October 29, 2018
It took Jimmy Kimmel to prove Americans don’t read
by Michael Barron
After PBS released a poll that noted that the favorite novel of most Americans was To Kill a Mocking Bird, late night show host Jimmy Kimmel called PBS, “PBS”. Practically bullshit? As Kimmel noted, “I think To Kill a Mocking Bird is America’s favorite novel to say is their favorite novel when someone asks them.” To prove the PBS against PBS, he took to the streets. What he found out wasn’t surprising. Here are some of the answers to “What is your favorite novel?”
“No clue. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel.”
“Let me see… I don’t really read that much, I guess.”
“Pet Cemetery, if I read it. I’ve seen the film and the book. But it was this thick [spaces fingers apart to demonstrate].”
“You’re putting me on the spot! Uh, the Bible?”
The closest the segment came to a good answer was from some guy who said Moby-Dick. Though he had never read it, he said ,”I hear it’s about a big whale. That’s all I know really about it, but it seems pretty interesting.” The closest the segment came to all out silly was a man wearing a superhero costume who said Fear, a non-fiction book about Trump was his favorite. Clearly, the villainy of literary illiteracy wasn’t the fight he was after. And people wonder why publishers worry about staying in business.
Watch the full segment below.
Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.