All because he wouldn’t read a book

This morning, during my voyeuristic ramblings about Facebook, I found a “nephew” of a “friend” of a “friend.” He was such a caricature that I was hideously fascinated. Obligatory rap-loving, MMA-adoring, backwards baseball cap-wearing baldy Mexican kid. Nothing extraordinary here, I was about to move on from this rote, dime-o-dozen faux hoodlum. Just as I was about to cursorily click the “home” link to flee this ghetto hellhole, I saw a curious Group listed on this fellow’s profile.

Under his “books” section, there was this:

OK. Slam the brakes. I’m not going anywhere yet. What was originally just a stereotypical faux-gangster tough boy vato now turned into something horribly compelling.

Someone who boasted of not reading books? How could anyone boast of that, I thought. I sauntered over to the group, but alas, like all Facebook groups, you cannot see behind closed doors unless you join which I most assuredly will not ever do for this group.

Needless to say, there are 8,116 meatheads who agree with my 3- or 4-times removed friend.

Look, it’s one thing to not like reading. I know people who never pick up a book. Some of them are quite intelligent. They simply don’t find joy or recreation in spending hours of their time reading and deciphering authorial volumes of words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters. But they don’t brag about it. If the subject comes up in familiar conversation, they may tell you that they don’t like to read. No hard feelings. They usually aren’t adamant about it. I’m not adamant about my reading, either. It’s something I enjoy and I don’t expect everyone feels the same.

What startles me is that so many people find it necessary to take time and cyber-energy to join a club which boasts of not reading. Is that something to be proud of? That is a negative activity, for chrissakes. It’s a passive, non-participatory lack of engagement. How can one boast of not doing something? Can I start a Facebook group and call it “Mexicans Who Don’t Wear Caps Backwards???” That is the same level of desperation and cry for attention. It is signalling. It’s aggressive ignorance.

This is not like telling someone demurely, “Ah, no, I’m not much of a reader.”

This is like standing on a mountaintop and yelling at the world, “I don’t like reading. I despise thinking and I despise people who read and my world doesn’t understand or appreciate the activity of reading. And besides, I’m probably illiterate!”

I can’t hang with this, man. The realization that there are people walking the streets who think such as this is dismaying. People who boast of lacking any sense of retrospection or curiosity.

The signalling catapulting from such an anti-reading sentiment is that I am a ruffian, 85 IQ, Hometown Buffet-dwelling pinnacle of racial mediocrity. I’m sure my little nephew of a friend of a friend hardly mingles in the most studious or conscientious circles.

As someone who was sneaking away books to read when I was 6, I’m disgusted and revolted. Not that someone does not like to read; but that they can so casually disregard the inner life. The inner life is important and it is dead in today’s Hive-like society of coalescing and overlapping existences.

Loss of inner life has corroded our humanity.

All because he wouldn’t read a damned book.