Luke Niebler

Beach Reads.

Luke Niebler
Beach Reads.
Q.jpg

What is the easiest way for me to become, or at least to appear to be, well-read?

 

 

The category “well-read” is fraught with problems of privilege, discourse, canonicity, and language. As James Paul Gee accurately points out, there is no such thing as an isolated act of “reading;” rather, we can be said to read texts (word-based, visual, olfactory, psychic, or other) within a particular context and Discourse. Additionally, he argues that Discourses have such complex, arcane rules regulating membership, that it is nearly impossible for you to join a dominant Discourse (such as a network television sitcom) if you were raised a member of a non-dominant Discourse (if you were, for example, raised by circus performers). We can see, then, that a well-read network television star would have to have read Ted Danson’s gripping book Oceana at a young age, while a circus performer would be mocked mercilessly for reading about the sea.

 

Thus, we can clearly answer your question: you cannot “become, or at least appear to be, well-read.” You ARE well-read in your primary Discourse, and you will NEVER be well-read in another discourse. Your best hope is that someone mistakes you for a member of the Discourse you wish to join, and you can maintain the charade without becoming a dual subject.

 

I would advise you to found your own school of post-Dada, pre-modernist tactile poetry. That way, you will have ultimate control over the Discourse and no one will be able to accuse you of being “ill-read.”

 

Question Source: The Gentleman Scholar