Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cherry Bomb

I was supposed to write about the 'Cherry Bomb' this evening, but the story is too gruesome.

Getting back to an earlier subject, by definition; the word 'elite' means the top layer, the cream of the crop, the unusually successful, by whatever circumstances of birth or good fortune. I think it also implies privilege, entitlement and expectation of deference. Phooey on that.

But you needn't be elite in any area to enjoy and benefit from intellectual pursuit. What you must be is curious, mentally adventurous and self-confident enough to realize that what you discover can only increase your awareness, enjoyment and informed appreciation.

It's been easy for you and me. We not only like to read; we need to read. We've been reading since we've been old enough to hold a book. I'd like to describe my taste in books as catholic, but I think the better word would be 'indiscriminate'. I've read crap and I've read classics. And when I've been stuck in the bathroom without a book, I've read the ingredients on the toothpaste tube. If you read that much, you can't help learning something!

If I ruled the world, I would take all those people who are capable of reading (and don't), put them in a locked and sound-proofed room with a comfortable chair, good-lighting (toilet ensuite) and a copy of 'Candide' or 'Huckleberry Finn', or 'A Short History of Nearly Everything.'. And when they'd finished those I'd toss in copies of 'Mind Swap', 'My Family and Other Animals' and 'Onions in the Stew'. Then they'd have to read 'Life on Earth, 'The Dancing Wu Li Masters' and Bronowski's "Ascent of Man'. They'd be better people when they came out of that room. Hungrier, smellier and grumpier, but better!

People don't want to become informed because it's hard work for most of them. They also might find out something that would shake their image of the world. If Joe Blow learns about the difference between the specific gravity of saltwater and freshwater, he might begin to understand the consequences of all that cold, freshwater that's running off of our shrinking glaciers. If he learns that the country's infrastructure is being neglected in favor of tax rebates and the costs of war, he might think twice before driving over that big old bridge.

I'm yawning and my eyes are tired. Blog on!

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