Reading is fundamental. I learned that from a television commercial in 1980 when I was 5 years old. Apparently, the marketing strategy worked and the message has stuck with me for 39 years. Recently, my daughter had to title her English essay. I suggested, “Reading is Fundamental.” Her teacher was not amused with my take on her assignment. Ironically, it is my ability to read that has enabled me to use a “turn of phrase” to make a point, however satirical it may be.
The biggest benefit of reading, in my opinion, is discovering new words as we peruse pages of text in our favorite literary piece. For example, the word “retcon.”
Retcon means to change the interpretation of events-specifically in a film, television series, or other fictional work. The most prevalent use of retconning is in the modern day comic book film. In the comics, someone is always coming back from the dead, turning into something else, trading identities with another superhero, or traveling through time to save the universe.
Other words used generously in film and television today are “re-boot,” “remake” and “re-imagine.” Believe it or not, there is a difference. A reboot basically starts over from scratch. A re-make uses an earlier movie as the main source material to re-create the original. A re-imagining adds a twist to the original source. “Oceans 11” is a re-make of the original. “The Amazing Spiderman” is a re-boot of the original “Spiderman” film. The television version of “The Andromeda Strain” is a re-imagining of the film.
Just this week I discovered that “Carmen Sandiego” and “Blue’s Clues” are being reproduced for the next generation of tweens and toddlers. Hollywood is showing me two things: they are out of original ideas, and I have passed the point of middle-age in that my kids are now watching characters I grew up with.
I was “Carmen Sandiego” before “Carmen Sandiego” was cool. Not very good at geography, I never figured out where in the world Carmen Sandiego was. “Mary Poppins” was a rite-of-passage for my kids, as it was for me when I was their age. Now they have just seen “Mary Poppins 2.” Nostalgia is in.
I can’t wait until Panama Jack t-shirts, parachute pants, and Members Only jackets come back in style so I can be “cool” again.