Want a good scare?

otheng otheng at kinghenry8.coventry.sch.uk
Fri May 18 11:11:15 EDT 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: Ruth Pitt <ruthssp at earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: Want a good scare?

> I'm thinking that maybe the author had a hard time proving the premise
> because the Washington area is actually a *very* literate one.  I was
> looking around my Metro subway car on the way home this evening, and
> about 12-15 people were reading books ranging from bestsellers through
> scholarly texts to the Bible  (I was re-reading The Once and Future
> King, myself).   Another dozen or so were reading either newspapers or
> magazines.  A few nights ago, I even caught someone reading The Two
> Towers!  And the number reading in the morning is even higher - in the
> evening, the office workers might be suffering a bit of eyestrain, I
> guess.
> So, lacking any better concrete examples for the article, out came the
> arch little remarks.
> The situation is bad, but it's not *that* bad.

I was very struck by the fact that the article itself was very much in
"journalese" - one sentence per paragraph, each point very loudly signalled
and most made twice. It struck me as being less than wholly literate itself!

I remember, over twenty years ago now, being told that the average household
in Britain contained four books. I must be depriving a lot of households to
reach that! But it just isn't true really. People aren't necessarily reading
"good books", but they are definitely still reading.

It struck me as an article written to fill a space - it wasn't even a
response to particularly recent research.

I really want to believe this, BTW.<g>


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