The Lost Art of Reading Comprehension

The Lost Art of Reading Comprehension

The smart money says you should never blog while angry or you might complain about the lost art of reading comprehension.

Or in simple terms you might mention how you have had three separate incidents in which you wondered if the person you were dealing with had been had fallen out of a tree and hit every branch on the way down.

My father and I share the same last name but have different first and middle names. We also subscribe to some of the same publications but in spite of what my younger sisters say we are clearly different people.

Yet I have had more than one set of email correspondence with the fine people at a popular news magazine about why I wasn’t receiving my subscription. Each time the conversation included blurbs where they suggested I was confused and or crazy to complain because they had extended my subscription.

My response was to ask them to check their information again at which point they admitted they had made a mistake but then suggested it might not be entirely their fault because we had the same last name.

If I had the power I would have given new meaning to the term, “two left feet.” Yep, I would have used the spell I learned at Hogwarts to turn all of the shoes for their “right foot” into left and then laughed.

This would have been high comedy worthy of  the Three Stooges. Clearly I was dealing with an intellect last scene failing the poison test with the man in black. It is INCONCEIVABLE!”

Skimming is Not Reading

I suspect my favorite curmudgeon from Down Under and I could have a real interesting discussion about who is responsible for making sure the information in an email/essay/article/book is understood.

The writer bears the brunt of the responsibility to produce content that is clear and easy to understand, unless they are the author of propositions to be voted upon in which case clarity is frowned upon.

In fact there is a little known law that says anyone who produces any summary that explains exactly what a law does and does not do is to be tarred and feathered. Much as I would like to discuss that with you it is a topic for a different day.

Some of the onus here has to be applied to the reader who should be obligated to do more than skim and pretend the 30 seconds they spent reading something that required a minimum of two was enough to ensure understanding.

But we live during the time of instant gratification in which people want their information in one line of text and not one page.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This

It doesn’t have to be like this nor should it be. We don’t have to be the people who go quietly into the night and let those who excuse laziness with remarks about being too busy to take a moment to read.

We don’t have to be the people who say that keyword optimization will solve all of our productivity problems and suggest that it is too bad if the computer doesn’t recognize sales is a part of business development.

It is our choice to lay down and let it go or push for something more.

photo by: Ben Harding.
  • Lisa Gerber

    The part about the proposition writing made me laugh out loud as I sit here with my voter pamphlet next to me wondering how I’m going to figure out all this local stuff…:)

    • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

      Hi Lisa,

      Yeah, it is legal gibberish, really have to read it closely.

  • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

    Hi Josh

    I tend to leave blogging well alone if I’m angry as I never know what’s going to come out. I may write about it a few days after though when I’ve had a chance to put things into perspective.

    I’m guilty of skimming, I’ll be honest with you. When I first land on a blog I’ll read the whole post and put it in my RSS reader so I know when new stuff is published. Some of the stuff I find is hit and miss so that’s where my skimming comes in. Eventually then I can weed it down to blogs I do want to read and engage with.

    • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

      Hi Tim,

      You leave comments that make it clear you read the posts you comment on. My issue is with the people who don’t. Some of them just miss the boat.

  • http://extremelyaverage.com Brian D. Meeks

    Skimming is not reading, indeed. I agree, but as far as not blogging while angry, well, I’m not giving that one up. Some of my best rants are filled with angst and completed in twenty minutes of hell hath no fury as a writer, scorned.

    On another note, I LOVE the photo. I quite literally was so inspired that before I wrote my comment, I grabbed my Nikon 200 and went on the back porch to take some shots similar to that theme. It was really good light out and I hope they turn out looking as good as your shot.

    • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

      Hi Brian,

      I have to agree that blogging while angry lends a certain useful edge to our posts that I kind of like.

      Wish I could take credit for the photo, but that comes from a plugin called Photo Dropper.