News flash: The Moscow government will soon launch a social campaign to encourage Muscovites to read more. For some reason, however, officials decided to use footballers for this purpose. Football players are apparently those, who spend their days reading a lot.
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky, CSKA defender Sergey Ignashevich, Khimki half-back Andrey Tikhonov and Lokomotiv half-back Alexander Aliyev have already been invited to take part in the photo shoot.
In my humble opinion, a poster of a footballer with a slogan saying "Distance isn't relevant when a book is near" looks rather strange. Such a poster does promote the image of a particular footballer. Aliyev, for example, has scored eleven goals this season. What does reading have to do with it? Was he reading while running around a football stadium?
It is not the first campaign like this in Moscow. In May of this year, the Union of Writers of Moscow initiated a similar campaign. Hundreds of posters have been plastered all over Moscow saying "Read More," "Open Something New," etc.
Why does such a natural phenomenon as reading receive so much attention from the authorities? The head of the Russian Ministry for Culture Alexander Sokolov said in 2007 that the situation with reading in Russia was critical. One had to take the problem to the level of the government, he added. It was also said that modern-day Russians read ten times as less as Soviet citizens did during the 1970s.
It is an open secret that reading boosts the development of intellect. Those people, who are used to reading books from early childhood, have better understanding of ideas, interconnection of phenomena, etc. They analyze information faster, very often take right decisions, and have active creative imagination. They also have better skills in giving precise formulations. In general, readers are more independent than those who hardly ever read or don't read at all.
Reading is not just an act of intake of information. It implies brain activity with this information. Presenting information through video has its advantages, but it is mostly about entertainment.
A book gives a person an opportunity to take a deep look into a problem, to study the material more attentively. One can re-read the things that failed to be memorized before, make notes on pages or, in the long run, put the book aside to get back to it later.
A book is always a primary source of information. A motion picture can indeed give a nice and esthetic presentation of information, but a film is always secondary.
A person can not be educated and socially valuable if they do not have reading as their hobby.
It is typical of the contemporary society to have no values which would not be categorized as material values. When the communist ideology was abolished, there was no alternative offered to people. The gap was filled with Western propaganda which is entirely based on money.
Taking into consideration the fact that such mentality continues to dominate the Russian people, especially young people, one shall assume that the situation will only be getting worse in the future.
Of course, it is necessary to distract people, especially the younger generation, from materialism and consumption. It is important to make them think about the value of life, its creative and spiritual side.
But it's naïve and even ridiculous to hope that it could be possible to achieve this goal plastering posters and installing billboards with footballers in the streets.
One has to realize at first that the nation, which used to be regarded as the world's most widely-read nation, stopped being one for a reason, as a result of the collapse of the system of education.