Dr. John W. Miller, President of Central Connecticut State University, has released his annual list of America’s 10 Most Literate Cities and, once again, we ain’t on it. Minneapolis and Seattle tied for first with D.C. third. Miller’s annual study considers each city’s per-capita newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. Periodical publishing was the only category in which New York ranked at all, #3 behind Washington, D.C. and St. Louis, Missouri (!).
Do these findings seem counterintuitive? Not to us, and not only because New York has a lot of desperately ill-educated citizens. Face it, New York barely has anything you could call literary life. Instead of salons we have spelling bees. Most of our so-called cultural events are celebrity bull sessions held so toffs can congratulate each other on their sophistication. Our universities are not temples of knowledge but vocational schools for the overclass. Everyone works all the goddamned time and has no leisure to read a goddamn book. No wonder graphic novels are so popular. We’re surprised New Yorkers aren’t communicating solely by means of clicks, grunts, and stock quotes.
PATH commuters note: Newark, New Jersey, though ranked 52 overall, actually tied with Washington in per capita newspaper circulation.