A friend suggested the other day that I and a group of friends might like to listen to Point of View on BBC Radio 4 or read the transcript of the latest episode by Will Self.
In fact I did hear that programme more than once. On occasions I have heard an episode of Point of View three times as my radio is switched on almost 24/7 and the programme is aired on a Friday night, Sunday morning and repeated on the World Service over the weekend. BBC Radio 4 automatically switches to join the BBC World Service from 01:00 to 05:20 hours, to allow for the studio windows at Radio 4 to be opened and dissipate the hot air of the day! 😉
I had a problem with this particular episode. In fact I was rather cross by the end of it.
I don’t know Will Self personally, but he sounds like a very intelligent and highly educated person, and there is no sin in that. It is a gift that should be used to help and not condemn those less fortunate. Not everyone was born with a silver spoon dictionary in their mouth and the verbal diarrhoea to spout the contents at will. It is a gift and should be used wisely.
I would go as far as to say he actually shows little consideration (in my book) for those less educated or bright as he is. His talk gives the impression that those vocabularially challenged are lazy, not allowing for the effort it takes to read, never mind understand an article.
I am not alone in my struggle to read and understand the written word. I have said so before, the words jump about on the page, unfamiliar words cause their own stress and I struggle to get to the end of a paragraph, never mind a chapter or book.
I read each line three times:
- to discover the words
- then to understand the sentence and finally
- to reread the full paragraph.
It may sound clumsy but it works for me.
Hearing an unfamiliar multi-syllable word for the first time is a distraction that takes my attention from those that went before or follow. Not being able to say it, never mind spell it prevents me from finding the meaning.
When I was growing up, food for the body and practical skills for everyday living were considered more important than food for my mind (books).
Will Self’s words for the week:
I wonder if knowing the meaning of these words will put more food on my table or heating oil in my tank? Will they teach me the humility of washing the feet of my neighbour?
Words & books might distract from the pains and aches in life, but only distract – a little like morphine, we still have to live through them.
There have been several articles recently in the blogosphere on a similar vein. Some folk seem to think that only intellectual offerings worthy of a Ph.D in English should be allowed web space.
There is room for everyone. Read if you wish, if it is not to your liking then move on and save your breath to cool your porridge!