“And the skies did open, and coconuts did fall in a deluge on the people of the city, and there was much rejoicing, but then someone got hit rather badly on the head, and the people shook their fists at God, and they vowed never again to eat Mounds bars.”
– from one of those books that never quite made it into the Bible
Hey, I figure since this post is about how people from Fresno aren’t very literate, it doesn’t matter if I just toss a bunch of nonsensical words up there to kick things off, right?
So prepare your eyebrows for the disparaging national survey of the week. This one declares Fresno “the 7th least literate city” in the United States. The web site 24/7 Wall Street reports that Central Connecticut State University considered several categories before awarding the honors, including weekday newspaper circulation per 100 (we’re actually not bad in that regard, with 21.04 readers per 100, the 43rd highest), percentage of adults with college degree (we have 19.1%, 7th lowest), retail bookstores per 10,000 (we’re down there at 0.74, 15th least) and median income ($40,533, 20th lowest.)
In its roundup of other Bottom 10 cities, the survey makes a big deal about the weaknesses of various library systems. For example, Aurora, Colorado is singled out for having just three branches for more than 330,000 residents.
But in a classic case of cherry-picking the data, or at least ignoring positive trends, the survey ignored the strength of the Fresno County library system, which recently persuaded a whopping 73% of voters to renew a library tax. (Perhaps we thought we were voting for Free Hot Fudge Sundae Fridays.)
Yeah, I know: Stop being so serious. You can’t get defensive about stuff like this … especially when you read further down the list and discover that Bakersfield is, ahem, spectacularly ranked on the least-literary cities list as … drum roll, please … No. 1! Nice to know we would beat out our South Valley neighbor in a read-a-thon any day.
As for the most literate city: Those honors go to Washington, D.C.
Hat tip for this item to Mike Oz, who still thinks of his former Beehivers from time to time (when he isn’t writing clever and amusing screeds for Big League Stew).