The written word is as uplifting as it is awesome. It’s a major part of my life. I love my Kindle. The heaps of books growing organically throughout the house fill me with contentment. I read constantly. However, I don’t think that makes me special. Most smart people read a lot and many idiots do too.
I do more than read, I write a goddamn blog. People apparently read it. My writing hasn’t caused anyone to have seizures. It must be at least tolerable. You can call me an asshole but you can’t call me illiterate.
Like most adults, I know that the written word is merely a means to an end. We understand the soul is not inherently enhanced by using letters. At best, literature is flavor and catalyst and at worst it’s a mental escape capsule but it’s never the whole enchilada. The mundane concerns of Earthbound existence really are the meat of our brief lives. We suck it up and get to it. We grapple in the dirt with reality.
Literacy is a stepping stone, nothing more. Occasionally someone misses the point and earnestly calls to us; “join me in unreality”.
“Becoming an English major means pursuing the most important subject of all—being a human being.”
“The English major at her best isn’t used by language; she uses it. She bends it, inflects it with irony, and lets hyperbole bloom like a firework flower when the time’s right. She knows that language isn’t there merely to represent the world but to interpret it. Language lets her say how she feels.”
“To me an English major is someone who has decided, against all kinds of pious, prudent advice and all kinds of fears and resistances, to major, quite simply, in becoming a person.”
So there you have it. Drop out of the workforce and take on massive student loans and you’ll eventually become a human being who can say how you feel. Why does this remind me of teaching a toddler to “use your words”?
It’s an excellent essay. You should read the whole thing. Let all 1853 words about the super cool awesomeness that is formal study of English wash over you like a Diet Sprite spilled on your shoe. Let the author drop their thoughts in your cranium like a cat dropping a turd in a box. Let the concepts rain down from on high like drool from the mouth of a gold plated unicorn.
Then shake that shit off and get your ass back to work!
Watch out for pretentious yahoos trying to make you into a human being. First of all there is the implied assumption that the prospective student isn’t yet a self realized individual. Who wants to service an ego so inflated that it considers would be apprentices nothing more than a mass of unformed dingbats? Second, unless you’re an utter moron you already know how to read. Finally, if you take on five digits of debt to learn to “say how you feel” you should emerge with a notepad full of euphemisms for “screwed”.
It takes a long career of navel gazing to pretend literacy is the whole purpose of everything, everywhere, for everyone. Reading is fine but it’s not the point. The point is living. Four years “learning to be a human being” at the foot of a self proclaimed literacy God won’t put you very far down the road to adventure.
Hat tip to Maggies Farm.