(SNN) A recent report concluded that people don’t read anymore. (Personally, I think they were taking a bit of a risk printing an article with no one around to read it, but who can understand academics…)
The big culprit, not surprisingly, is T.V. Apparently, most of us would rather stare at a two dimensional colour screen for hours on end, watching endless reruns of The Simpsons and Big Bang Theory, than pick up a paperback. Frankly, I would rather eat a live worm than spend my time with Bart Simpson, but that’s beside the point. The point is, our school system has killed reading.
As I see it, the whole problem started in first grade with Dick and Jane. Remember those books?
“See Dick run.”
“See Jane run.”
“See Dick and Jane run.”
Not much of a plot. This stuff was hard to get excited about. Dick had the personality of a soap dish, and Jane wasn’t exactly her own person. If this was reading, I’d rather watch soap commercials.
Things got a little better at The Hardy Boys stage: (“Aunt Gertrude” gasped Frank. “Oh! Oh!” breathed Joe) but then took a massive nosedive when we hit high school.
The trouble with high school is we were made to read ‘literature.’ This invariably meant deadly dull morose books in which it seemed the author’s main goal was to figure out how many words he could fit into one sentence. One day in English class, I remember counting the words in a sentence that took up an entire page. It was infinitely more interesting counting the words than reading them.
Why did they make us read this stuff? Why not the good stuff – the really fun trashy reads that people actually buy? The nasty mysteries! The heart-stopping thrillers! The bodice-ripping romances! I figure it’s a master plot. School boards must be on the payroll of big advertising firms hired by devious television networks to kill reading. That way, we all remain slaves to the advertising piranhas.
What to do? It’s simple. We have to take reading out of the high schools and put it back where it belongs….in the bathroom. I propose a campaign to include trashy paperback novels in every 8-roll package of toilet paper. Romance with the Cottonelle! Chicklit glitz with the Royale (is that why they call it the throne?) Westerns with the unbranded (ouch).
And flush the notion that all reading is torture.
Melodie Campbell reads in the bathroom when she is not writing funny books like The Artful Goddaughter (available in real live bookstores, and online all over the place.)
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