Ranting on Reading
This originated as a note over on Facebook, and it occurred to me that it would work as a post here, though it is a bit personal. Ignore it if it makes you uncomfortable, we often do that anyway… Here it is:
I may have made a terrible mistake in dropping out of high school. There are a few holes in my education. I noticed some of these holes, and initially, I started filling them with famous books I’d seen mentioned in the paper or news or movies… and discovered a disparity in the books’ content and the content in the media where I’d discovered the book. Reading Mamet’s new book, The Secret Knowledge, reminded me in some ways of my own conversion.
I am not, by popular measures, a towering success. I live a pretty much average middle class life. The only worthy successes in my life are not my own. In fact, these successes are what my children have become despite my meddling and failures. This is largely due to my one towering achievement… being smart enough to recognize the valuable person that is my wife.
Still, there have been some achievements. I have filled a lot of holes in my education over the years. Having read many of the books that my children’s teachers claimed to summarize for the children’s benefit, I’ve found that the teachers are either ignorant of the content in these books (e.g., they may have uncritically accepted what some college professor fed them ~ I am being charitable) or they are just plain lying about the content. I noticed the same mischaracterizations in our media/entertainment as a young adult, and now, as a curmudgeon, it’s really starting to piss me off. What to do…?
Agitate. “Challenge the dominant paradigm.” Do what the current purveyors of our culture claimed was honorable back in the sixties and seventies ~ be active in your community. Exercise your right to assembly with like minded folks. Recognize that they are the establishment… the establishment media that is. Make the finding of truth more important than searching for it. Get involved… especially in the making of our culture by influencing our entertainment, who entertains us, what we choose to be entertained by, and of course, exercising our franchise boldly, intelligently, and thankfully. My wish, or prayer if you prefer, is that our citizens will take the time to fill in the holes of their education where they find them… more important, search out those holes. And Read.