Friday, June 13, 2014
A Conspiracy of Dunces
This map demonstrates how little Americans read compared to those in other countries. Less than one hour a day on average, and that averages in avid readers like my husband and I who tend to read several hours a day - and almost none of that is reading text messages. We read books, newspapers, and magazines. I would read even more if I could, but it appears that there is a conspiracy to keep me watching television. Too often I find myself with a block of time in which I might be able to read, and would actually like to read, but find it difficult to find a spot away from a television (generally tuned to either a so-called "news" show, or daytime talk show) in which I can read in peace. Television sets seem to have proliferated especially in doctor's offices; airport waiting lounges; jury waiting rooms; and regrettably, almost every flat surface at the University where I work. Fortunately the Library is still a tv-free zone, although I recognize that anyone can turn any of our computers into a television if they want. They would have to borrow head phones though, allowing those who still wish to pursue scholarship through reading to do so. I was pleased to discover that my daughter's pediatrician's waiting room eschewed the television set when they moved the office. I always found it ironic that some inane show that we wouldn't ever watch at home was playing every time we went to the doctor's office, and then the doctor would be sure to ask us how much television she watched! I did point this irony out to the pediatrician.