Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Micro-Cosm of Bad Media; Books to read before you die?


I frequently critique main stream media, unconventional media (blogs), and right wing attack dogs (FOX). The problem is that the media business is built around selling stories. How do they sell stories? By exaggerating. I found a non-consequential example that exemplifies this problem. On AOL you can find the "10 Books to Read before You Die". Sounds good enough, but then you look through the list and realize that it has many books that aren't often considered books that belong in the category of books most prominently both popular Dan Brown books, Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. I've read both of these books and they are certainly good. They are NOT within the top ten books that anyone should read before the die...maybe the top twenty.Probably not. Also, on the list is Ayn Rand's conservative manifesto, Atlas Shrugged. While I have not read the book, I have never seen it recommended as a top ten literature book.

How was this list compiled? Who decided that these ten books are the top ten books you should read before you die? Well...no one.

There was a poll of "2,413 U.S. adults" which asked them "to name their favorite books." And thus, AOL decided that Americans top 10 favorite books equals the top 10 books that YOU should read. This would be better titled "Top 10 books you are statistically likely to have read and maybe liked." Dumb.

6 comments:

Jill Rodde said...

For the record, Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead is one of my favorite books. While I obviously think Objectivism is pretty dumb, I really adore the book.

Pablo Kenney said...

Well...in order to maintain my claim I'm going to assume that The Fountainhead is much better than Atlas shrugged.

Favela Cranshaw said...

I would be interested to know how you reached the decision to hyphenate micro and cosm? Being so well read and all.

Favela Cranshaw said...

Us Randroids are out to get you, Pablo.

Pablo Kenney said...

Favela,
Good question, it was mostly instinctual. Would you really say that if you were making a list of the top ten books "some person" read you would recommend Ayn Rand? Remember top 10. Also, I never claimed to be well-read, I was critiquing the method used in the AOL list. I think you and Jill may have just made me add a book to my summer reading list.

Favela Cranshaw said...

I am an Objectivist and it is my opinion that "Atlas Shrugged" is the most important book ever written. For some, it is the Bible or the Torah or The Koran. Look around to see what those books have done for humanity. Your mileage will differ, of course.