The only thing the internet did was reveal that you’re not as dedicated a reader as you once thought you were. It presented you with temptation, and you gave in. This may be painful and embarrassing to admit, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Maybe you were a voracious reader when books were the most convenient means of entertainment you had, but now it turns out you’d rather watch videos and scroll through social media posts. You’re not willing to swim upstream against the currents of popular culture and peer pressure. Like many people, you want to have read books, you want to think of yourself as the kind of person who reads books, but you don’t actually want to devote time to reading them.

This isn’t necessarily a problem. You can of course still be an intelligent, interesting person even if you don’t read for pleasure. But you lack the confidence to withstand the negative judgment of some imagined literary snob who might think less of you. You lack the appetite for the possibly-uncomfortable introspection which might reveal cracks in your self-image. It’s easier to make aspirational gestures toward accepted standards of taste and intelligence than to forge your own. So you fall back on some absurd dualism in which the “real” you is being held hostage by your brain chemistry, or the manipulations of Silicon Valley, while your stupefied doppelgänger continues texting, instagramming and snapchatting. Honestly, I’m not sure how this excuse is more face-saving than the alternative. There’s always dignity in owning one’s agency, however humble the ends to which it’s directed. But there’s nothing dignified about pretending to be at the mercy of forces beyond your control.