Wednesday, 17 August 2005

Pauvre Victoria

Poor Victoria. Apparently she has not read a book in her life. She's been too busy, she says. I know the feeling Victoria, but well, you make time. It's a great opportunity to pull out all the old prejudices though. Hester Lacey's piece in the Guardian is great, apropos. She writes about how she loves reading, her mother brought her to the library when she was still in the womb and she read the entire works of Dickens before she was born. Victoria apparently prefers fashion magazines. Maybe that's why she looks the way she does, and her husband, too.
Lacey says that reading is the only habit seen as universally good. Well, I'm not sure that's true. There are plenty of places where they burn books, still. And your average school, or rather "school" in the Bible belt (ye old US of A, needless to say) will have its heavily censored libraries guiding its students. Reading is moral and political: in the Middle Ages it would have been described as ethical. And that means it is potentially dangerous.

A similar revelation was made recently by Noel Gallagher, another culture-making vulture, who said that he was nevously beginning his first book, Angels and Demons. Gawd. Where shall I start? I suppose at least he has expressed an intention to read a book, as opposed to Victoria, who doesn't seem pushed if she never reads a book for the rest of her life. Maybe we should applaud Dan Brown for getting people reading who wouldn't normally "do" the whole book thing.

Like the old joke of the distinguished academic being introduced by a long list of his publications who says: I may have written them but I assure you I have never read them, Victoria herself has written a book.... sob....

But modern publishing is as mercurial and superficial as the fashion industry, something nicely sidestepped by Lacey and her swipe at those who know the difference between Gucci and Prada - implying of course that there is none (I mean really darling...). Reading might be seen as 'good', but good books do not necessarily get published, nor will the reader know they exist. Those who populate both worlds are, in my humble opinion, as superficial as each other.

I'm off now to buy a Gucci man bag in which to put my Ulysses.

No really, I am....

9 comments:

hesitant hack said...

i hope you are not. i thought you were getting on a plane today? You have to help me buy a dress for my American wake...

Miglior acque said...

Cool. I'm in at 6pm. Tomorrow? Where to? What were you thinking?

hesitant hack said...

i was thinking smock, but i should probably stay away from there because they always make me buy stuff. that i can't afford.
God, some guy in the phone booths in this call shop is screaming. SCREAMING. in chinese. Or Malaysian. How would I know?
Ummm....oh yeah. Come to The Dice Bar this evening, where all will be gathered from 8-9 on to celebrate Derv's birthday. I know you will be busy snogging Anon but you could come along afterwards.

kcsefalvay said...

My beloved little country imported The Big Read this year, combined it with the Communist remnant of cultural zeal as it is sadly common over here, made a huge TV spectacle of it all, and spread the whole country with ads which were in the end more or less claiming that those who haven't read their top 100 list of books are uncivilised, brutish hicks. Now that list includes the whole Harry Potter series, the whole Dan Brown range, Irwin Shaw, Lassie, a couple of lesser-known but the more terrible Hungarian writers, and climaxes at Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries. My point is: not reading is sad, but forced reading excercises are indeed tragic. And maybe I'd rather have the sun-tanned yokel from the fields who hasn't read a single book, but is aware of his situation, than the pseudo-intellectual who thinks having read The Da Vinci Code has elevated him to the spheres of the upper intellect.

Darragh said...

Better to be wise than well-read.

Miglior acque said...

Well, yes it is better to be wise than well-read. I cannot argue with that. But I'm not sure that Victoria is wise, and I think a bit of reading wouldn't hurt. Nothing too taxing, but just enough to help baby Brooklyn with the alphabet...if she knows it.

kcsefalvay said...

Oh c'mon, that's what the education system is for: to have smart teachers teach smart stuff to kids of stupid parents.

Miglior acque said...

There is little doubt that encouragement at home is a key factor in the success of children at school. Parents who read with their children almost invariably develop higher reading ages earlier and read more. Leaving it to teachers is a dereliction of responsibility that has consequences far beyond academic achievements.

kcsefalvay said...

True. But tell this to Victoria. Oh, and include a handy dictionary, I doubt 'invariably', 'dereliction', etc. are parts of her everyday vocab.

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