25 July 2006

Reading Material

If you know my reading habits at all, you know that I pratically worship Orson Scott Card. He's a very clear yet eloquent writer with excellent insights into people, religion, politics, and life in general. In addition, he is a great role model for how to balance the conflicting roles of creator, critic, and disciple of Christ.

He writes two columns/essays for a local paper which usually appear on his website within a few weeks. The political column, World Watch, always has a great twist, and never follows the right/left party lines you might expect. He defends truth and logic, which ever party has them, and his results will suprise you. His recent essay on illegal immigration, "What Is This Crime Anyway?", has caused me to seriously reconsider my own position on the topic.

The other column, Uncle Orson Reviews Everything, is slightly uneven, both in quality and content. The staple of the column is movie reviews, which sometimes go a little far in their sensitivity about Hollywood's treatment of political issues (see the review of Mona Lisa Smile near the bottom). Book reviews show up frequently, along with food and restaurant reviews, as well as criticism of the local government. But my favorite parts of this column are his criticisms of people in general. For example:

What, exactly, does it mean when someone says, "My, but you're opinionated." Or "Well, we aren't opinionated, are we?"

What does it mean to be opinionated? Well, presumably, it means that you have opinions and you say them.

But if to be opinionated is something to be discouraged (and the word is always used disparagingly), what is the virtuous alternative? To have no opinions? Or perhaps merely to refrain from saying them?

I believe that "opinionated" is used precisely the way that "judgmental" is used -- in an attempt to make someone embarrassed to state their views, thereby silencing them without having to resort to actually answering any of their views or offering contrary evidence or reasoning. (emphasis in original)

Just amazing, and so true. Reminds me of the old comment Ali made during the "Soul Force" mini-blog-war-thing.

Speaking of reading material, today the Leaky Cauldron posted this interesting study which quantifies the effect Harry Potter is having on reading in children. According to the study (neglecting possible bias, since it is published by Scholastic), over 60% of children age 9-11 and 12-14 have read Harry Potter. Holy cow. And 63% of boys didn't read for fun until they read HP. Talk about influence! It makes me yearn to ever have that sort of audience with my words.

Maybe I'm just power hungry, and that's the real reason I'm an English major.


Marisa VanSkiver said...

Man, those facts would have been nice about 3 months ago when I was writing that paper on how Harry Potter influences children.

Not Too Pensive said...

So... when are the rest of the "soulforce" blogs coming? I guess I'm the only one that continued to blog on the subject, and that came quite late...