coffee table books with glorious, huge pages coloured with images of so many subjects. Fictions and non-fiction. My kitchen has loads of cookbooks, some of which belonged to my great-grandmother and date to the late 1800's (with notes in the margins written in a spidery, flowing script about little improvements she suggest!). We have many of my grandfather's textbooks from medical school (again, with his comments about the subject and, oftentimes, his professors of that course!). There are books that belonged to my Dad (as a child), presented as prizes for school contests (with his name carefully penned in the end pages). We have books that date back to the 1600's, in Latin, varying in subjects from botany to sciences to poetry. Who held them and read them?
My favorite "Twilight Zone" episode is the one with the quiet man that loved to read and was the only one to survive a disaster that destroyed living society. But, the books remain. I always like to think he managed to find, in the rubble of an optical shop or stationary store, a magnifying glass or some broken eyeglasses and could then read to his hearts desire!
Enjoy your Kindle or reading things online. I will continue to hold and relish my real books, enjoying the feel of the paper in my fingers, turning pages (some already dog-eared from earlier reader). Choosing a cookbook that automatically opens to certain pages (many of these with smudges of batter of spices!). A small book of poetry, with a romantic message of love written inside the cover and a flower pressed within. These are books with additional stories! And, those extra stories are NOT to be found in any electronic media (can you press a flower in a Kindle?).
Oh, by the way, yes, we also have lots of vinyl LPs, along with 45s and 78s!! Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without listening to some of our albums (that are not available in any other format). Their jackets aren't as thick as a CD jewel cases (so, width-wise, they don't take up any more room than a CD). Plus, as both dh and I are of a certain "mature" age, we can actually read the liner notes and what not on the back! No squinting and complaining about small print!!!
Dh has an iPod and spends more time trying to see that tiny screen (not to mention finding it in his gym bag!), than it's worth. I have no idea how to use the thing and have no desire, either. He also likes his CDs (I hate trying to read the titles on the spines, too small!!).
Netflix has made seeing movies more enjoyable simply because of a selection that cannot be matched in most rental stores. I agree the accessiblity of films we, otherwise, wouldn't be able to see is wonderful. But, we don't watch them online (we have dial-up and that is too slow!).
For what it's worth, I DO read the daily paper online! But, if there is an article I want to keep (such as ds finding the first buttercup of the season a couple of years back!), I buy a copy and laminate the article. I've done the same with my Dad's obituary and our wedding announcement. Looking at a print-out from the computer just isn't the same. We're sentimental oldies!!!