Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Controversy Continues

Paul Collins weighs in on the NEA not reading report:

Maybe Reading at Risk should really have been called Reading Several Genres Favored in a Certain Historical Period at Risk. Still, might the NEA's focus on these more allegedly artsy forms of reading be due to their social significance? Literary readers, we are primly informed by the NEA, are more likely than nonreaders to be involved in charity work. Whether this constitutes a meaningful and causal correlation, alas, is less obvious. A set of statistics buried in Reading at Risk shows "literary reading" rising hand in hand with income levels and education. Might we wonder whether people with the time and education to read novels might be better situated to provide charity in the first place? Why yes, we might wonder. But the NEA did not.