You know what? I hate reading. Yeah I said it. And as much as I hate reading, I hate reading about people reading. There was an article in “The Republican,” Springfield’s finest newspaper, today written by some 8th grade overachiever who was singing the praises of reading. First of all, reading ain’t all its cracked up to be. People make the association that just because a kid has his nose in a book that they are far and above kids who… aren’t.
When I see a child, or anybody for that matter, reading a book I think one of three things: 1. The kid has no friends and is crying out for someone to hang out with. 2. The kid is brown nosing or attempting to appear more intellectual. 3. They are following a trend that no one knows how got started (Twilight, Potter, Joel Osteen).
Do we realize how ridiculous this is? Just because someone is reading a book doesn’t mean that they’re going to be the next Niles Bohr, especially if it’s about vampire love triangles (or whatever the hell Twilight is about). Is someone strong just because they are in the gym? Is someone stylish just because they shop at Hollister? Is someone from Alabama just because they listen to Kenny Chesney? No. So kids are certainly not advancing themselves just because they are reading rather than watching TV or anything else.
I (the_skeptic) am known as somewhat of a Renaissance Man. I obtained my knowledge not from the pages of a book but from years of absorbing information from all places. In 3rd grade a teacher was talking about musicians and if anyone in the class knew a famous violin company. I said “Stradivarius,” much to her amazement. And do you know where I heard it? The Three Stooges episode “Disorder in the Court.” But enough about me.
My little overachieving friend at the Republican built her argument on the notion that reading has something for everyone, which it does. But so do video games, and movies, and department stores, so I don’t really see the correlation. If it’s that using your imagination to paint the pictures to go with someone else’s words, spare me. Everyone interprets every piece of art differently. Some people will tell you Will Ferrell is really funny, others won’t. It’s just like reading, some people like 1,000 page novels about wizards and full page articles about how people dress up and wait outside for the book to be released, some people like Dilbert. To each his own.
I will leave you with this my loyal followers (because I clearly can’t say readers after all this). This is my favorite quote of all-time, and it came from a big, burly mechanic on the old TV show Monster Garage.
“I like to spend my time doing the things that people write books about.”
Now that’s the most profound thing I’ve READ in a long time.