Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Reading Table

#292 The Reading Table

We’re now told you can read and eat and that’s okay because it’s good for your digestion. Depends on what you’re reading, of course.

It does beat a lot of the conversations (arguments) you have over dinner. Okay, kiddies, here are your Dr. Seuss books. Okay Mrs. America, here’s your Shakespeare or your Joy of Cooking (or Joy of Sex.) Okay Mr. America, here’s your “Outdoor Life” or “Motor Trend.”

Sure beats having to talk.

Also, you can turn on the music player or the TV music channel or (heaven forbid!) the radio.

Keep us together with a good, old-fashioned family meal every night. Keep us together while keeping us apart with the New York Times.

You get the sports section, you get the business section, you get the part about how America is ready to bomb some middle eastern emirate, you get the part about finding a job.

Sounds like a great plan. Use the old media to finish the job that the new media hasn’t been quite able to accomplish.

Like it said in the latest study: it’s good for your digestion. Kind of slows you down a bit so you don’t wolf your food. (Do wolves that eat fast “people” their food?)

Eat first, THEN argue.

And instead of arguing about unimportant stuff (“you spend too much! “you haven’t painted the living room in six years,” “someone at school said I was gross looking.”) you can argue about really important stuff. Like was 911 a government conspiracy, did NASA really land on the moon, what’s happening with the rebels in Chechnya. You know. The stuff that really matters.

Actually, reading at the table might be the only reading some people ever do, so maybe we should give the readers a little slack.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account the terroristic acts of reading extremists. These people would have you reading all the time. Even Einstein didn’t think that was a good idea. Said it stopped you from thinking.

But this IS an age of extremism. And reading activists, as they like to call themselves, would have you do this anywhere and everywhere. On the bus. At work. Behind the wheel.

(There IS something to be said for having a decent book or magazine with you while behind the wheel. Traffic jams are great places to learn new things, while you’re waiting for some idiot to worm his way from the left lane, across traffic and into the exit he was about to miss.)

The reading activists, however, are in the pay of the publishers. They’re the ones funding the movement to read, read, read. And they have to be reigned in. We need new laws to prevent these people from running amok. (which is nothing like running a race, but similar to running a scam.)

We need publishers to testify before congressional committees. Let them get up there under oath and deny their products poison your mind! It worked for tobacco companies. Why not for Simon & Schuster?

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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