Hawk's Nest

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Americans kick a habit: Reading

I've known this for a long time. Perhaps most significant to me is that this survey is looking at pleasure reading. Non-pleasure, reading done voluntarily, not for work or school, is something around 12% (when last I checked). The decline of reading in general is truly alarming. Public discourse and debate is watered down. Education declines. And emotionalism as a common method of interacting, whether born out physically in a rise in violence or broken families, is resulting. The visual medium, for the most part bound to TV watching, has accelerated this slide. The future looks even grimmer.

If you want to explore this more, Neil Postman enlightened us about this 18 years ago in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse In the Age of Show Business. It is a profound book about the impact of the visual medium on the way we think. It is a "must read" on my all-time book list. But you do have to READ it.


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