What’s wrong with Whatsapp

Listening to Jonathon Franzen’s interview of BBC Hardtalk made me read his collection of essays- How to be Alone. Reading his essays made me get a better idea to convey myself on what is wrong with Whatsapp type of Fragmentary messaging.

How to be Alone http://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Alone-Jonathan-Franzen/dp/0312422164
How to be Alone

But , in the slow-motion of Alzheimer’s , my father wasn’t much deader now than he’e been two hours or two weeks or two months ago. We’d  simply lost the last of the parts out of which we could fashion a living whole. There would be no new memories of him. The only stories we could tell now were the ones we already had

Jonathon Franzen, My Father’s Brain-2001

The collection gives interesting insights into  contemporary society in US, but many points are common in the urban cultures in Asia, Europe, Africa. As expatriate workers we found –How to Be Alone- a very useful theme at discovery and interrogation


This essay which goes into the dynamics of a family caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, is an intimate view into the life of Franzen’s parents.

Franzen explores the history of evolution of understanding of the disease, the work of German neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1901 , the striking dual pathology of her disease:

Countless sticky-looking globs of ‘plaque’ and countless neurons engulfed by ‘tangles’ of neuronal fibrils.  In the early fifties American Neuropathologist Meta Naumann autopsied the brains of 210 patients of senile dementia and found sclerotic arteries in few of them, plaques and tangles in the majority.

He reproduces intimate details of his family, the dynamics of the marriage of his parents, and touchingly reproduces the last letter written by his father to his grandson.


“I could not do anything for my father” I remember a colleague friend recalling, how his father, who had been a Hindi Literature teacher, had a rich collection of literature went into Oblivion.


This famous essay highlights the flitting nature of internet

The novelist has more and more to say to readers who have less and less time to read.

This dilemma in today’s twitter-whatsapp world explores the nature of Reading Culture.


“Now I am able to read for three hours at a stretch” one colleague who is preparing for an exam told me. But he is reading Technical books.

On being asked- When did he last read a novel?

…my colleague smiled.

Fragmented messaging cannot give a proper whole picture, is what I am trying to teach my sons (an uphill task) and hence avoid the Whatapp tool. Thankfully, the old version has become obsolete and we cannot upload the new version in Libya.

Suggesting further reading

Jonathan Franzen aghast at destructive social media



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