Wednesday, May 14, 2014

134/365 • Read, read, read!


I was reading with Joel tonight, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and gosh, That Roald Dahl was clever with his words.
I will leave you with this excerpt. 


“The most important thing we've learned, 
So far as children are concerned, 
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let 
Them near your television set -- 
Or better still, just don't install 
The idiotic thing at all. 
In almost every house we've been, 
We've watched them gaping at the screen. 
They loll and slop and lounge about, 
And stare until their eyes pop out. 
(Last week in someone's place we saw 
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.) 
They sit and stare and stare and sit 
Until they're hypnotised by it, 
Until they're absolutely drunk 
With all that shocking ghastly junk. 
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still, 
They don't climb out the window sill, 
They never fight or kick or punch, 
They leave you free to cook the lunch 
And wash the dishes in the sink -- 
But did you ever stop to think, 
To wonder just exactly what 
This does to your beloved tot? 
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD! 
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD! 
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND! 
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND 
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND 
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND! 
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE! 
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE! 
HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES! 
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say, 
'But if we take the set away, 
What shall we do to entertain 
Our darling children? Please explain!' 
We'll answer this by asking you, 
'What used the darling ones to do? 
'How used they keep themselves contented 
Before this monster was invented?' 
Have you forgotten? Don't you know? 
We'll say it very loud and slow: 
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ, 
AND READ and READ, and then proceed 
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks! 
One half their lives was reading books! 
The nursery shelves held books galore! 
Books cluttered up the nursery floor! 
And in the bedroom, by the bed, 
More books were waiting to be read! 
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales 
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales 
And treasure isles, and distant shores 
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars, 
And pirates wearing purple pants, 
And sailing ships and elephants, 
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot, 
Stirring away at something hot. 
(It smells so good, what can it be? 
Good gracious, it's Penelope.) 
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter 
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter, 
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland, 
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and- 
Just How The Camel Got His Hump, 
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump, 
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul, 
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole- 
Oh, books, what books they used to know, 
Those children living long ago! 
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, 
Go throw your TV set away, 
And in its place you can install 
A lovely bookshelf on the wall. 
Then fill the shelves with lots of books, 
Ignoring all the dirty looks, 
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks, 
And children hitting you with sticks- 
Fear not, because we promise you 
That, in about a week or two 
Of having nothing else to do, 
They'll now begin to feel the need 
Of having something to read. 
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy! 
You watch the slowly growing joy 
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen 
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen 
In that ridiculous machine, 
That nauseating, foul, unclean, 
Repulsive television screen! 
And later, each and every kid 
Will love you more for what you did.”

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