Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three Minutes

"The average American spends three minutes a day reading a book."

"The typical American spends an average of about nine and a half hours a day consuming media."

Dick Meyer, Why We Hate Us: American Discontent In The New Millennium, (New York: Crown Publishers, 2008), 87.

I believe we are facing a crisis with the above statistics. The elimination of reading from the diet of input consumption in Americans is alarming. We are literally setting ourselves on the path of ineptitude. It will not be long before the vast majority of the leadership of the United States will be non-readers. They will be heavy consumers of technology & media - but with little regard for reading & knowledge development. That is another way of spelling doom. The worst part of it all is that the majority of Americans do not blink an eye at these statistics. They might feign shock or awe - but the reality is they don't care.

It takes a certain amount of discipline to read. I understand that not everyone enjoys it - but there is something to reading words on paper. There is something to creating your own images, pictures, and ideas instead of having a screen show them to you. There is something to thinking about what might a book be communicating instead of just consuming & beliving whatever screen it is you get your info from. It doesn't take any effort to consume media. It takes no brain power or ability. It is just given to you. It is beyond crystal clear that the lack of reading in America will destroy our power to think, reason, struggle, and be well-rounded citizens. Unfortunately, it seems we just don't care enough to change.


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