I really, truly think it’s a shame that, as “Rogue Columnist” Jon Talton points out, fewer men are reading books these days. Honest! I do! However, I strongly disagree with many of the points Talton makes in his piece. I tried to make some counter-arguements in a longer version of this post, but failed due to constraints of time and space. Maybe one day I’ll try again.
For now, though, my main annoyance with Talton’s post is this: I don’t know if “our society’s collapse into widespread anti-intellectualism” is really happening, but even the most rabid anti-intellectualism would be entirely justified if intellectuals, following Talton’s lead, started going around calling people “simpletons” who live in “mental poverty” just because they don’t read as many books as he does.
I also strongly, but much less strongly, object to Talton’s blanket dismissal of graphic novels. Daniel Clowes’s Eightball #23 (The Death Ray), for instance, is every bit as good and smart and challenging as a really smashing short story.
In closing, books are great, and you should do your best to encourage everyone to read more books, but for God’s sake please don’t be a jerk about it. And there’s nothing shameful about reading comic books.
-Norm De Plume