AWP’s distillation of the NEA report decries the decentralization of reading’s importance in culture and declining basic literacy in the same breath, as if they are the same problem, which is a bit like saying a starving child and a man who only eats brie are equally malnourished, and can therefore be served by the same nagging science. They aren’t and they can’t. The child needs the state. The man needs friends.
To the NEA’s credit, they pay attention to 9 year olds, and “Reading for fun” is one of the important measures in their report. Huh. I rather doubt that AWP supports fun, so that must be a sticky point for them. Well I know it’s cheap laughs to pick on AWP’s review of the report rather than complain about the study itself, (I can't pick on the study--it's all full of numbers and stuff) but I feel AWP speaks more directly to writers and writing teachers than the NEA. I won’t go so far as to claim they set the tone, but they certainly echo it.
AWP could set the tone though, if they were more stimulated than depressed by the new. Seems like it’s their job to be stimulated and stimulating. Certainly the writers they feature recognize that the act of moaning is a symptom of sentimentalism.