Reading appears passive because it takes place in a chair, on a bed, at the beach, in the tub, etc. Reading is action, exercise demanding strength of mind. Therein lies the resistance (‘so boring!’) of folks spoon-fed DVDs and television growing up (John Berryman replies, ‘Ever to confess you’re bored / means you have no /Inner Resources.’). Reading these words requires mind muscle that the average episode of Law and Order does not (exemption: visual arts can render complex readings). Watching takes less effort, but using your cabeza to think-into-being concepts, characters, and ideas lying dormant in a book, well, this means working the imagination into a sweat and, by default, developing other difficult-to-discuss human attributes like empathy and conscience. We stretch and test and grow those head-muscles through debate, analysis, and reading.
“Why schedule work-outs for the body, but neglect everything above the neck? Start a revolution, ‘Kill your television’ and ‘Steal this book.’”