Second-guessed to Death

by philip scott wikel

You may or may not have noticed that one of my greatest concerns at the moment is the state of literacy in the US. For some strange reason some of my blog readers are making the assumption that I’m publishing information about illiteracy because my book sales have been less than great. To this I ask: Is it really that hard for you to believe that I might actually care about something more than book sales? If so, perhaps I’ve failed as a writer and as a person.

Mind you, none of this is new to me. I’ve been second-guessed quite a bit in my life and strangely enough it usually comes from people who hardly know me. These folks seem to enjoy making up their own reasons why I do what I do, say what I say, or publish what I publish. This is not a complaint, it’s merely a statement of fact.

If the things I publish make you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed or even angry, please don’t blame me for these feelings. I am just a messenger and, am only human. If you disagree with me, please say so. I love a good discussion. And if you’d rather not hear my opinion, please choose another blog to read. But if you want to set yourself up as my psychologist or insinuate that you know what’s best for me without consulting me first, please take a look at yourself and ask why you feel you know me better than I know myself. I’ve been second-guessed to death and it’s a good thing cats like me have more than nine lives.

The epidemic of illiteracy in this country is far worse than our economy, the Gulf Oil Spill or the effects of Global warming. A “powerful” nation should be measured by it’s ability to understand the human condition, not by it’s ability to wage war. Where are the American Generals that should be arming our citizens with knowledge? What is power if power hasn’t the ability to read and understand the world around it? Real power should be that which informs itself with the wisdom of The Enlightenment Period, The Renaissance, or the American Revolution. Without that wisdom we are little more than the United States of the “Bottom-line.” What does it mean to be an American if our only measure of success is our profit margin?

Now go buy my book, because otherwise, I will have failed as an American.

For more information, please see: Illiteracy: An Incurable Disease or Education Malpractice?



6 thoughts on “Second-guessed to Death

  1. Trudie

    You are so right Phil. This is a massive problem and I think most would be suprised to discover just how many manage to get through their whole lives without anyone knowing that they can’t read or write. I have people in my life who are close to me that fall into this category and it’s very difficult to ask, and many times, to find, help as an adult. There are also many literate adults who don’t have a clue what is really going on and no amount of trying to educate them is going to help. Consider yourself blessed that you fall into neither of these categories. I know I do.

    Much love


  2. Ginger Aurella

    I agree – excellent post. Some of the “American Generals” you asked about are our teachers, but ask Dylan or Josh how many of their teachers seem to care how well they can read or write. This isn’t a blanket statement about all teachers, however, I have noticed several in recent years that care more about tenure and making it to retirement than they do about actually educating our children.


  3. I had a conversation with a teacher from my son’s school the other day and when I told him that I believe schools knowingly graduate students who are performing far below average, he had nothing to say.

    I suppose it’s bad for the business of education (schools nowadays are no more than corporate subsidiaries of the state government) to admit that they aren’t teaching our children properly. Their main concern is attendance for which they get paid per student on a daily basis. My son’s school is far more concerned about his attendance than his academic performance.

    It’s crazy when you think of how many people work in our schools knowing that funding, not education, is the bottom line. What happened to the teacher’s and the school’s administrative employees having a sense of moral purpose for, and a duty to, our children?


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