I made the mistake of going to Barnes & Noble in search of intellectually stimulating books. But evidently the store is more concerned with sales than substance. Perfect lighting, freshly buffed tables, and carefully chosen angles accompany front-door displays of the most important book in the world: The Biography of Justin Bieber. As a culture, we have officially flat-lined.

The brain-dead population seeks pleasure, not enlightenment. This means that the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble are nothing more than an extension of reality TV shows. The only difference is the garbage is packaged in hard cover or paper-back. The romance section is twice as large as the philosophy section. How many romance novels do we need? Every book has the same skeletal frame: this person meets that person and then the sun, moon, and stars and blah blah blah…

If the bookshelves do not resemble the text messages of teenagers, they are devoted to junk science. Corners are cut and nuances are sacrificed for the sake of communicating easily digestible information. Book titles are geared toward the sleepwalking masses who are only capable of skimming texts: ’50 Ways to Get Healthy’, ‘How to Overcome Addiction in 5 Easy Steps’. Every schmuck in a white lab coat now lays claim to being some sort of specialist.

And this place has the audacity to have an adjoining cafe area. This is where pretentious individuals purchase five dollar croissants on major credit cards. When the cashier hands them a pen to sign their receipt, they proudly reject it – and reach for a ballpoint pen clipped inside their tacky blazer. They are completely incapable of just scribbling their name and keeping it moving. It is not like some future civilization a thousand years from now will unearth their receipt and put it in a museum as the only evidence we ever existed.

Then, they sit and cross their legs in such a fashion to expose their argyle socks. Apparently, this is a prerequisite for establishing their credibility. They all insist on lowering their glasses to the tips of their noses – and seeking recognition by turning the pages of their book loudly, as if to say “look at me, look at me! I finished another page!” These people try to compensate for their lackluster resumes by performing their intelligence in public spaces.

I think I will stick to libraries for now.

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