Monday, November 12

These aren’t all future Susan Sontags. Carrying tattered copies of ‘in’ books is a fashion statement for some.

In the Wall Street Journal this past Friday (11/9/01, page W-1), an article entitled Look Who’s Reading by Pooja Bhatia calls attention to the fact that reading has suddenly become hip in the under-25 set—the post-Gen-X generation. “It’s a backlash against MTV culture,” according to sociologist William Strauss, author of Millennials Rising: The Next Great American Generation. Well, a backlash against MTV culture is fine with me, but what’s not good is that this movement seems to be based more on image than anything else. I quote from the article:

No one would accuse Kathleen Dodge of being a slacker. The Berkeley, Calif., 25-year-old showed up three hours early just to get a seat at a local reading by [Dave] Eggers last summer. She wore a carefully chosen outfit—green cashmere sweater, long black shirt—that she felt connoted just the right mix of intellect and style.