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Wednesday, April 24, 2002

So when I was up at Quintette last month, I started flipping through some old Reader's Digests because we needed to use one for the fire. As a kid, I always gravitated to the jokes, and to the "It Pays To Enrich Your Word Power" section. Reading through those this time, I was surprised. Either they've lowered their standards (which I think quite likely) or I didn't know anything as a kid (also possible, but I don't think my vocabulary has expanded ~that much~ since high school). I used to routinely know about 40% of those words, have heard another 20-30%, and the remainder were mysteries to me. Now, as I flipped through half a year of Reader's Digests, I realized I knew all the words. Actually, there was one word in the batch I didn't know, but even that one I'd heard before.

So is Reader's Digest dumbing down? And if so, what does that say about the magazine and their readership and American society. I don't know, but it clearly has stuck in my head for a while.


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