Don’t Read a Friggin’ Dictionary!


Or actually I should be condoning and reinforcing, not being a fan of independent education, nor the inequalities it contributes to an already fractious system.

Following an omnibus [relevance of pompous term shortly…] into Sidmouth this morning, I was observing its Back of Bus Advertising for Queens College, Taunton, and that ad being on a mobile signage it rightly relied on image over text.

The image was of a cherubic young boy/lad, with slightly ruffled hair [oh to be a Boris in the future…], reading a book: an activity one would normally recognise as a positive educational endeavour.

However, this little snot was reading an Oxford Dictionary! Now, as someone who actually compiled his own personal dictionary – but in my late teenage years and as an aspirant writer – I am not averse to recommending the learning of words. As an English teacher as well, I obviously encouraged the use and exploration of a dictionary for general and also specific learning and writing situations. But as an image and advertisement for the activity of reading as well as, presumably, a ‘good’ [expensive!] education?

How dreadful. How apt, perhaps. If wanting to transmit a sense of tradition and formality, why not Shakespeare? Dickens? A generic book of Poetry?

But as I said, maybe I should applaud the silly pomposity of the idea.

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