Sent: Monday, March 06, 2000 3:10 PM
Subject: We're gonna need a bigger boat.
"What are you reading for?" A question I originally heard as a port of a joke from the late, great Bill Hicks. I have heard it since, because I was reading. I swear that someone asked me this outside the PCP/PHP office I worked as a temp at. Now it got me thinking. Who reads? I do. Most of my friends do. People who don't want to pump gas for a living do. Why don't normal people? Sure they read a trashy romance (who can resist Fabio on the cover) and occasionally the paper, but why don't they read actual literature? I read a lot, and I learn a lot from it. Even from fiction.
Why is it that the simple act of reading a book is so foreign to some people? What is it that equates reading with learning, and what is wrong with learning? I read some Hemingway a few months ago, and I found it a delightful experience. I almost cried at the end, it was so sad. Does that mean I am pathetic or something? I am currently reading some Mark Twain. I wonder how that will demean me in the eyes of the illiterate. Since when does a stigma have to be attached to the act of reading?
I enjoy a good book. I will even enjoy a not so good book. I just enjoy the act of letting myself go with a story. That's it! I just figured out why people tend to look down on readers. Imagination! If I allow my mind to create the visuals from a story, instead of renting the movie version; I would be using my imagination. In this modern video game world, there is no longer a place for imagination. Kids no longer play with their minds. They don't know how. The closest they get is in school, where everything is a drag. The line between imagination and entertainment has disappeared. People assume that when they are being entertained, they are being imaginative. This cannot be further from the truth.
Entertainment can spark the imagination, not supplant it. Imagination is the spark of life. If ancient man did not imagine throwing a stick at a wild marmit, the bow and arrow would have never been developed. If ancient man did not ever imagine a dry place to sleep, the lean-to would not have been invented. But now, in our pre-apocalyptic society that we adore so much, who needs to imagine anything? The programmers at Fox keep us enthralled with America's Funniest Police Chases; the other networks keep recycling old stories into new made-for-T.V. mini-series; and cable gives us fourteen hundred and thirty six channels of the same crap, day in and day out. With all of this pre-programmed imagination, there is no reason to do it for ourselves.
No reason to gaze at the clouds and try to figure out what they look like. No reason to pretend to be space adventurers exploring the park as if it were some unknown world. No reason to be a child or see the world through a child's eyes.
I blame the MTV and all of it's spin-offs in society for this lapse in the moral compass of our world. They told us what we like. They told us what we want. They told us a load of crap to deceive us into believing that Generation X is the pinnacle of social development. We don't need to strive for anything, because we don't wanna! We do what we want, when we want, because we can. Having been misconstrued as being a "Generation X"er, I feel that I am superbly qualified to renounce Generation X and all the crap they stand for. I believe in individuality. I believe in personal freedom. I believe in most everything that this generation claims to hold sacred, but I do not believe that slackness in attitudes is appropriate. If you feel a certain way about something, you MUST have a reason to do so. Not just because you saw it on "Yo Celebrity Death Raps in the Real World".
NEWS FLASH: The media is a crock and should be treated as such. Someone's altered view of reality should never be used to supplant one's own view. You should imagine more than you are told to. You should do what you want, because you want to; not because you can. Never accept yourself, you can do better than you think.
Aw, screw it. Go read a book in the park.
-Dave at the SSC Call Center