On the Subject of Reading and Other Forms of Entertainment

I came across an article on the New York Review of Books contemplating the tendency of “serious readers” to accept the public affection for genre fiction as a gateway to “better” books.

Yeah, you read that right. “Accept”. Like a judge saying “very well, I’ll allow it”.

And they wonder why people tend to hate so-called “serious readers”.

Every time someone tries to begin a conversation about how “everyone has to read Jonathan Franzen”.

Here it is again, the assumption that they are better. Okay, I do admit that I myself have a tendency towards telling people why I don’t like the book they like (“Oh, you’re a fan of ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’? I felt it was badly-written and an inaccurate depiction of actual BDSM arrangements, but it’s okay if you like it.”); but I least I don’t pretend that I’m a superior human being by virtue of not liking certain work. As long as you don’t try to push me into seeing “how deep Bella Swan actually is”, we can still be friends. I think with enough squinting, virtually anything can be considered literature anyway. I think I’ve said this before.

I also don’t pretend that reading is better than, say, watching cartoons and movies or playing video games. Granted, that’s mostly because I like cartoons, movies, and video games myself – but I’d like to think that part of it has to do with my acknowledgement that not everyone is into reading for entertainment/enrichment. My mom doesn’t like reading much; she’s more into watching and listening to things. She only got into poetry when she found people PERFORMING poetic works on TED and YouTube, but even then she was happier when I sent her the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Volume 1 playlist. And that’s okay. Some people are more drawn to taking actual vacations rather than imagined vacations, and that’s ALSO okay.

Different people find entertainment in different things. It doesn’t make them more or less. It just makes them PEOPLE.

I find entertainment in reading, both critically and uncritically. It’s what I find truly immersive as an experience, as much as some people find Honey Boo Boo immersive. It is not my job to “lead them to something better by virtue of my superior hobby”. For heaven’s sake, it’s ENTERTAINMENT.

As we say in Tagalog: Walang basagan ng trip. (Roughly translated: Stop raining on other people’s parades, man.)

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