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Friday, August 19, 2005

The Guardian UK points to a question that sort of plagues me: why do people feel guilty about not reading? It sort of goes back to the whole "dead white men" culture war that was so hot during the 80s. Back then, conservatives treated books like flossing or vitamin E, something that must be "good for you" because it's not really pleasant in itself.

The Guardian thing is more about middlebrow guilt (snobbery?) about "not reading." I have that towards myself, about not reading enough, or not reading good enough/smart enough books. Maybe it goes back to status?

I remember reading something that Christopher Hitchens said about how, going from the front of a plane to the back, the reading habits change. In first class, no one reads; in business, people read beach books; in coach people read The Mill on the Floss. The people in coach are striving for status; the people in first class, hey, they've already got it, baby.

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