Sunday, November 25, 2007


My spotter sent me this interesting article, which reacts to the recent NEA report that "Less than half of the adult American population now reads literature" -- i.e., novels, short stories, plays or poetry read in leisure time. (I'm among the majority, since I almost never read any of these genres and rarely have leisure time.) The author wonders if lurking counts as reading:
Which brings me to my lurking problem. I can’t tell whether lurking is a devious violation of Web ethics or a return to luxurious nonparticipatory reading. I do know it seems indulgent. When I lurk, I relax, fall silent, become a cosseted 19th-century baroness whose electronic servants bring her funny pictures and distracting tales. I have no responsibilities. I’m entirely on intake. If I were reading Tolstoy or Anita Shreve this way, I’d be an N.E.A.-certified exemplar of civilization.
When it's put that way, leisure reading sounds incredibly selfish, doesn't it? What a new world we have, in which reading is meant to be interactive, constantly coupled with writing, and grounded in factual rather than fictional dramas.

Virginia Heffernan - The Medium - Television - Internet Video - Media - New York Times

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