Laugh of the Medusa, for books*

Cristina Nehring is all bent out of shape over the failure of book lovers to analyze and respond intelligently to the books they read. We are fetishizing books, she says, not learning from them. In fact, unless we start responding to fictional works with long essays that include terms more commonly found in papers by Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray on the subjugation of women, we are no better than round-the-clock CNN-watchers, and probably are basically the same as porn addicts!

We had better stop passively enjoying books, lest the common citizen get the idea that in this day and age books are as accessible as television! If we continue to be “simple text grazers: always nibbling, never digesting — ever consuming, never creating,” people might think that authors write books for people to like them when really people should sit in a dark cellar by the light of a single candle and desperately work at parsing out hidden meanings, sentence by sentence. If people aren’t willing to do that, then they might as well just spend the rest of their lives watching America’s Funniest Home Videos!

For a more rigorous and thoughtful response, please see CAAF.

* Or, I try unsuccessfully to channel a friend.


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