Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1 in 4 Americans Have Not Read a Book in the Past YEAR? What Gives?

The stats are incredible, and truly make a (real) patriot fret that his countrymen are moving far from the injunction offered by Thomas Jefferson, in his 'Notes on Virginia':

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories. AND TO RENDER THEM SAFE, THEIR MINDS MUST BE IMPROVED."

The last sentence is emphasized by me in the manner in which I believe Jefferson would have wished his words to be attended to. The improvement of minds here denoting the attention to events occurring in one's nation and especially reading and processing those events, as well as those which have gone before - in BOOKS! And no, not those thin little synopses or 'Notes' on this or that. Full fledged books!

Like James Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable,  or any of James Bamford's books on the NSA  (e.g. Body of Secrets, The Puzzle Palace)  or even any classic book, such as The Iliad, or Dickens' Tale of Two Cities.  Or even just a terrific science fiction work, such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy or Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Stranger Land, or Poul Anderson's Brain Wave -  about the Earth passing out of a 'mental inhibiting' field in its course of motion through the galaxy (as part of the solar system) causing everyone's IQs to shoot through the roof - so much so that they are no longer content with doing regular work, or regular tasks - and the entire edifice of modern civilization is threatened.

Books to engender the seeds of  critical thought in the mind and hence postpone its deterioration into a three pound glob of gray jelly!  Yet evidently millions of Americans are allowing brains to degenerate in just such fashion.
The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann pointed out Tuesday that:
The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.”
This is absolutely incredible! But it also helps to explain why so many polls taken recently appear to show the mindlessness that Jefferson worried about, especially a recent one showing 61 percent favoring Snowden stand trial - for being a REAL Patriot! (The NSA Gnome James Clapper has demanded he "return the documents" he took and called him a "hypocrite" but it's the lying Clapper who's the hypocrite! All the more reason people need to get off FB and read Bamford's books!)
Some have opined (e.g. on salon.com) that  "the details of the Pew report are quite interesting and somewhat counterintuitive."
They note that among American adults, women were more likely to have read at least one book in the last 12 months than men. Also, blacks were more likely to have read a book than whites or Hispanics. People aged 18-29 were more likely to have read a book than those in any other age group. (Stands to reason if they're in college, getting ready for it or recently graduated. For most people the college years represent the apex of their intellectual development which encompasses reading different books)
Most troubling, there  was little difference in readership among urban, suburban and rural population.  This may also not be too surprising since consumerism is often tied to imitation, and whatever some 'book club' honors is often the book most read. Very few people tend to venture outside their comfort zones.  (Bible readers least of all, though they think they have all the answers there, which they don't)
What one hopes is that this is merely a passing aberration. There are some signs many people are moving away from Facebook, for example, and going back to more productive time pursuits such as reading for edification, or even taking online college courses. However, I wouldn't be too quick to say the days of Facebook are numbered.
But it is certainly true that the more time a citizen invests in Twitter, Facebook or 'Angry Birds' (letting the NSA have open season on him) the less time he has for opening a book or reading it. After all, the hours in a day are limited, so it's a zero sum game.
If Jefferson were around today, he'd tell Americans to get off the social media sites and get back to some book reading!

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