Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jamie Iredell, On Reading

"Reading is, plain and simply, the backbone (or psychobiomaterial, to not be so chordatathropic) of a fully-developed free civilization. Remember that under the three-estate system of European feudalism there was the royal estate (literate), the clerical estate (literate), and everybody else (the illiterate)? People like Joseph Stalin (despite the later Soviet Union's push for a 100% literacy rate) relied on illiteracy to kill 30 million Ukranians, and Mao Tse Tung relied on the ignorance of the peasant class during the Cultural Revolution, during which approximately 40 million died. For all we know Kim Jong Il uses illiteracy now to subjugate North Koreans. But we don't know because there's no fucking writing coming out of there. Here, in the United States of America, we have a program called No Child Left Behind. That program--along with a general demise of readers and an influx of competing 'entertainments'
(television, film, video games) in recent decades--encourages a reliance upon one-stop-shop education. Information, like, for example, what's found on websites, is encouraged. Not literacy or critical thinking. Anyone can tell you that the sky is blue, but only someone who has thought about what they've read, and read some more, can talk about the oxygen, nitrogen, and trace elements that scatter light to reflect the color blue. Shit, only someone who's literate can tell you that there's no such thing as color, only light spectra. There isn't even journalism anymore. Everyone's a pundit, whatever the fuck that means these days. As far as I can tell, all it seems to mean is that they have a pretty angry opinion about assholes like Lyndsey Lohan. So, as the whole shithole comes to a collapsing bang, don't think to thank the writers you're not reading. Not that I'm worried about you 'thinking' or 'reading'. And by 'reading' I don't mean Stephanie fucking Meyer, Charlaine fucking Harris, or--jumping Jesus--Stephen fucking King."

Jamie Iredell is the author of Prose. Poems. a Novel. (Orange Alert Press, 2009), and The Book of Freaks (coming in December 2010, from Future Tense Books). Visit his blog here.}

1 comment:

  1. As someone who is getting ready to teach at a community college, this made me stop and revisit my thesis. While I have referenced a lot of online content, I'm also spending a good deal of in class time addressing critical reading/thinking and we are going to analysis a poetry chapbook as part of the literary analysis part of the class. I'm running on hope :)