Real Talk, No Kevin Hart / Social Experiments

Reading is Fundamental


Let me start this rant with a piece of legislation from South Carolina circa 1740

“Whereas, the having slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconveniences; Be it enacted, that all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach or cause any slave or slaves to be taught to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe, in any manner of writing whatsoever, hereafter taught to write, every such person or persons shall, for every such offense, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.”

Basically they didn’t want slaves to read and get ideas and share those ideas with other slaves and maybe think…”hmm maybe massa beating the shit out of me for no reason isn’t a good idea, and I’m bigger than him and there’s more of me than him so…”.  Education could possibly bring down the whole thing the country was built on.  And the law was just for those caught teaching a slave to read, what happened to the slaves themselves was way worse.

Cut to recent years, there is a constant barrage of people, of all races, claiming…wait…PROUDLY exclaiming, their hatred of reading.

When’s the last time you read a book?

I don’t understand how this is acceptable behavior.  I was raised reading books.  At 2 or so I memorized some Dr. Seuss and would “read” page by page freaking my mom out.  I spent time at the library doing libraryish things.  Read 20 books a summer get a pizza coupon.  Check.  Suffer through the assigned reading at school because they made preIB kids do extra stuff like read the horrid Across Five Aprils but love when we got to do things like the mock trial from To Kill a Mocking Bird.  Awesome. Stay up all night to finish Are You There God, It’s Me Maragaret, several Babysitters Clubs, Goosebumbs, and Fear Streets?  Yep.  Spend countless hours and dollars in Borders (RIP) and Half Price Books?  Of course!  Read the book before the movie? After the movie? And then complain how they never get it right? Indeed.  Make a goal to read about 30 books this year and beat myself up for only being at 2.75?  That’s me right exactly this minute.

And maybe I’m just on the extreme nerd side of the spectrum.  And maybe my friends are just uber nerds who can sit and have conversations about books for hours.  And maybe I am a little odd for gifting books for people I barely know or sending friends eBook gift cards for no good reason.  I read lots of blogs.  I write fiction for fun.  I don’t expect everyone to follow my lead.

No wait.  I do expect everyone to follow my lead.  I expect people to enjoy reading someone else’s perspective on a subject.  I expect people to expand horizons and maybe learn about a subject that they didn’t know much about.  Or just kick back and be entertained by something more stimulating than Twitter.  Especially when it’s littered with phrases like “dat look gud”.  And I try so hard not to sound bitter when people come up to me talking while I am clearly reading a book (of Kindle) like I was a nerd that got beat by the non-nerds (I wasn’t) but it just pisses me off the utter lack of respect for reading that’s allowed.  I’m bound to get more respect when they see the white cords coming out my ear or see the phone attached to my head “oh oh you’re busy, let me leave you alone.” READING IS BUSY! I’ve escaped from the office and was worlds away until a jackass comes in talking about TPS Reports (what movie???).

I think people should always be reading something.  Learning something.  Thinking about something.  Wtf else are you doing with your time?

Go get a book and read it.  Go to a news site.  Read it. If you see someone reading, respect it, or politely ask what they’re reading, and then go read it.  Is it possible you’d be bored?  Yes, but I read Wuthering Heights so just shutup.  The phrase “Knowledge is Power” isn’t just some arbitrary shit to get kids to read.  Knowledge used to be outlawed for a lot of people.  If this was 1740, I’d be fined thousands.

What are you currently reading?  What are you reading next?  Why don’t you read more?  Why is it okay for people to boisterously exclaim they DON’T read? 

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One thought on “Reading is Fundamental

  1. I’m in the same boat as you (as far as being nerdy and all that jazz goes)…although, I have to say, I’m pretty ashamed at my lack of reading this past year. It’s been horriffic. I almost feel like I *should* proclaim “I don’t read!” b/c that’s how much I haven’t read. lol. But, when I *do* read, I love Brit chick lit. For whatever reason, I love imagining that I have some smart brit bestie and we get to have coffee on King’s Row and talk about how uptight those Yankees can be. lol. For whatever reason, I’ve been reading tooooons of blogs now, but no books. I think I’ll get back to half price (b/c I hate Barnes & Noble) next payday. Thanks! 🙂

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