Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE IS NOTHING TO DO

WHOA, NELLY!

Mark, that is one of the most inane comments you've ever left. What, did you see one person reading a National Enquirer once? If 50 people read, you can be sure there would be 50 different styles, but even if half of them read the NEWSPAPER, we would have a far more informed electorate. The idea that people are better off thinking about paying their electric bill than engaging with the written word is just ridiculous.

LOL! This was a response to a comment that I left regarding the general populace and reading. I took the position that some people would be better off not reading, than reading the drivel that they choose to read.

On of the premise that half of the people you see at a given place would be reading a newspaper, with the current state of the printed press, is unlikely. As for those who are reading for reading's sake, I don't know. How often do I see someone actually engaged in a periodical or something that is going to open their minds and their imagination?

I remember when Terry McMillian burst out of the pack, with 'Waiting To Exhale'. Suddenly, people for whom reading was a chore began to think themselves as 'literate' because they read one average book that had the flavor of their lives. They found themselves 'wishing that they could really identify' with the story. My ex wife was one of the crowd.

No one mentioned or spoke much of her earlier work, 'Disappearing Acts', which was IMO, a better read. But I am not going to debate the merits of the book, but rather the ideas that get promoted by and through the consumption of mass media.

Certain magazines have a slant, and many of them are only 'preaching to the choir'. That is, they are only going to say what they want their audience to hear, and they don't anguish over the objectivity. And that is for the more 'serious' periodicals, from Time to Mother Jones.

I don't know if 'tabloid' means what it means anymore. I can't tell the difference between 'The Enquirer' of 'US Weekly' anymore. How many cover stories do we need on 'Jon and Kate'? Does it really matter if Adam Lambert is gay or not?

Propaganda comes in many forms, and who is to say that the printed version is any less subversive than that of what is provided by over the air television or radio?

Do I have any alternatives? Nope, sure don't ... but I did leave a comment. I hardly thought it was 'inane'. Besides, it was 'a blurb', because I am trying to be conscious of my 'long form' comments.

HELLOOO!

Maybe it is a Coastal thing ... Michigan is considered 'Midwest' and therefore is a part of 'flyover country'. Could be one of location. Or maybe I have a stick up my butt. But to me, reading something that only solidifies the way that you thought BEFORE you began to read it, may not be insane. Just that it seems close to it to me, though.

People in an echo chamber, where all they hear and see are the things they have always heard and seen ... sort of like 'the terrorists have won', to me. I mean the emptiness of pulp literature and the nihilism and self loathing lyrics of pop music, combine with other elements in widespread culture that keeps on growing ignorance and does nothing to spur critical thinking outside of the audience for which the media is indented for.

I recall choking down E. Lyn Harris' first two or three novels ... and then there was the cat who got attention by writing about 'brothers on the down low'. I even was lucky enough to see them both speak at different times about their writing. I was drawn to them because they both self published, and that was what was the hook for me. Mention these cats, because I will take a step to not dismiss anyone out of hand.

Maybe it is sad to see no one reading ... grant you that. But it is just as sad to me, to see people lost in the senses-deadening glossy magazines with shiny pictures of today. Or any of the inartistic pulp fiction that inflates the ego and makes someone feel satisfied that they read for pleasure, and not for intellectual growth. Sounds a little pompus, but I can't come up with a better way to say it.

After all, is someone can be smug, why can't I be a little arrogant? Uh, has it not been established that I have that 'a-hole' gene in me? I know, I am learning the culture war, but if you are going to be like Vernon Davis, and do something that is going to boost your own ego at the cost of the greater purpose, then what good are you doing?

0 +0= 0 ...

8 comments:

Indigo said...

I understand where you're coming from. These days I'm happy to see someone reading period. As for what they read...as the saying goes different strokes for different folks. It does seem as though reading preferences go with the pack mentality. Instead of people finding something to read that genuinely appeals to them, you see them gagging on drivel simply because a dozen others said it was great.

My reading preferences are very diverse. I don't limit myself to one genre or another. Having said that, if I don't enjoy it, more than likely I'm NOT going to even attempt to finish it. Just because someone gets published doesn't mean it's a catching storyline (I keep reminding myself of that in my own pursuits).

I do know these days if I'm not writing, I'm reading and I can almost without a doubt guarantee there is no TV blaring. I guess what I'm trying to say in a long about way is. I hope reading doesn't become a lost art. I very much would rather see someone reading drivel than not reading at all and if they could read the drivel why not aim for something that is intellectually stimulating. (Hugs)Indigo

Beth said...

No matter what I've read over the years, I always try to take something away from it, even if it's just learning a new word. (Most recent: lappet.) Sadly, much of the tabloid mags consists of the same old same old. I've always thought that any reading was a good thing...but there ARE levels.

a corgi said...

okay, I have to admit when my mom was still alive and living with us when we were in Oregon, she enjoyed reading the National Enquirer; she didn't believe much that was in it but she enjoyed her "rag" magazine. I used to enjoy buying them for her weekly and then read them when the kids were napping.

Having said that, nowadays I'm trying to at least read 10-15 minutes before I fall asleep in the evening; fiction, but at least it is reading :)

betty

miss alaineus said...

i learned a proof in ring theory when it can be shown that 0+0 = 1.

we have kids reading what i consider garbage at work but they are reading and if they learn to read for pleasure and enjoyment, then i see that not reading at all as the greater evil.

i know it's not logical to expect them all to read faulkner in 5th grade, but i do my best to match the books i am selecting for them to reader interest in hopes that someday they will learn to seek out the classics on their own, and not just reading the cliff's notes in order to pass a class.

xxalainaxx

Tawnya said...

I read a lot. Generally my taste is mysteries, because most of them challenge me to figure out who dunit before the end of the book. I don't read magazines often, mostly they are cooking magazines, although Doug got me Southern Living and I read that. I have read books on politics and other things, but I taught my kids to read for fun. So my 11 year odl daughter read Twilight, which is a huge book. According to her dad, she read it all the way through and did not skip parts. Which is good. My son likes to read too, but he is artistic, so he draws pictures of what he has read. When they were little I read to them all the time, they saw me reading books all the time. I think that right now, in the times of computer and Kindles that will read it to you, audio books, etc... that is someone is actually reading a real book or magazine it is a good thing, although I will agree I hate the tabloid mags. Don't get me wrong, Kindles and audio books have their place, but I think it is the easy way out if you have the thing read to you....

headbitingprincess said...

I agree .. I have never been interested in magazines , as they are just gossip writings ,
but i have always enjoyed reading very much.
there is nothing better than a book and silence surrounding you , getting all caught up in chapter after chapter that you can not put it down even when your eyes are being held open by toothpicks ..

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I have several periodicals I read, and get great enjoyment and learning from (BottomLine, Time, Popular Science, Kiplinger). I think if you read the right ones, you can get some good info :o)

Celeste said...

I can truthfully say I have never bought the Enquirer! LOL I cannot say I have not read it! I read for the pleasure of reading. In all honestly I can not tell you who wrote most of the books I have read. The author has never mattered to me, any of them could have a good book or a bad book.
I agree some people should not read because all they read is gossip rags!