As much as it pains me to mention Kanye West on my blog at all, I just can’t help pointing this out. Kanye is, apparently, a proud non-reader. Interestingly enough, he’s also an author of a new book.
In an interview about his book, Kanye “eloquently” pointed out…
Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed… I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life.
Ignoring how just plain sad that is, how dumb do you have to be to advocate non-reading when you’re promoting your own book?
Jeff Hobbs at The Millions has a great open letter response to this that I suggest reading. My favorite quote from his response was this one,
Just a heads-up here: Not only does the inherent irony at play in these words make you appear unintelligent, which you obviously aren’t, but you have also undermined the privilege of living in a country in which we can read anything and everything we choose or, as in your unfortunate case, nothing at all. Though you may be a self-proclaimed “proud non-reader,” surely you cannot be proud of rallying others to follow you in this non-ambition.
Later, Hobbs has an especially beautiful paragraph about how we engage with text and the experience of reading, but I won’t quote it so I can persuade you to read the whole letter yourself.
While I was pretty disgusted about Kanye’s attitude, it also got me thinking about some of the other non-readers in my life. I’ve never seen my dad read a book, for example, and Boyfriend doesn’t really get why I read so much because he rarely reads a book by choice. Certainly, no one I know is quite as ignorant as Kanye appears, but I know plenty of people who rarely read a book or like making excuses about why they just don’t have the time/energy/interest in reading. Sometimes I get that, and sometimes it just astounds me.
Do you know any proud non-readers? What excuses do they give you for why they don’t read? What are your responses?