Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why Teach Critical Reading?

Here's a good reason. This is an anti-abortion blogger who apparently wasn't able to figure out that The Onion was a satirical newspaper. Now, I'm like the millionth blogger I think to make fun of this, he even had to post a response to all the other chattering horde on the internet that still fails to realize the schtick of The Onion.

But since an English teacher (theoretical) co-authors this blog and another occasionally visits it I thought it a relevant justification for the work they do. She must think Swift is the father of the pro-choice movement...

Side note: Blogspot spell check doesn't recognize "Blogger" and "blog"??? What the...

Update: This isn't the first time this has happened.


  1. He's probably one of those guys who applauded the list of the 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs which included "Sympathy for the Devil", "Revolution", and "Stand By Your Man." Satire is beyond him.

  2. Anonymous10:50 AM

    I was working for an esteemed sustainability center in the 1990s, and one day, one of the senior staffers sent forwarded an already multiply forwarded e-mail, with the terse, grunting leader, "What a rampant tragedy, when this is the case. When shall we all learn?"

    This guy wasn't big on things like checking sources, being a sociologist. Word had it he was in the job for the women. He propositioned everyone, even married colleagues, and punished them if they turned them down.

    But anyway, the story was something like "Consumer Product Diversity Now Outstrips Natural Species Diversity." The story was so absurd, even if you managed to miss the absurdity of the headline. But he was caught up in feeling all righteous.

    My colleague (one of the women he propositioned then made her life hell when she said no) saw this and cracked up. I heard her howling with laughter on the other side of the cubicle wall. I went over, and she was in the middle of posting a reply to this man, and all the dozens of people he had included in the Cc: field, of course with all the addresses showing so you'd know how well-connected he was.

    Her terse reply was: "This is an Onion story." And then the URL.

    So it isn't just conservatives. We were talking, this colleague and me, awhile later, and she showed me five other similar forwards she'd been copied from self-righteous liberals. One of them was the classic Onion piece, "Global Death Rate Remains Steady at 100%." Someone wanted to assemble a team of researchers to check that data and take on the people who published it, for clearly that figure HAD to be wrong!

    Critical thinking and reading are as rare on the "left" as on the "right." There's a reason for this. There is no left or right anymore. Just top and bottom, slavers and enslaved. Critical thinking and reading imply that you don't recognize people in authority as necessarily having your own interests in mind. You look out for yourself.

    Abandoning the classic liberal arts education model has done more, in my opinion, to deflate "the left" in this nation than anything else. But then I follow Bertrand Russell's definition of liberalism.