Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 28 - Is Your Life Really That Bad, Julie Powell?

Day 28.

Julie Powell has a fair share of problems. She has a dead-end job, terrible friends and a grating personality. But I have to ask, is her life really that bad? Because I know she has at least one going for her...


Today's Topic of Discussion: YOU ARE LITERATE.

That's right--the secret's out, Julie. You can read! And you can write! So what do you really have to complain about? I realize that according to the latest census data, the American literacy rate is 99% right now, which seems pretty good at first glance. But if you think about it, don't you already have to be literate to fill out a census form? I mean, really, if the person can't read or write, how are they supposed to fill out a form indicating so? The stats are biased towards literate people. I'm calling shenanigans on this.

Do you know how many people would kill to be doing what you're doing right now?

Also, a brief side note concerning the reported 1% of illiterate citizens in the U.S.--how did the census people find out they couldn't read or write? Did they get back a bunch of blank census forms? Or maybe they just counted ones with scribbles/smiley faces on it? Someone look into this. 

Flaws in census logic aside, there are presumably a shitload of illiterate adults out there. You should count yourself lucky that you aren't one of them, Julie Powell. Do you realize how much harder the Julie/Julia Project would've been if you couldn't read or write? Nearly impossible. Imagine having to cook your way through Julia Child's cookbook if you couldn't fucking read. You couldn't do it. Hell, you can't even imagine it right now, because an imagination is nourished by reading at a young age.

Plus, you think you could blog as an illiterate? Highly unlikely. I mean, you probably don't have to be a genius to run Hungover Owls or Perez, but you at least have to have a basic understanding and handle of the English language (for Hungover Owls, at least). And that book deal you get later on? You can forget about it. Only 10% of all books are written by illiterate people.

So be sure to thank your parents for reading to you at night, JP. Thank your elementary school teachers for showing you the difference between the long and short "o" sounds. Thank your local street sign makers for forcing you to learn the words "Stop," "Yield" and "Speed Limit 65."

And finally, thank the much-maligned American educational system, to which you owe all your success for making you a literate adult. God Bless America.


Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "They were slapping folks in the face right and left, and I was sweating like a pig."


  1. I'm so glad to be able to use my literacy skills to read this blog.

  2. You know, if you factor in the concept of "functional illiteracy", the illiteracy stats of the US population go way up.

    Just sayin'.

    (As an aside, I can't imagine being unable to read my Bartenders Bible. That's as essential to me as MtAoFC is to Julie Powell!

  3. A lot of people do the census verbally (they hire people to go door-to-door). So it's totally possible, though I don't know how they would/could focus on illiterate peoples.

  4. Hey, just started reading your blog yesterday, and I've basically been unable to stop. Mostly in a good way.
    On the census topic, I worked for the 2010 census going door to door filling out people's forms for them, they send people to get every single person counted (including homeless people who can't really have the forms sent to their house), however, we basically just have to write down whatever they tell us. We wouldn't make someone PROVE that they can read, we'd just say like, are you literate? and if they say yes, that's what gets marked down. Totally possible a lot of people are just embarrassed or defensive and lie about it.

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