Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Huge Amount of Eye Rolling...and Also Feeling Pissed Off

Apparently romance readers are uneducated, illiterate, and not desirable employees. Or at least that's what the Greater Washington Initiative wants us to think.

In an ad meant to promote the intellectual capital of the nation's capitol, the GWI contrasts an "average subway reader" (reading a so-called trashy romance novel with a clinch cover) to a "Washington area subway reader" (reading Plato's Republic). The ad copy states that 45% of DC area residents have at least a bachelor's degree. Oh yeah, so what? According to the RWA, 42% of romance readers have at least a bachelor's degree. I'm no statistician, but I'd say that's well within the margin of error, wouldn't ya think? (Thanks to Sela for pointing that out.)

First of all, NOBODY in DC calls it "the subway" so the ad campaign is kind of stupid right there. (It's the Metro, duh.) Second of all, pissing off the largest reading demographic in the country is a VERY stupid idea.

Besides, it's just intellectually lazy. I get the point of the GWI...they want to say that DC's smart city. So how can we do that? Oh, I know! We'll show that the rest of the country reads romance!!!!!! Yeah, that's the ticket!

I take the Metro everyday. The only people I ever see reading philosophy are students, reading it before class. Most people either read popular fiction (suspense, mainstream, paranormal, mystery, chick lit, and oh yes, even romance), the paper, a magazine, or just completely zone out and stare blankly like zombies (yes, I work in Washington, and yes, we can definitely be a bunch of soulless zombies).

I read widely...non-fiction, popular fiction, literary fiction, classics. But what I read most frequently is popular fiction, in particular chick lit and romance. Why? I enjoy it. Yes, I appreciate being challenged to think, but not only the classics or so-called "literary" works can do that. The best books not only make you think but also entertain you. I've read plenty of romance that makes me think, but at the end of the day, what I value most is being entertained.

Why? I have a mentally challenging job that demands that I constantly read. So I like escapism. Big deal. Sue me.

Of course, if you sued me, I probably wouldn't understand all those big words in the complaint, because, after all, I'm uneducated and illiterate, right?

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 8:45 AM :: 12 comments

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