#431 The First R
If you're reading this instead of hearing it, you're a rarity. It's not just that it's a low-circulation blog. You just aren't reading like you used to -- or like your parents did. Of course, they didn't have MTV and 499 other channels to keep them amused. They didn't have the internet that makes it possible for you to read the Washington Post from Denver or the New York Times from Islamabad.
But even with all that good reading, you don't.
Books? Maybe an occasional novel, maybe when you're on the beach and should be ogling the mini bathing suits. Magazines? They're on the internet, too, if you choose to look. But chances are, you don't.
Which is why there's so much bad writing these days. First, anyone can post a blog (look who's talking!)
Then, there aren't many editors on the internet and those on the traditional newspaper sites (and in the traditional newspapers) aren't doing much editing.
If you don't read a lot, your writing stinks, no matter what college degrees you've "earned" and no matter how deep your thoughts and no matter how wide your circulation.
You get your news from Leno and Letterman and Olbermann and Limbaugh.
You get your political insights from Tila Tequila, Carl Rove, Michael Savage, the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post and here. Not good enough.
So, you don't read, which means you can't write. You can't write, so you can't think.
A perfect world for the neo-cons who want you barefoot and pregnant, want you waving the flag without a clue about what the flag means, want you living from hand to mouth so you don't engage your brain for anything but the most basic everyday tasks.
Buy the daily paper -- even if it's just as an act of charity (they need all the help they can get.)
Go to Barnes & Noble blindfolded, ask to be taken to any shelf of non-fiction anything. Pick a book at random. Buy it. Read it.
It may be useless. For example, it could be about, oh, knitting, raising goats or a history of the Canadian Football League. But at least you'll learn something and maybe even get into the habit of having a book or two in the house for more than decoration or impressing the Electrolux Man when he comes calling.
Disconnect the text feature on your cell phone and send a letter -- or even an e-mail.
And then write one to your member of Congress, telling him what you think about something -- anything.
--NASA has found water on Mars. Probably left there by tourists. Although, maybe not, since there are no Poland Spring bottles.
--A clothing store in Ohio has opened up a bar on the sales floor. It isn't improving business. But the owners don't care -- at least not in their present condition.
--What makes potato chips taste good? Among other things, a chemical called acrylamide, formed naturally in the cooking process. One small problem: Acrylamide causes cancer in lab rats -- so make sure your's doesn't have any.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®