Mappa Mundi

Confronted by a bridge, they are the ones who bring up references to falling water in early modern American architecture. Oh wait. But that’s premised on their ability to recognize that Prairie Style and Textile Style are not random but deliberately constructed marketing descriptions from a retail catalog called Urban Chic. Or perhaps they skim through books like How to Talk About Practically Anything and Sound Smarter Than You Really Are. It may not be apparent but there is a relationship between a culture’s consuming habits and the prevailing literacy rates. In yesterday’s paper there was a story on yet another librarian who lost her job for encouraging a fourth grader to read. The kid read at least three or four books a week and had won every prize at his county library— little plastic cup, pencils from the Dollar Store, bookmarks, a T-shirt donated by the Rotary Club. I’m willing to bet he could explain how The Odyssey is still relevant and as exciting as Nintendo or an RPG. Parents complained that their children couldn’t keep up; they wanted the staff to just draw names out of a hat. Fields of soybean and cotton bordering the road. New construction sites in an area the city council calls the new industrial corridor. Intermittent sweep of taillights— In the dead of night, there’s still never enough light to see by, much less read signs: deer crossing; soft shoulder; road freezes over; sheer drop. The GPS couldn’t save you; it would take more than twenty years to bring you home to yourself.

 

In response to Via Negativa: The Devil Hears Voices.

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