THE HARRY POTTER EFFECT....Via Dan Drezner, the NEA has released its latest survey of reading habits, and the news is good. Fiction reading among young adults is way up, and overall reading is up too. More than 50% of adults read a piece of literature last year. Huzzah!
Check out the angle on that slope! She almost got us back up to the reading level we enjoyed before cable, video games, and the intertoobz all became awesome wicked cool.
But that's not all she's done. She's badass at fighting terrorism, too:
In fact, the interrogator who successfully brought down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — and who has written and spoken publicly about how torture doesn’t work — told Laura Ingraham last month he broke one insurgent after he gave him a copy of Harry Potter.That's right, bitches. She's all that.
1. I wanna see a survey which tells us whether people who read Harry Potter books go on to read anything else. I mean, I guess one book is better than none. . . well, maybe not if that one book is The Purpose-Driven Life or The Secret. . . Well, anyway, more information please!
2. The report says, "A decline in both reading and reading ability was
clearly documented in the first generation of teenagers and young adults raised in a society full of
videogames, cell phones, iPods, laptops, and other electronic devices." Apple launched the iPod line on 23 October 2001, essentially at the point when the "percentage of 18-24-year-olds" line starts going up.
Hmmmmm. I believe this means a Harry Potter book is a demonstrably better weapon in the WOT than, say, the Bible. Why am I not surprised?
Hmmm. I see this as meaning Harry Potter books are a more powerful weapon in protecting America from terrorists than, say, the Bible.
I'd love to get excited, but that's one big honking lie in graphical form.
The first ten years take up 30mm (give or take). About 3mm per year.
The next ten years take 27mm. 2.7mm per year. This makes the downdrop a bit more dramatic in the middle, and serves to disguise somewhat the segue into:
The last 6 years take a tad under 12.4 mm, or about 2.065 mm per year.
The years at the end are dramatically compressed.
If they're prepared to lie about that, what else have they done? Fudged the numbers? Who knows? Whoever produced the graph didn't do that by accident, but with an agenda, so you have to treat the rest of it with doubt.
People lie, for all kinds of reasons. You have to check, unfortunately, even when the message is a good one.
I'd blog about it with a pointer to the original, but right now this depresses me so much I can't bear to do it. Maybe later.
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