As a literature professor, I just hate CliffsNotes and their ilk. Reading isolated facts about a book is not the same thing as reading a book. I consider using CliffsNotes instead of reading the assignment as cheating. But now CliffsNotes are evidently considered too long for today’s students to handle.
According to various news reports, that company is now producing brief internet videos of its famous crib notes which will be shown initially on AOL, since “everything in today’s world seems to be headed towards speedier and shorter ways to get information.”
Twain and Dickens are information you see; not art. . . .
Anyway, these new “study aides” won’t be dry, talking-head videos either; no sir. They will be “humorous shorts.” And not just humorous, but “irreverent,” too. Yet CliffsNotes says these humorous, irreverent shorts will “still manage to present the plot, characters, and themes” of the assignments — I mean books. . . .
The best news is, as it should be, saved for last. Mark Burnett, a “reality-show producer” (Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?), is charged with making the videos, which will run a full five minutes. But five minutes is an eternity in our go-go, busy-busy, click-swipe world! Thus, for each video of such interminable length, a “shorter one-minute version will also be made available on mobile telephones, as an emergency refresher before a test.”
So there will also be a Cliffs Notes version of the Cliff Notes version of Cliff Notes.