Sunday, August 28, 2005

Triumph of the Ignaroids

In the Guardian, Hester Lacey bravely defends the rights of people who never read books. But, who is she defending them from? As far as I can tell, 70-80% of the adult population doesn't read books. Do they get attacked in the streets by readers? Do readers yell insults at them from the windows of bookstores? Let's be honest- is there any social pressure whatsoever to read anymore? Certainly this Philistine offers no actual examples in her article.

I think she's trying to argue that there's no intrinsic merit to reading- that it's just something you either "get" or don't "get". No reason to force it on people. She compares this to math. But, most of us didn't "get" math until we learned how to do it. And when we did, it made our lives easier. Should we stop teaching kids to read because it might not be their choice as consumers? I think that's it, too. I think the "consumer" is now the model for all adult behavior- no longer the citizen. Just do as you wish and expect the staff to make believe that you're educated, informed and intelligent- all evidence to the contrary.

Certainly, most people don't read. I have no problem with that. But, I can't be expected to pay their opinions the same respect as I would pay opinions that are informed, considered and educated. Why would I? I think she wants us all to pretend that the uneducated and uninformed are the intellectual equals of the informed and educated. Because, you know, it would be cruel to state the obvious. I mean, she's right- very few people are born stupid, but most people choose to be stupid. But, that's a "lifestyle choice" that it's very hard for me to get behind.

3 comments:

Pantiespantiespanties said...

"I think the "consumer" is now the model for all adult behavior- no longer the citizen."

A-freaking-men. And not only that, but consumer choices are being seen as "rights" these days. It's people's "right" to buy a gas guzzling car and it's their "right" to eat pounds and pounds of cheap meat made from horribly suffering animals.

Hiromi

Rufus said...

Yeah, it's depressing to see people my age who spend so much of their energy on shopping. I mean, I like buying books, but I know people whose lifestyle is just "shopper". And it's not like they'll die one day and the priest will say at the funeral:
"She led a full life; she owned a Marc Jacobs purse and two pairs of Manolo Blahniks shoes. She even owned a Lexus."

jingyang said...

Hah, I have had students in Japan and Taiwan tell me that their hobby is shopping.
Sad really.