Friday, March 4, 2016

"Reading for Survival"

                                                                       

As 35% of American conservatives, in some strange fit of mass hysteria, as they choose to commit "collective Hari Kari" to support Donald Trump...the only Republican candidate projected to lose to Hillary Clinton, I can only assume the Trumpers have simply not done their homework.

Back in the 80's, John D. MacDonald, one of my favorite authors, wrote a little book called "Reading For Survival" as part of the Library of Congress's "Celebration of The Book"..an effort to urge more folks to read.

In that little book MacDonald describes the dire consequences for folks who don't read...who react emotionally, and not rationally, to the world about them.  In one succinct passage he brilliantly describes what the world of the non-reader is like:

"The non reader in our culture wants to believe. He is the one born every minute. The world is so vastly confusing and baffling to him that he feels there has to be some simple answer to everything that troubles him. And so, out of pure emptiness, he will eagerly embrace spiritualism, yoga, a banana diet, or some callous frippery like Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard’s personal path to infinite riches, a strange amalgam of sociological truisms and psychological truths masquerading under ind sold to the beginner at a nice profit.”’t reach up out of the dust and grab him by the wallet.”
"My point is that the man who reads is using the fabulous memory storage and relationship analysis of the brain his ancestors developed eons ago. He is facilitating his survival in the contemporary world. He will recognize the pockets of fanaticism around him and know what is causing these universal foci of dementia. Of course, he will be called an egghead or a bleeding heart or a secular humanist, but he can lean back and, in a certain way, enjoy the marvelously crackpot rantings of a Jesse Helms, a Botha, a Meese, a Kohmeni, a Falwell, a Qaddafi, a Gorbachev, an Ortega, a Noriega----people from both ends of every spectrum, whooping and leaping and frothing, absolutely livid at the idea their particular warped vision of reality is not shared by everyone. Their basic lack of education, of reading, of being able to comprehend the great truths of reality has left empty places in their heads, into which great mischief has crept." 

I have spent many hours researching the record of Donald Trump so I remain amazed that folks still support him.  I can only assume those that believe Trump is the answer are those poor "non-readers" who still quiver at the shadows in the night, reach in their pocket for their rabbit's foot, and sadly, through ignorance, will seem to fall for anything.

Post Note:  Please do not give me the false analogy of "it's The Donald or It's Hillary"...there are still plenty of delegates up for grabs...there still remains other choices.  All one need do is educate yourself on the candidates and choose wisely

11 comments:

Jerry Carlin said...

Nice piece! I like J.D. McDonald and so true about non readers. The only conspiracy I believe in is that this dumbing down of our citizens and the failure of our education system is by design. I think it is.

Jeff H said...

I notice even my peers of the past 61 years don't want to be burdened reading newspapers or books. Easier to have someone do their thinking for them and lead them around by the nose. The younger folks are even more attuned to clips and bites of information, fact or not. Hopefully the current situation is a course correction that will leave us with a better government in a few election cycles. I fear this is not the case and the freeloaders have won.

A Modest Scribler said...

Jeff, in both my military and business career I rubbed shoulders with folks who were largely college educated, many with advanced business degrees. And yet I found it extremely hard to find anyone who had not given up reading after college. Found it very hard to find anyone who could converse on a wide range of subjects. I've been an avid reader for nearly all my life, am still curious about many things which keeps my keenness for learning sharp. And, since the inception of the internet I have found a treasure trove of knowledge available at my fingertips. I could only wish that everyone was a equally curious and a seeker of knowledge. Sadly, I have found that not to be true.

Frank Krzesowiak said...

You forget one very big problem. Not all writings put down on paper, onto the internet, into a book is the truth. As an example, there was a description of a video of Hillary and a young Black Girl yesterday. I read a couple accounts of the exchange and both claimed she was rude and dismissal of the girl. If I had walked away, I would have another straw to throw onto my "reasons to hate Hillary" pile that has grown so large. When I actually saw the video, I was stunned. From my perspective, I thought Hillary handled the situation very well(and it kills me to say that). When Harry Reid came out and said he purposefully lied about Mitt Romney's taxes in 2012, and said "it worked, didn't it?", I got a whole new perspective on Politics. So. As Voters, we are charged with not only finding the "best candidate for the job", but also weeding out the lies and exaggerations of which there are many. Cruz and Rubio were in panic mode last night. They are desperate and will say anything(even lie) to get the nomination. Is a large portion of the Voting Public "dumbed down"? Yes. That makes us educated Voters even more important. Be careful what you read, Scribe. We all have an agenda.

A Modest Scribler said...

Frank, without realizing it, you just made my point about the importance of reading. if one is an avid reader one reads several sources, not one. Education, despite what you hear from the facsist liberal professors, is learning all sides of an issue, studying a subject from many different perspectives. The fact that most won't make the effort only proves my point. We will never agree on Trump (and in the immortal words of Tricky Dick Nixon "you won't have me to kick around much longer" because I won't be offending your sensibilities much longer as my blog ends when Trump wins the nomination. But, just for the record, I saw the debate last night totally different than you. I saw the duplicity of Trump as he was called out on his unending offering of the snake oil; all the different positions he takes...as he gauges which ones will incite his army of kool aid drinkers.

After my blog is gone perhaps you can find a blog that "trumps" the Trump, one that idolizes his every utterance. Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that, when I argue a point I try to cite facts to support what I write. It seems that, these days, no one is much interested in truth...that's why I won't be trying to offer any very soon.

Jerry Carlin said...

There is another reason to read. The process awaken synapses; all reading is brain food. It helps one think in complete sentences and follow a process in an analytical way from beginning
to middle to end and all in descriptive paragraphs! and, don't forget the fun part! As readers we can get lost and participate in the story. And, another one! We can gain experiences without actually getting bruised! There is much more to reading than just gathering bullets and ammunition to attack your opponent.
The debate, however, were entertaining and, at least now we know, The Donald has a Big Dick!

A Modest Scribler said...

Amen, Jerry. Trump seems to delight in pulling us all down into the dumpster. His prick allusion was vulgar but not surprising nor shocking.

Frank Krzesowiak said...

You guys are funny. You make it out to be something between good and evil when in fact it is evil versus evil. We all can interpret the information and get completely different takes on it. You hate Trump. There's no way I'm going to try to change your mind. But Republicans take pride in seeing more than one side to the story. I know I do. I'll even watch CNN and MSNBC on occasion. I saw desperation on that stage last night. You chose to see Trump selling "snake oil". It's all perspective. I want our borders closed. Trump was the only one who said he'd do it. Rubio and Cruz jumped on the bandwagon only after they saw the "Trump impact" If either one wins the nomination, I'll support them every bit as much as I would Trump. It's not the end of the world. I really am surprised at you Scribe. I took you to be a fighter. Your no better than those Idiot Hollywood types that say they leave the Country if he wins. I'll quit my blog if he wins. You've taken the Military resolve down many notches. I have(had) much respect for people who fought for this Country. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the Military is wrought with "Quitters" just like you find everywhere else.Sad. Damn sad.

Anonymous said...

You threatened to leave many times if Obama was elected a 2nd term. If Trump gets into the oval office you'll be watching for opportunities to say "I told you so" and I bet you'll stick around. We have to look on the bright side if Trump is elected we can hope those radical Hollywood schmucks all stay true to their word and move out of the country.

Jerry Carlin said...

The Quick condemnation of "the scribe" is so predictable and schoolish and, well, as Trump might say, "just stupid"! Even people in our Military are saying they would Not obey illegal orders that might occur under a President Trump! No, they will Not kill the families of suspected (or convicted!) Muslim Terrorists! All that is happening here is discussion and some are so quick to start calling names and appoint weakness. I will never support any politics of Hate, even when I might be inclined to agree! Try this discussion without saying
"your grandmother wears army boots!" or any other derogatory comment. It will be a good experience, I promise!

Frank Krzesowiak said...

And if they did agree to kill innocent people(remember My Lai?) nobody would object more than I. Trump has a habit of throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks. No righteous American would subscribe to that. I tell it as I see it, Jerry. It only hurts if it's the truth. Besides. I could never say his "grandmother wore combat boots. I never even knew her. Bow his sister, that's another story.