Over the break I realized that we haven’t talked about literacy and pop culture at all. We’ve talked about literacy in the Amish community, in schools, in the past, present, and future, but never in pop culture. Over the break I was catching up on Glee and one of the characters admits that he can’t read and later on finds out he has dyslexia. There were a few hints leading up to his big confession, but I didn’t catch any of them! The climax where he finally admits it accurately depicted how non-literates get by which we discussed with the GPLC women. Here’s what happened (not word for word, but close!):
Jake: Here’s my biggest fear. (hands a piece of paper to Ryder)
Ryder: Be a man and read it to me!
bla bla bla
Jake: You have to tell me your secret now. You just told me to be a man and read mine out loud to you.
Ryder: I told you to read it out loud because I CAN’T READ!
Dramatic, I know. But when it happened my reaction wasn’t “oh my gosh! No wonder Ryder has a C- average!” It was more like “Literacy in pop culture! Now the whole world can see what a major problem illiteracy is in America and how we can’t keep passing kids on through school and assuming they’re stupid and lost causes! If only everyone knew as much about literacy as I do! Here’s their opportunity!” This episode of Glee has come at an excellent time. Our Literacy Problems essays are being workshopped on Monday and I someone is surely trying to solve the problem of illiteracy. For many issues, the first step is acknowledgement and getting the word out. Remember KONY2012? A major television show with a wide audience has just introduced problems with literacy in American high schools. Ryder had been passed through school, never tested, too embarrassed to ask for help, and convinced he was stupid. He had made it to 10th or 11th grade with minimal reading skills. There’s an entire scene that shows him going through the testing process when he finally gets help. Although this is just a TV show, I was excited to see an issue of literacy being addressed. As an avid television watcher, this is the first show I can think of that has introduced a character that cannot read. I’m searching for the scene of Ryder taking his test to add for you non-Glee watchers out there, it’s pretty interesting! Until then, I’ll be keeping my eye out for more literacy problems in pop culture. Have you noticed an?y