Thursday, April 28, 2005

You Are What You Read

Watch out, everyone. Ladies in particular.

According to grad student Susan Darker-Smith what you read shapes who you are, and who you will become. When little girls read fairy tales they are bound to live as helpless, unconfident worry warts when they reach adulthood. Apparently all those princess desires as a kid places women into an eternal holding pattern, always waiting for Prince Charming to come to the rescue and solve all of their problems.


This is actually an old idea.

Nowadays we remember Gutenberg as an icon for free speech. By bringing the world the printing press he gave society the potential for free thought. But at the time, books were often feared by the general public. People didn't understand them and they thought words on a page were a way to control people. If you happened to read a text written by the devil, his arcane words would work their way into your eyes, past your brain and infect your immortal soul for eternity. The only defense, many thought, was simply not being able to read and these people were more than happy to leave reading, and higher thought, to the church.


I know all of this to be true.

As a wee child, when I only read publications with Marvel Comics emblazoned on the top corner of the cover, I developed interesting abilities.
I could lift cars over my head, swing to school everyday on long strands of webbing, and I possessed a supernatural sense for any and all troubles around the playground. Unfortunately, it didn't last forever. My mom introduce me to Beverly Clearly, and my spider-powers were promptly replaced with a house full of rodents flying and driving around in all my star wars vehicles. And later, when I hit high-school and only read books with dragons on the cover, I refused to go anwhere without my trusty magic sword and goblin sidekick.

Nowadays I mostly read books about disaffected youth and adults. Directionless people searching listlessly for meaning in empty jobs, hobbies, and relationships. So it's really not my fault I'm in a job I don't enjoy. And it's certainly not my fault that I don't write or play bass as much as I would like. It's the fault of all these damn books I read.

How nice to be removed from any and all responsibility for my life!

Now that I know the real problem, the solution is easy. I'm on my way to library to check out the complete works of Mitch Albom and all the inspiring essays I can scrounge by Dr. Phil.



LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hee, good post. Good for you! Go get 'em!

That is really dumb, and it gets on my nerves when people assume that most people are so damned impressionable or stupid. Those are the people who would also imagine that people need rules and regulations for every single step in life because people are too stupid to survive otherwise.

Now, I wouldn't say that pop culture doesn't in some ways shape the way we think about things, but certainly not in the simplistic way this woman imagines.

Hebdomeros said...

I agree completely. Of course it shapes you, but the idea, at least from the article, is that it's the only factor in a person's development. Nothing like good ol' academic twaddle.