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I dun think i evar red a book in my life lol

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dcc001, May 31, 2010.

  1. Dcc001

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    This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Why does this generation revel in ignorance?

    An excellent book (which means, sadly, you'd have to read) is Mark Bauerlein's The Dumbest Generation. In it, he counters the arguments people make regarding reading. Some common ones are:
    - The skills previous generations put into reading have now been transferred to online material.
    - This generation is MORE social, given all the new venues of social media, just not in the traditional way we consider 'social'
    - This generation has MORE motivation with its children; again, it's just non-traditional.

    Bauerlein essentially says that this is garbage. While a very small percentage of kids are better read and more active than previous years (you know, the soccer parents who have all three of their kids playing five different sports AND enrolled in a book club AND they're honours students and and and...), the majority have lost both social and comprehension skills, big time. That's sad.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, I can't recommend this book enough: Adler & Van Doren's How To Read A Book. No, it's not a grammar lesson or a course in how to read English. Rather they break down all genres of literature (fiction, poetry, scientific, etc) and explain how to best extract the most information you can from the text. Did you know how important a table of contents is? Did you know that you can glean enough info from a book in under half an hour to speak coherently about its content? If not, then read this book.

    To use some vernacular: people who don't read for pleasure are retarded.
     
  2. Nettdata

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    This never ceases to amaze me.

    There are some people that I know don't read because of some learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, but they try and make up for it by learning via other means.

    And I think that's the bigger issue... it's not about reading, it's about learning.

    Some people look at learning or school as something they have to do, and then when they're done, they coast, not having to do anything after that.

    Sure, the world needs ditch diggers and factory workers and minimum-wage earning old dudes delivering my pizza, but I'm just glad I'm not one of them.

    My job means that I learn a shit-load ALL THE TIME. It's never-ending. Technology is changing at a mind-boggling rate and it takes a lot of work to keep up with even the basic concepts of what's going on, never mind digging into the details.

    It's one of the things that I love about my job... it never gets boring, and there's always something new to learn.

    I'd eat a gun if I had to work at a factory,

    The problem is that over the past 1.5 years I've been working such long hours in such a new field that I've spent all my spare time learning an entirely new tech stack, so I've not had a chance to do any non-technical reading, and I miss it.

    I have a month-long trip to a beach planned soon, and I'm sooo looking forward to just lying in the shade on the beach getting hammered and reading and relaxing.
     
  3. Disgustipated

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    Reading is a form of exercise for the brain, and generally the most readily available one. I have to read copious amounts of reports, opinions, research articles and the like for work (and write them). But when I come home I read for pleasure as well.

    I generally find that people who don't read much tend to lack in terms of things like imagination, conceptual understanding and reading comprehension (when they do read). Of course everyone is different, but I have friends who read a lot and friends that don't at all. No matter what their backgrounds or jobs, those that read tend to be better communicators AND have the ability to relate concepts. While those that don't read may be just as good at communication, their subject matter often lacks substance and understanding.

    To a certain extent it doesn't matter what you read, but in my opinion it's a lot like food. If you just read garbage all day, don't expect to get much mental nutrition from it.
     
  4. BL1Y

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    I'm not sure what's worse, the tiny number of books some people have read, or that the few books they are reading is shit like The Secret.
     
  5. Mike Ness

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    Honestly, if they are reading anything it's ok. If the start with Jose Canseco's juiced at least they are reading. These are not people that have LD's or anything they are proud that they don't read.

    It was like the joke in high school when you would accuse your dad of tricking you into learning something, but much, much worse.

    My point BL1Y, is I would rather people read "The power of now" than nothing. Chater and I have both read all three Dan Brown books (largely regarded as literary crap) and I enjoyed them.

    The book I just finished, re-read actually was The Count of Monte Cristo, if you can someone to enjoy one book they will keep going.

    People who are proud of being stupid amaze me, of course I belong and have 800 rep points on something called the idiot board. Go figure.
     
  6. BL1Y

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    I wouldn't really care if the only stuff they'd read was Juiced, or Dan Brown, or Harry Potter, or even Sex and the City. But, I've found books like The Secret and Power of Now tend to make people even dumber for having read them. If you never read, you're more likely to believe the bullshit in the only thing you do read.
     
  7. Primer

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    I am one of the few in my group of friends who actively reads for pleasure. Of all the time I've spent living with four of them, I've never seen them pick up a book, sit on the couch and read it cover to cover.

    That said, one of my other friends who does read and I have a theory about this. I read because it's what my father does when he's bored, we didn't grow up in a incredibly rich home so we made do with what we had. Books are a cheap, viable source for entertainment and generally a interesting way to spend your day. My dad read, therefore, my brother and I read. All of my friends who also read for pleasure say that their parents read for pleasure when they were young and they, as children, also read for fun. It carries on into adulthood and Bob's your uncle.
     
  8. Kampf Trinker

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    I think having parents who read helps, but at the same time it seems to me that about 1/3 of people in their 40/50s read, whereas only 1/15 (or something horribly low) in their 20s regularly read. I don't know the real numbers, but I'm fairly certain there's a huge disparity there.

    It pisses me off how few people read. It seems like many just view it as a waste of time. What's really funny to me though is that when you talk to someone who doesn't read, and they finally pick up a book, they always tell you they loved it. Then they just go back to not reading again. Strange, I think a lot of it has to do with laziness. If people read maybe they would be able to write intelligently. I just finished college and whenever I was writing a paper in a group I wanted to choke every member.
     
  9. mad5427

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    Another sad aspect here is how many great books get made into mediocre or worse, shitty movies. I'm sure the number is very low for the amount of people who actually go out and read a book that a movie was based on.

    Not that this represents great literature, but take Harry Potter for example. I know so many people who have seen all the movies and absolutely refuse to read the books. There is a reason that people always say that the books are usually so much better than the movies. The books in almost every case go so much more into detail and can present things from many more angles and often will fill in gaps that the movies just can't fill. The Godfather is probably one of the few examples where the movie is on par if not better than the book. I'd put Silence of the Lambs as a movie better than the book as well, but those are rarities.

    More often than not, I'll watch something, find out it was a book first and then seek out the book to get the better experience. Or if I know it's a book, I'll try to read that before I watch the movie.

    Back to the main topic at hand, it's sad that so few people read these days. The more I read different, interesting characters, both fiction and non-fiction,the more I'm gaining a little more understanding of this world and even myself.

    I hope that when my little girl gets to reading age, my wife and I can foster an interest in reading.
     
  10. MoreCowbell

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    Why is this a generational thing? Haven't people been not-reading-books since...well, the invention of books?

    Plenty of people didn't read Dickens when Dickens was still alive. Is there any proof that we read any more or less than previous generations?
     
  11. Nettdata

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    I've never seen any other generation take PRIDE in the fact that they don't read. It's only very recently that they wear it like a badge of honour.
     
  12. Saint

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    I have 3 young boys ranging from 13 to 3 and it astonishes me how the older boys’ peer group looks at bad grades and ignorance as a badge of honor. I don’t give a shit if you are a PHD or a ditch digger, human beings should constantly be acquiring knowledge and bettering themselves through whatever medium. I have had long thoughtful conversations with heavy equipment operators on a wide variety of topics ranging from stem cell research (no, not the religious knee jerk kind) to alternate energy sources. The one thing all these people have in common is that regardless of their “station” in life all of them have made the conscious choice to continue to grow intellectually. I apologize for climbing on my soapbox here but I am getting extremely tired of my kids coming home from school and having to spend 2+ hours supplementing their education because a bunch of lazy motherfuckers only teach “the test”. It is an uphill fight but I will not have my kids growing up thinking that MTV (the current incarnation) or Hannah Montana is the height of western civilization and education. (Incoherent rant finished, back to your regular programming….BOOBIES)
     
  13. Subito

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    But how many of those people were proud that they didn't read books? Not to mention the amount of kids going to college now compared to 1840, there are way more opportunities, people just chose not to take advantage of them and I think that's the problem. They don't see the benefit in reading. And have you read a college paper recently? Maybe I'm spoiled from taking advanced English classes in high school, but some of these papers would've seemed terrible to me when I was in sixth grade. The grammar and spelling mistakes some kids make even though they've been learning the language for twenty years are baffling. When you think it's perfectly fine to compare The Epic of Gilgamesh to Step Brothers in a formal paper, there's a problem.
     
  14. dixiebandit69

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    I think this is a big factor right there. In grade school, you are FORCED to read things, even if it is something you don't like. That makes people associate negative thoughts with reading.
    Same things with other forms of learning. They would rather watch some crap like American Idol than watch something on one of the Discovery channels. They'd rather watch stupid videos on YouTube than read this board or Maddox's site.

    I remember this one time I went to go visit one of my friends, and they were watching "Loose Change." I tried to expaine that "documentaty" was all crap, and I told them to read Maddox's take on it. When I brought this up on the screen, they flat out told me "I'm not going to read all that." Very well, continue on with your head firmly up your ass.
     
  15. PaleBlueDot

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    #15 PaleBlueDot, May 31, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  16. MoreCowbell

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    Even the most cursory glance of American history reveals this not to be the case.


    Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life was published in 1964.

    Adlai Stevenson was roundly considered as "too intellectual" when he ran for president.

    Anti-intellectual attitudes have a long, long history in human life. Phrases such as "book learning" (rarely used positively, you'll note), "egghead," "over-educated," etc. didn't come into the Western lexicon yesterday. One of the most common motifs of American culture is the appeal of the "common man" over the sophisticate. Sarah Palin is not really breaking new ground there.


    Doesn't this show a universality of sentiment? No. But there's little proof that any such sentiment is universal today.

    Is it more common today than at some previous point in time? Maybe. But I've seen scant proof thereof.

    On the other hand, what I've seen plenty of proof of is a trend to glorify older generations, while talking about the sloth and mediocrity of "kids today." Our grandfathers walked 7 miles to school in the snow (uphill both ways!), and read every book in the library of Alexandria!
     
  17. ec88

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    Whenever I recommend TV shows to friends, they ALWAYS watch and get into the show.

    Whenever I recommend those same friends a good book that I had just read, their response is usually something along the lines of, "Fuck that."

    Luckily, my dad loves to read so we swap books whenever I go home.
     
  18. manbehindthecurtain

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    Since no one is using any data to support their claims, I guess I'll do the same and disagree with everyone else.

    I assert that as a whole, our society is probably better read now than at any other point, it's just that we aren't reading classic literature or the Bible 24-7. The pride in ignorance you guys see is more likely a result of giving ignorant people, who have been around forever, an electronic mouthpiece via the internet. 100 years ago, these people were just fucking pigs out in the barn, and would never have a chance to share their ignorance with those of us in the learned class.
     
  19. ecc1290

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    I just graduated high school last year, so I definitely know what everyone here is talking about. But as someone so young, I don't know first hand what factors influenced members of older generations to read more, although I could guess. Were parents more attentive and doing a better job reinforcing good habits? Were there less options to occupy free time? Whatever the reasons, I think I have a good idea of why my generation, for the most part, doesn't read.

    It all comes down to what a good job the main stream media has done at sucking up people's attention and sending a very subtle but powerful message that such and such are the things you need to like and be informed about, and if you're not, you can kiss your social life and self-esteem goodbye. And in case it isn't obvious, reading is definitely not one of those things.

    Let me give an example from my high school to illustrate my point. There was a kid, in the grade above me, named Max. Max's father was a teacher at the school, a teacher that everyone knew, who was respected for being smart, but in a lot of other ways was kind of a laughing stock because of how strange he could be. Max was sort of a less intense version of Dad. It was well known that Max's father forbade having a television (and I think computers) in the home so that his family would read and be more educated. There was also a rumor that went around that they would have family "reading sessions" where they would sit in a circle facing each other and not talk or eat, but all just be immersed in a book. I don't know if the rumor was true or not, but in either case, it helps make my argument. Basically, the family disconnected itself from the modern day media and as such Max and his father were both very quirky by the standards of the rest of the student body, and as such, outcast.

    The two kind of typified what everyone was scared of. To deviate from the group think would be like to publicly proclaim yourself an atheist during the Inquisition: you'd be royally fucked, with rare exception. I saw it across the board as well, the people that were maladjusted were actually more likely to read. I don't know why, but I'm confident that the correlation holds true. Not to say that reading is weird, but rather it was an indicator that someone was socially awkward. It's sort of like the kids who refused to drink or try smoking weed. It wasn't specifically because they wouldn't drink or smoke that made them strange, but there was an undeniable relationship between the two.

    I was no exception. I've always been a reader and also was a loner at my school and could never connect with any of the clicks. From my observations, young people don't read anymore because the type of attributes that reading develops, which have been discussed in this thread, aren't valued. Humans being the social creatures that they are will do things to conform to those that they interact with most, and if a kid wants to have the best shot at connecting with his classmates, reading a book would (correctly) be a stunningly low priority. Actually, only after reading IHTSBIH and coming to Tucker's site a few years ago did I realize that it was possible to be both a voracious reader and a well-adjusted person except in rare circumstances.
     
  20. Evildreams

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    I'm in a similar situation, my friends think I'm joking whenever I say that I read for pleasure.

    A month or so ago I was in a bar, and a friend comes over and to thank me about an author I recommended (a couple of weeks before I had told him that I was reading a book by Dostoevsky) and he starts telling me how he's enjoying the book. A friend who I was drinking with (and I've known this guy for about five years now) says;

    Is this a book you've had to read for university?
    Me: No
    Then why are you reading it? <looking at us confused>
    Me: I just like to read books
    <He looks at us trying to understand the joke> You're joking right?


    Unfortunately most people my age have this mentality. I can't understand how you can be in University/college without reading books.



    Also, I have to disagree with the poster who claims that reading books like twilight (I gave up halfway through the first book) isn't of use. Maybe some people who read books like these will continue to read books without literary value all their lives, but then there are others who will progress to better books.