Today, I clicked on this article: 'Bad Classics: Classic Books We Think Are Overrated'. I was appalled. I don't usually like to attack other people's articles, especially ones that are based on opinion. But whoever wrote this article obviously assumes he/she is speaking for us all. Also, this article bothers me so much, I don't think I can hold my tongue.
Firstly, I'd like to know what the point of this article is. Is it just a glib attempt at provocation in order to get comments and traffic? Is this really what journalism is about these days? I remember watching an interview with George Clooney in which he spoke about his dismay regarding the state of modern journalism. He's absolutely right. Journalism used to be a highly respected profession, and it still should be. It stood for integrity and curiosity. Now, we are becoming increasingly infatuated with quick, short, and glib articles that construct a world that is easily understood and consumed. How about creating articles with some semblance of intelligence, depth and relevance? I really don't see the point in writing an article that attacks books and dismisses them as not worth our time. Seriously, how arrogant is this? When I think of the time, energy and creativity that goes into writing books, I'm just appalled that anyone would go out of their way to discourage reading them.
And this leads me to my next point: this article is just a small example of the rising tide of anti-intellectualism in our culture. When was it decided that expanding your knowledge and undertaking difficult tasks was a bad thing? Most of the difficult and time-consuming things I've done in my life so far have been the most worthwhile, they've made me who I am, and I hope they will continue to shape me. Not everyone has to read classic literature if they don't want to, but do we really need to wholeheartedly discourage people from attempting to read more 'difficult' books?
I am aware that when other people have expressed the same sentiments I'm writing here, they have been called snobs. Some of them may very well be snobs, but I know I'm not. What I am is a thinking, feeling and curious human being. I want to explore the world and the things we create, I don't want it handed to me in small bites of 5-minute journalism, by journalists who don't really bother to engage properly with the things they are analysing. This is what frustrates me, and I also think it's irresponsible. People are perfectly welcome to their own opinions about the books listed in this article. No two people like the same books. My problem is not with the choice of books, but with the entire tone of the article. So I'll repeat my initial question: what's the point, really?
P.S. I suggest reading some of the comments for this post, which are actually more interesting than the article itself.