Reading is Beneath Them

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I had a run in the other day with someone. They told me that contrary to popular belief, people did not like to read. The concept this person brought to my attention was that as people become more educated, and get better paying jobs, they feel reading is beneath them. The idea stemmed from a comment where lower ranking people were meant to read for those higher up. So in thought, reading is a job for those who are lower on the socioeconomic scale.  –More important the person, the less they read.

Well, this was eye opening. It all suddenly made sense. Those in government don’t read the piles of legislation that someone wrote, CEO’s don’t care about what they sign, and leaders don’t understand the people they are serving. Could this be why our world is so upside down and why our society is declining? Could it be so simple that people just are not educating themselves or taking the time to read? People these days are busy. It’s easy to see we live in a fast paced world.  Are they just too busy to care about anything other than themselves?

I wanted to discuss this conversation on the blog today. Who are readers? As authors, most don’t make a great deal of money but we do try to support our community. So, who are readers besides those that write? Is reading and writing really looked at as a social stigma? I’d always thought it was the opposite. In society we’ve always been taught to read and write. It’s the building blocks to becoming something in society. So, how has this idea evolved and how have people become so out of touch?

In order to see who reads I’d like to prove a few points to those who believe they are “above” reading. If nobody was reading anymore then what on earth would Hollywood do to make money? So the poor people of Hollywood seem to be readers. Books have become the biggest box office money makers for years. In our fast paced lives people still want to be taken to new worlds to escape their own. Without readers and writers society would not have this outlet that becomes media frenzy.

Teachers still educate students. I know this because I have kids that go to school and read. My husband is a school administrator and he still reads. So if you believe that educators are extremely under paid then in this case, these are the lower class of society. Most people believe that educators are paid well and have benefits that many do not in this ever unstable economy.

Kobe Bryant, Oprah, and Mitt Romney all have shown the public that they are readers. Are these the bottom dwellers that read? If they are, I’m good with hanging out with them. To all you CEO’s, politicians, and professors who find reading beneath you, It’s time to rethink your life. I’m not worried about offending you because I’m quite certain you won’t have the time to read this.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments on who you think are readers… And whatever you do, keep reading.

Jennifer Bennett

About Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer J. Bennett was born in Southern California as the youngest of six children. Her imagination began to develop as a child creating worlds in her backyard. Books have always played a big role in her life; favorites growing up were “The Country Bunny” by Dubose Heyward, “The Light in the Attic”by Shel Silverstein, and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’ Dell among many, many others. She also enjoys music, theater, travel, and cooking.

Jennifer moved from Southern California in 1989 and finished high school in Southern Utah where she met her husband Matthew Bennett who currently works in educational administration. They reside in St. George, Utah with four amazing kids: Haylee, Chase, Conner, and Libby. After her father was diagnosed with cancer, she began writing her first novel, “The Path”. Her father encouraged her to move forward with her writing and she has continued since. He passed away in 2009.

Jen, as her friends call her; can be found buzzing around California from time to time in search of magical elements from the past. She tries to balance fun, being a mom, and trying to be a grownup (which she really isn’t sure she ever wants to be).

Visit Jen’s blog at: http://www.jjbennett.com/

12 comments
Carrie Jones
Carrie Jones

Excellent, for myself, I cannot imagine my life without reading and writing... It is too much a part of who I am. It is like breathing, like food. Instead of watching news, I prefer to read it. I love how I can read articles online. I enjoy books and posts on facebook, all reading. My job incorporates reading and writing. Thank you... reading and writing should always be held in high esteem.

Thom
Thom

Well, we're all readers here, so we obviously want to justify our choices. Likewise this person feels it necessary to defend their person choices. But somehow I doubt they've been able to "outsource" their reading. First of all, how do those "paid readers" communicate what they've read? Probably in writing. I don't care how wealthy I become I don't think I could trust anyone to filter my information for me. I've had far too many instances when it was something minor, almost insignificant, that turned out being the most important piece of information I gleaned from something I read. Someone who is trusting their reading to someone else is leaving themselves at someone else's mercy. Further more, the world changes too quickly these days. Career paths are disappearing before our eyes, while career paths no one even dreamed of ten years ago are appearing all the time. If you're not reading, you're not learning. If you're not learning, you're scheduling yourself for obsolescence. Read or perish!

Heidi Tighe
Heidi Tighe

What a dumb comment. Equating reading for pleasure, education, or personal enrichment with the drudgery of reading all the boring drek people hire others to read for them is a ridiculously false analogy.

cdelpilar5
cdelpilar5

Amazing post, so much to think about, thank you!

John
John

I wonder if such a comment doesn't say more about the person making it than society. An article last year in the Harvard Business Review claimed just the opposite - if you want to be a leader be prepared to read: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/for_those_who_want_to_lead_rea.html And RE: Donna's comment on reading nonfiction - after I finished my MBA (done part-time and in my mid 30s) I was so tired of other people telling me what to read that I got back into novels in a big way: Clancy, Grisham, Crichton, etc. But at some point it all began to bore me and I picked up a history and was blown away at how fascinating it was (I think it might have been The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars). I started mixing more histories into my fiction reading and now I throw in the occasional novel just for variety and to decompress my brain.

Rachel
Rachel

Wonderful post. Maybe those people who are "above reading" should remember that the smartest people in the world read at least a book a month, many at least a book a week. It keeps the mind working and staves off things like Alzheimer's.

Shantal
Shantal

I'm wondering if the person you argued with is an anomaly. I know plenty of people who really don't enjoy reading beyond the short blips on their phones (my own children included in that--epic fail, mom--what can I say? I tried!) But I've never met anyone who suggested that reading was for the lower classes. You're right. It has always been the opposite, with royalty and aristocracy keeping the books and ideas to themselves. Throughout history, what has made great leaders great is the ability to read (and perhaps more importantly to write--Am. Rev.). In this vein, they are able to extrapolate which philosophies have worked, which ones didn't, and then even suggest new ones. I think the person you spoke to would rather have the talking heads and politicians do his thinking for him. Because that's what happens when you don't read.

Gail W
Gail W

I agree that if this is true it does explain a lot of the issues in our country...however, I know too many people of various economic status to see how this is true. Perhaps the person tells themselves that to help them feel better?

Paul Yoder
Paul Yoder

If more higher ups read The Good Earth, Shakespeare, The sayings of Confucius, The Iliad & The Odyssey, the New Testament, the Declaration of Independence, or a number of other enriching texts, I think we'd have a better run world.

Donna K. Weaver
Donna K. Weaver

I guess that why I can't figure out why nonfiction is such a huge draw. If so many people look at reading as work, then reading nonfiction would seem like an assignment. I like fiction so I can get away from real life.