Read it and Weep
By Michael Gawlik Reading is dead. What’s the last book you picked up? The Scarlet Letter? Animal Farm? Nah, reading those would be a waste of time. I’ll just look them up on SparkNotes. Better yet, I’ll watch the movies on Netflix.
Hey dummy, drop the attitude. That’s right, I just called you stupid. Get mad at me, yell, throw a book. It’s not like you were going to read it any- ways.
Since I’ve probably scared off all the biblio- phobes out there (the first two paragraphs were probably more than they could handle), it’s about time that I cut the crap and really address the mat- ter at hand: we don’t read. Whether it’s out of apathy or lackadaisicalness, our generation finds books unworthy of its time and attention. They’re poison. We’re allergic to the texts assigned in En- glish class.
How dare a teacher set a quiz that won’t in- clude information found on the Internet? What audacity.
Just talking about perusing the works of Homer or Chaucer; reading is not just an activity for pipe smoking, tweed jacket wearing English scholars. Every piece of known information, whether in the field of engineering or history, can be found in writing. There’s no way to get around it: if you want to succeed, you’re going to have to sit down with a book every so often and simply read.
It’s frightening to think about what the world will be thirty something years from now when it is run by unintelligent individuals who were too good for books. America is producing a work- force that simply will not be as prepared to deal with the difficulties of real life because of its dis- mal understanding and ability. People may claim that they’ll start reading again once they’re in college, but they won’t. We don’t break habits. If you aren’t doing it now, you probably never will.
Considering our proclivity against reading, it really is amazing that our generation remains literate. I use the term ‘literate’ lightly; sure, we can read and speak and write, but can we do it well? Far too often in the hallways I hear such solecisms as “We was going to the cafeteria” and “For all intensive purposes”. Reading has a direct influence on our verbal capabilities. It seems only fitting that our generation has the most abhorrent grammar the world has ever seen.
I congratulate you if you have made it to this point without deciding that reading this article re- ally isn’t worth your time, but I should warn you that I’m going to say something most of you will find heinous. Reading can be fun. Don’t get me wrong, at times it can also be incredibly boring, but for the most part books are enjoyable.
There’s a simple pleasure derived from read- ing which can’t be found by looking at a sum- mary or watching a film. It’s a sense of accom- plishment, a confidence of knowing something me? Try it, I dare you. Check out Gray’s Anato- my from the library, glance at The Free Press, go to Lowell and see the scroll on which Kerouac wrote On the Road, it doesn’t matter to me. If you don’t like what you’re reading, go to the next thing. There’s an entire world waiting; there’s bound to be something worthwhile there.