h = o = t + i = n = k
Literary Wet Dreams?
May 30, 1997
s there any pleasure more fulfilling than curling up with a fine book?
The meaty feel of it in your hand, the sensuality of the cover, the
hedonism of losing yourself within the logical fantasy created by ink on
paper. As your mind to reassemble the writer's thoughts in their new home,
the world seems to fall away.
For some, this delight is a philosophical tome, best enjoyed in the frayed
easy chair near the reading lamp. But maybe you prefer a bad book by the
beach, or a biography on the bus. Ultimately, the most satisfying element
of your evening's leisure holds true whatever your poison; the guaranteed,
if fleeting thought, "Thank God I'm Not One of Those Clods Watching TV."
But we readers hate TV watching for more reasons than its soft and squishy
accessibility. TV seems to be killing off brain cells in the general
("could be reading a good book instead of watching Mad About You") public.
And the idiot box's penchant for reducing American culture to half hour
snax has had unfortunate repercussions in the literary world. Why? Short
attention spans crush the creation of voluptuous literature. This is why
Little Women had to be "adapted" for its post-movie audience, recreated as
a watered-down novelette better suited for today's flabby brains. America
has drifted away from its literate past, and it seems TV is the villain.
Yet what real difference is there between the immobile literati and the
Sunday Afternoon Warriors? The essential activity performed by each is
identical; their eyes are moving from side to side. And you, dear reader,
may feel intellectually superior cuddling your little leather-bound honey
in your hands, but the truth is that your self-absorbed activity has the
same goal as the average couch potato. You are are doing nothing more
noble than entertaining yourself, intellectually beating off, sucking off
the work of others like a whore earning a quick twenty.
However, you may believe that you, a reader, might one day add to the
world as a writer. And occasionally the non-fiction lover does turn his
fireside research into a fine history; the science fiction fan may send
people into strange universes of her own creation. Or, perhaps, an
inspired reader may turn to painting, or performance, or some other
Fat chance. The fact is that you, like most readers once they have left
school, will produce nothing. You prefer to walk through life, feeling a
sense of superiority about how YOU waste your time, ignoring the hard fact
that without TV to kick around, you would have to face the fact that what
you are actually doing consists of sitting on your ass and letting other
people do the work of living in this world.
So, until you create, YOU, oh reader, are just as much of a social
parasite as any bum with glazed eyes and remote-control induced stress
injuries. And get out of the way of the TV, would you? It's almost 8:00,
and I want to watch Friends.
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