Excerpts from my remarks to the Writers' Trust Gala
November 23, 2016, Toronto, Canada
I recently co-chaired the black-tie gala of the Writers Trust. My remarks were provocative and many people have asked me to publish an excerpt - I hope you enjoy.
Many of you know me as a big fan of the digital age and media and for sure I can YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram with the best of them. But the fact remains that there is no medium more important to civilization than the written word.
Digital technologies and new media have created many wonders - but they have also contributed to problems, including a fragmentation of public discourse, a balkanization of views and arguably decline in reflection. Somehow many of us have ended up in self-reinforcing echo chambers where the purpose of information is not to inform us but to give us comfort for our pre-existing views. Which explains fake news - many don't care if it's true as long as it reinforces our biases.
"the fact remains, there is no medium more important to civilization than the written word"
Today in this post-fact world of post-truth politics, reality TV, toxic attack ads, abbreeved everything and pernicious demagogues, more than ever we need thoughtful, inspired and brilliant writing, and literature.
The written word. When the right person orchestrates the right words we don't just laugh or cry, we do think; we gain insight into ourselves, our relationships and others; we see our context and history better; we are forced to stand back and reflect; we connect fragments and comprehend, and we can become motivated to change.
"When the right person orchestrates the right words, we don't just laugh or cry, we think; we gain insight into ourselves"
Tonight we celebrate the written word and the 75 talented writers present, who each has chosen to live a purposeful, creative, consequential (and typically tough) life. In doing so each of them represents nothing less than our strongest combatants in the war to enhance and perhaps even save civilization. They create "that crack in everything so the light can come in." Our writers, perhaps more than ever need to be supported, cherished and defended.
Could I ask all of the writers in the room to please stand up to be acknowledged? On behalf of all of us thank you. Keep writing, and if you do perhaps this smaller world that all of our children inherit will be a better one.
"Keep writing, and if you do perhaps this smaller world that all our children inherit will be a better one."
Along with his wife Ana Lopes, Tapscott chaired this year's Writers Trust Gala in Toronto. The evening celebrated writers-- the proceeds of this Gala provide crucial financial support to them. Tapscott is the Chancellor of Trent University, and CEO of the Tapscott Group. He is also the author of 16 widely read books about technology in business and society and is ranked as the number 4 living business thinker by Thinkers50. He and his son Alex Tapscott are authors of the new book Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is changing Money, Business and the World.