Monday, November 17, 2008

America the Illiterate

America the Illiterate by Chris Hedges on

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clich├ęs. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

I'll admit I love Chris Hedges' writing. His book "War is a force that gives us meaning" is a great read. For me it was a slow read, as every page made me stop and think. But its a wonderful book.


Nannie said...

hedges states:
"There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book."

He takes alot of good heat at TD for this, however it is not from "trolls" just interested people.

Samson said...

I've always felt like I lived a double life. I work a corporate job in the suburbs. I like to live in the city, and always know a different group of people there.

Its amazing how often you meet someone who seems intelligent and active. But if you let them use your computer to write a resume or a flyer, you quickly realize that they are semi-illiterate. They can't spell and they can barely compose a sentence.

Think about even the work place and ask yourself how many people there you see reading a book. I work in a high tech office, and still if its 50-50% on having read one book in the last year I'd be surprised.

To me, I read this and it struck me as being very true. Of course, that's a problem for old stick in the mud types like me who like to write. But maybe its an opportunity for those who get their message across with you-tube vids.