Monday, April 30, 2007

Charles Johnson Doesn't Read Chick Lit (And He Doesn't Want You To Waste Your Time Doing So, Either)

Guest writing for the Seattle P-I, Charles Johnson discusses what he describes as a 'post-literate' culture, and offers what he considers to be a simple solution to the problem: complex, visionary writing. To read the entire essay, click here.

A few choice excerpts have been reprinted below -- rearranged, taken out of context and with no prior permission from the author or publication:

"There is overwhelming evidence that we have fewer and fewer truly literate, to say nothing of truly learned, people today...Only thirty-one percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. They're told to go to college in order to get a better job, and that's OK. But the real task is to produce educated people...For the first time in our history, less than half the adult population reads fiction, poetry or plays. Former New York Times Book Review editor Charles McGrath said of that study, 'The really scary news in 'Reading at Risk' is tucked away on Page 22: While the number of people reading literature has gone down, the number of people trying to write it has actually gone up. We seem to be slowly turning into a nation of 'creative writers,' more interested in what we have to say ourselves than in reading or thinking about what anyone else has to say.'"

Ouch. He's not referring to blogs, is he?