or read on…
What got me started on this column was the annoying notion that many folks pay little attention to process and focus their interest solely on the next thing.
One reader begins a book, loses interest, scans a few pages, then reads the last page, puts it aside and reports that that was a pretty good read. I find many a partially-read book at the Museum of Fond Memories.
In a movie theatre, I’m seated early to catch the previews, get a good seat, watch the animated logos and titles and credits and prepare myself for a good story…then sit past the ending till all the crawls have, well, crawled away. This is becoming more difficult to do, since moviegoers often chaotically come in during the first few scenes, try to find a seat, block the view of those behind them, chat loudly to their entourage, even go so far as to ask us early-arrivers to move down two seats so they can get their gear into the row—guaranteeing that I’ll have to sit behind one large guy nicknamed Booger, who has two tubs of popcorn and a supersize-gulper spread across two seats while his companion texts and giggles, never once looking at the screen.
Then, while the final scene is gearing up for the emotional punch, some moviegoers start rising, gathering their life’s belongings, stretching to occlude the screen, and generally making snarky remarks to one another while the credits disappear from my view.
Would these same people read a book, skipping the first chapter entirely and tearing out the last two pages before reading them, then report that they had read the book?
At a poetry reading, I count 35% of the crowd gazing into their laps, texting, googling, looking up missed call numbers. Are the poets chopped liver?
Maybe we could found a nudist movie theatre/lecture hall/reading room where attendees are not allowed to bring anything with them except their attention. Would we then have a crowd of people who actually heard the story, saw the story, appreciated the story as it was meant to be received? Or would we just have a roomful of naked people who can’t wait to leave and do something important, something truncated and incomplete and quite bereft of meaning?
There, I said it and I’m glad. Since you haven’t bothered to read down to the last line, I don’t think you’ll get to appreciate this wonderful quote from Confucius: “By the time a man begins to smell himself, everybody else has been smelling him for three days.”
Sorry for all this—every year or two, I just gotta do a rant
(c) 2012 A.D. by Jim Reed