Column, The Movie Diary

Information Overload

By Dom Cioffi 

Throughout my school days (elementary through college), I rarely stepped foot into a library. Sure, I wandered in whenever I had a book report due or needed to research something, but other than that, I avoided the institution like the plague.  To me, the library represented work, and I was much more interested in fun.

Ironically, once I graduated from college and was entrenched in the working world, the library became my haven.

Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I made a plan to visit my local library at least once a week, easily knocking away several hours while I wandered the rows of books and magazines. (This was pre-children, so I had all the time in the world.)

On most visits, I would end up with seven or eight books to check out. The content was always varied. Sometimes I would end up with a book on Ancient Greece simply because it looked interesting. Other times, I might grab a handbook on kite-making because the idea looked intriguing.

I had the same allure when it came to large book sellers like Barnes & Noble and Borders. Whenever I traveled out of town, I always tried to carve out a couple hours to peruse their voluminous selections. These bookstores were similar to the library except all the information was fresh, clean and relevant. The only drawback was that my funds were limited (that’s where the libraries were helpful).

Of course, these book meandering activities began dissipating once the World Wide Web took hold and information became only a mouse click away. I was a relatively early adopter to all things Internet, having bought my first computer in the early nineties. Once I saw the power of obtaining information digitally, almost overnight I turned my back on the bookstores and libraries.

My first computers were large devices that needed their own space. I could not afford the early laptops so my reading and research had to be done while sitting at a desk. Even when the computers began to shrink in size, I still had a dedicated room reserved for my digital projects and information gathering.

And then one day, I read a rumor about a new device being developed by Apple Computer. Apparently Apple was in the process of manufacturing a touch screen device that was fully mobile. The more I read about this new product, the more entranced I became.

I pictured how I might utilize such a device since it seemed tailor-made for my lifestyle. The rumor mill churned for well over a year until one day I read a news report that said Apple was about to announce something big. Apple was always about to announce something big, but this seemed different. People speculated that this might be the new touch screen device, but little leaked information substantiated this.

Finally, the day came when Apple unveiled the iPad. I was immediately overwhelmed by the product. Most of the rumors about its functionality and design were true. As soon as it was made available, I purchased one. And I can honestly say, my life changed overnight.

Suddenly I could research any interest, anywhere, anytime. At night I could climb into bed and lay comfortably while reading my favorite book. The world was at my fingertips whenever I wanted to research, debunk or lose myself in information. But most importantly, it became an invaluable tool when writing this column. To this day, I rarely go more than a few hours without utilizing my iPad for information gathering.

Not surprisingly, my trusty iPad came in handy after I saw this week’s feature, “The Case for Christ,” a Christian conversion story about real-life Chicago Tribune journalist, Lee Strobel.

In the film, Strobel becomes angered when his wife suddenly converts to Christianity. In order to disprove her newfound beliefs, Strobel visits various professionals to gather proof that the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth was an impossible event. He interviews historians, medical doctors, and psychologists, hoping that their insights will give him the proof he needs to sway his wife’s faith. Instead, Strobel himself becomes a believer.

This is exactly the kind of film I love to research since so many “scientific” claims were made. Anyone who sees this movie should do the same. Like me, you’ll undoubtedly discover a few liberties in the storytelling.

Believers will swallow this film up, pointing to the variety of discoveries Strobel made as more proof that Jesus was the son of God. Non-believers will point to a number of inaccuracies in the historical interpretations. Either way, as a motion picture, “The Case for Christ” was no better than your average made-for-television feature.

Check this one out if your faith in Christianity is strong, as it will reaffirm your entire belief system. Otherwise, steer clear because the message here is very religious.

An unpassionate “C” for “The Case for Christ.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at

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