November 26, 2005

Beats The Dicken Outta Me

Am I an elitist reader? The reason I ask is that I was in the bookstore just now and overheard the following conversation.

Lady 1: Oh, does he have all the Dicken books?
Lady 2: I'm not sure. Here's one with three novels. And I think its Dickens. With an s.
Lady 1: Whatever. Look - he wrote a Christmas book, it looks like.
Lady 2: Huh. Whoda guessed?

What I want to know is this - who doesn't know that Charles Dickens (with an s) wrote A Christmas Carol? Literature isn't really all that important to everyone. I get that. But everyone should have some idea of what the great authors have written. At least themes, right? Like, Melville wrote about a big-ass fish, Hemingway about some bullfights, Fitzgerald about a dude named Gatsby and Steinbeck about a really great depression. That's not elitist is it?

Posted by Chris at November 26, 2005 3:58 PM

Elitist, no. Expecting too much from our nation's public school system? Apparently!

Posted by: Jaycie at November 26, 2005 4:11 PM

Oh holy heck I made it to 2nd post!!! Must be a slow weekend at the ;-)

Well heck I came for another country I even know who Dickens is! Not that I've read the book. No. You're not an elitist.

Agreed also with Jaycie on the education systems. I'm sorry but for pre-college education, you guys are a little behind. A boy in my senior economic class in high school couldn't point out where Japan is on the world map. Go figure...

Posted by: Oakley at November 26, 2005 4:49 PM

Nope, not an elitist. People just are far dumber than we give them credit for.

Posted by: ~L. at November 26, 2005 5:28 PM

Elitist? No, not at all.
It always suprises me how little people actually know.....I think it's too much television.

Posted by: Jil at November 26, 2005 5:36 PM

well, maybe these two ladies have culture of another nature. maybe they could talk the pants off you about classical music. i doubt it tho.

Posted by: jodi at November 26, 2005 6:06 PM

I'd like to think it's common sense but I am finding more and more that people like us are considered elitist, boring, and too smart for our own good. How sad.

Posted by: Rhonda at November 26, 2005 6:11 PM

That's hilarious and yet so sad. I heard somewhere that the average American reads less than one book per year. I spend a lot of time at Barnes & Noble -- it's always busy right? Maybe this time of year you're more likely to run into the non-readers, just there to purchase for sombody else.

Anyway, it might make you an elitist, I'm not sure. Nothing to be ashamed of though Chris. I don't read as much as you do, but just think how much you've contributed to that "average" number. Sheesh.

I wish it wasn't so acceptable for people to be so intellectually lazy. (Was that elitist of me to say?)

Posted by: chepooka at November 26, 2005 6:13 PM

Probably the same people that think Lewis Carrol played Archie Bunker.

Posted by: Jon in Michigan at November 26, 2005 7:47 PM

Not elitist at all!

Posted by: Stephanie at November 26, 2005 8:27 PM

They used to call that "high school".

Posted by: Pammer at November 26, 2005 9:50 PM

Elitist? No not at all.. I am always amazed when people say they dont like to read. I am even more amazed when they claim to love to read yet know none of the classics.

Posted by: Angelia at November 26, 2005 10:13 PM

You might be an elitist reader if during conversation you mention Buddy Glass and when met with blank stares say "You know, Franny and Zooey" and when still met with blank stares, think of ways to shoot the person in front of you. Not that I ever did that. Ever.
I have a little bit of a thing for Salinger, whatever. But if I say Holden Caufield and I get a blank stare, that deserves some sort of insult.

Posted by: Heather B. at November 26, 2005 10:41 PM

Not to mention the many movies with the words Charles Dickens and Christmas Carol in the same title... asshats. (btw, I taught that word to Forrest and he just about split a gut laughing... he loved it!)

Posted by: Corinne at November 26, 2005 10:58 PM

This is the thing, you see legistators everywhere wringing their hands about math and science scores, but seldom do they care how well-read a child is when they graduate high school.

Posted by: Lisa V at November 26, 2005 11:36 PM

if that's one snippet of customers' intelligence imagine the questions that the sales people at bookstores get!

Posted by: Jessica at November 27, 2005 1:49 AM

Dang, someone drain that gene pool immediately!!!!!!

Posted by: Lainey at November 27, 2005 5:31 AM

Fess up.

You were browsing the 'book' section of Wally World, weren't you?

Posted by: Allan at November 27, 2005 8:48 AM

Elitist? No.

*tries to work in comment about Mia being as cute as the dicken*

Posted by: Alison at November 27, 2005 9:50 AM

Of course you're not elitist! I'd go with "modestly intelligent" :)

Posted by: Eulallia at November 27, 2005 11:40 AM

Though I don't quite understand it, not everyone is a reader. I wouldn't call those people dumb though. People have different interests and quite frankly, not knowing Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol isn't going to negatively affect someone's life. Though, I'm sure, those of us who read, would argue differently.

Posted by: patricia at November 27, 2005 12:00 PM

I think these ladies must have been living under a rock. Every year some TV station airs "A Christmas Carol" and I remember reading Dickens novels in High School.

Guess they weren't on the honor roll huh? LOL.

Posted by: Colleen at November 27, 2005 2:08 PM

I don't think so, but if it is then me and my ELEMENTARY school age children are elitist...go figure ;)

Posted by: Kate at November 27, 2005 2:30 PM

ouch. I knew DickenS wrote "A Christmas Carol" when I was about ten. Where have they been their entire lives??

Posted by: Betty at November 27, 2005 2:53 PM

I KNOW! I hear ya. My high school and even college education didn't involve the likes of Leo Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Dickens, Dickenson, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, or Fitzgerald.

So about last year at this time, I started reading alot of the classics. And I've totally gotten into them. Reading Little Women now since I lost Vanity Fair in the move. And I'm totally LOVING that book.

Keep telling my hubby about yours and Beth's blog. He FINALLY checked yours out the other day. And he raved about it. Just thought you'd like to know.

Posted by: Lisa B at November 27, 2005 8:39 PM

i'm realizing every day that most people are dumb.

i think i might be the elitist here...

Posted by: ali at November 27, 2005 9:12 PM

It helps to have an English degree, which I do BTW, but in all truth I duck out of the room when literature is a category on jeopardy. I suck at Literary trivia. I love books and reading, but when I finish one I'm on to the next and don't remember much of the previous. The papers I wrote in college were always the night before they were due and the day I finished reading the book. I did know the generalities that you discussed, but just barely. Let's just be thinkful they were in a bookstore hopefully opening their minds in some way...

Posted by: Amy at November 27, 2005 11:17 PM

heeheehee...looks like he wrote a christmas book...heeheehee....

Posted by: suze at November 28, 2005 8:55 AM

I don't think it's elitist, but I do think most people are going to disappoint you on this one. Hee, but this reminds me of the time I called the mister a book snob, IN THE BOOKSTORE, and he got PISSED. And I was all confused, like, I didn't mean it in a BAD way...

Posted by: Fraulein N at November 28, 2005 8:58 AM

If Dickens were dating Jessica Simpson I'll bet EVERYONE would know about his Christmas book. It's a sad sad world. It's not like you're talking about Proust or something, don't get any more accessible than Dickens.

Take comfort in the fact that their child will work in the mailroom of the company your child founded.

Posted by: CroutonBoy at November 28, 2005 10:32 AM