Saturday, 26 May 2012

Blip: Speed-reading/What will the great sea of morons come up with next?

While doing my daily research into any random portal that took my fancy yesterday I came across the one of the most absurd and frustratingly innane ideas that has ever been conceived.

Speed-reading competitions.

I'm not kidding; these things actually exist. They are only particularly recognised or respected (or given any treatment other than disdain or miserable laughter) in America, of all places.

The premise is as stupid as it sounds, multiple people competing to read as much as possible in as short a time as possible. The best people read around 1500 in one minute. This is possibly stupid enough to justify culling all those involved but it gets worse. These people average 67% comprehension, meaning they only understand, and thus read, around half of the words. So somehow, all the words count even if they only read half (and I use the term "read" quite wrongly.) I think when you don't read most of the material that you're trying to read, it counts as a failed attempt at reading, not-reading, if you will. Speed-not-reading sounds more absurd but I suspect it's more accurate.

Reading is supposed to be a pillar of modern society, something that represents centuries of recorded and recording knowledge, that allows study in all areas of knowledge and that allows expression of an extremely personal kind. Reading is the counterpart to writing, it is intended only to be what you do with words (i.e. read them), not to be reduced in such a debasing way.

Leaving aside the fact that every word (including its placement in the surrounding material, spelling, intonation etc.) carries a vast amount of connotations and personal implications, reading cannot be appreciated at high speeds. This is so obvious it's actually difficult to explain why. It's like speed-eating competitions, or bulk-eating competitions, they display equally retarded behaviour and yet they both exist too. Can you guess where they are respected and recognised too?

Trust the Americans to ruin something as sacred and simple as reading. You have to give them credit, it was a remarkably difficult thing to do but they soldiered on and managed it, although they had to stoop to a new low in the process.

This has been a public service announcement informing you all of the dangers of allowing an extended, organised group of evolutionary rejects that are intellectually absent to run a country. Especially one big enough to contain 50 states.

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