Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Don't bother non-readers

FILM critics and viewers alike roundly bashed the movie version of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code—‘twas a big letdown, mostly for those who didn’t bother to soak themselves between the book’s pages as a lover buries himself between a beloved’s thighs.

It was a lousy movie, hyped up by incomprehensible calls to ban both movie and the book it was based from. Admittedly, the book version is largely uninspired and proffers nothing much than so-so turns of phrase. Our very own Greg Brillantes, Nick Joaquin, Wilfrido Nolledo, and Juan Gatbonton can ply out much polished prose.

Hear out Mark Twain whose novels were among those banned by censors of the Vatican for reasons laymen won’t understand: “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

Adds another pundit: “Quick, read the book before filmmakers ruin it into a movie.”

We can let out a sigh. To the Journal Online editor’s hush-hush offer to provide net-surfing readers with an HTML version of the Dan Brown bestseller plus other worthwhile reads—and save some P500 in acquisition cost—only a fetching lady from Cebu responded. She was given a free copy via electronic mail. She was thankful for it:” I greatly appreciate the time and effort you took just to email me Tolkien's The Silmarillion. Also, thank you so much for leading me to that web site.”

Writers and their ilk are an endangered species in these parts, taking in gunfire from ambuscades or taking in the arrant apathy of most folks whose idea of reading is through text messages that can eat up a few thousand pesos monthly.

Rizal’s El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere won’t foment a revolt if our populace in the here and now were sent back in time to the 1890s.

Reports the New York Times: “From the days of Sumerian clay tablets till now, humans have ‘published’ at least 32 million books, 750 million articles and essays, 25 million songs, 500 million images, 500,000 movies, 3 million videos, TV shows and short films and 100 billion public Web pages.

“With tomorrow's technology, it will all fit onto your iPod. When that happens, the library of all libraries will ride in your purse or wallet — if it doesn't plug directly into your brain with thin white cords.”

That could be information overload, a lot of know-how and skills and secrets waiting for eager learners who’ll read ‘em. Savor that word “read” and go back.

“In the beginning was the Word…”

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