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King stubbornly refuses to amend his comments
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, May 08, 2008

Funny, we've been pushing support for "Books for Soldiers" and Stephen King is saying, essentially, that poor readers are stuck with going in the military.

The controversy continues with King following up his former remarks with this:
"I see a lot of young people who don’t test well and don’t read particularly well," he said. "When we ask them what they’re going to do, they say go into the service. If you can read, the world is open to you, your opportunities are endless. If you can’t read, your options are more limited. For low-income students with low grades, the [Armed Services] is one of their options."
Obviously, to a point, he's absolutely correct. If you can read, your opportunities are much greater than otherwise.

And, just as obviously, if you can't read, your options are drastically more limited.

However, if you can't read, one of those options you'll be unable to exercise is joining the military. Sorry, illiterate need not apply because they're not going to take you.

That's what is so annoying about this repeated mantra from King - it assumes something which simply isn't true, and uses the military as the sole example of this untruth, as if going into the military is the absolute bottom of the barrel as far as choices go.

Well it may be for Stephen King (and I'd guess the military might view him in much the same way) but for any number of young men and women, it is their first choice, even when they're marvelous readers. King can't seem to wrap his head around that point. The military is also an option for high-income students with high grades, and, as statistics have shown, the vast majority of the military comes from the middle class, and as mentioned, have a higher level of high school grads than does the civilian workforce.

Had he just stopped with the claim that being unable to read limits your options while reading and reading well broadens them, he'd have been fine. But his ignorance of the military (against which, it appears, he may hold at some level of disdain), his obvious bias against it and his political views about Iraq seem to have overcome whatever message he was trying to transmit. For those who know better about the military, his original remarks ended up making King seem an ignorant fool. His continued defense of those remarks validates that conclusion.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

A while back King had a bit that ended up being somewhat anti-gun, and that made me really think about ever reading his stuff again...

This one finalized the deal. Won’t even watch The Mist now...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
wonder what all those military pilots would have to say to mr king.
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Whatever it is, I bet it can be summed up using one finger...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Soooo...I guess that BS in Aerospace Engineering (with honors), qualified Nuclear Engineering Officer, Iraq War veteran by choice (as a Naval Officer on submarines I had to volunteer to go), currently a test engineer just doesn’t measure up for Mr. King...I guess being a rocket scientist and joining the military must be just scraping the bottom of the barrel.

It never ceases to amaze me how some are shocked that I served of my own free will and was proud to do so.
Written By: matt
URL: http://
Now I’m confused.

When I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, I thought I was reading the Bachman books. According to Mr. King, I was just enjoying the pretty pictures on the cover.
Written By: Robb Allen
Sounds like he’s channeling John Kerry. As I was reading Kings quote all I could think of was,
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.
Written By: tonto
URL: http://
I guess he won’t expect any of the troops to read his books then.
After all, they can’t.

Arrogant east coast liberal tool.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
...his ignorance of the military...
It’s such shabby and willful ignorance. He maintains it only by keeping his eyes tightly shut in the face of plain and abundant evidence contradicting his assertion that US military operations in Iraq are a haven for illiterate losers. Unable to defend this inane slander, he’s reduced to spinning and blustering, changing the subject and even to simple-minded bullying.

Witness this, the statement he posted Monday on his official website:
A message from Stephen

That a right-wing-blog would impugn my patriotism because I said children should learn to read, and could get better jobs by doing so, is beneath contempt. Noel Sheppard says, “Nice sentiment when the nation is at war, Stephen.” I guess he feels ignorance and illiteracy are OK when the country needs cannon-fodder. I guess he also feels that the war in Iraq has nationwide approval. Well, it doesn’t have mine. It is a waste of national resources. . . and that includes the youth and blood of the 4,000 American troops who have lost their lives there and for the tens of thousands who have been wounded. I live in a national guard town, and I support our troops, but I don’t support either the war or educational policies that limit the options of young men and women to any one career—military or otherwise. If you agree, find Sheppard on the internet, and send him an email:

“Hi, Noel—Stephen King says to shut up and I agree.”


Posted 5 May 2008
To state, for starters, the obvious, Sheppard didn’t impugn King’s patriotism because he said children should learn to read. And then, what is all this "I guess he feels" nonsense? Can he not just address, directly, what Sheppard actually said and maybe make an actual effort to defend his own original words? Offering his general disapproval of the war, by the way, does not in any way support his ridiculous assertion that illiterate "cannon-fodder" are fighting it.

There’s certainly no mystery as to why King elects to cap off his message with that devastating rejoinder, shut up, and to enlist others to join him in shouting it. He has no credible response to offer and he knows it.
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I thought all the illiterate losers worked at comcast.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
and that includes the youth and blood of the 4,000 American troops who have lost their lives there and for the tens of thousands who have been wounded.
All of whom who can’t read, right Steve?
Good on ya, you well educated idiot.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
not smart stephen. i always thought that stephen king books were FOR folks who didn’t read.
Written By: pedro the illegal alien
URL: http://
as opposed to those of us who can’t put a sentence together properly ;)
Written By: looker
URL: http://
i really hate when people talk about the military and know absolutely nothing about it. they get their information from some war movie and probably never met a service member. the popular stereotype for the army are mindless thugs that run around all day in formation and yell kill kill kill. yes while we do run around from 630-730 and sing cadence. we also go thru all sorts of equal opportunity courses, safety courses, first aid medical training, hazardous material training, weapons training, equipment training and on top of that all my senior NCOs woulds encourage us to take college courses on our spare time. of course its easy to make stereotypes about what the military is about when all you see on movies and tv’s are guys running around a combat zone with guns.
Written By: slntax
URL: http://
You wouldn’t get past the ASVAB if you couldn’t read. Full stop. End of military career.
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
OK, the best comeback that an author who, you know, writes for a living can come up with is "Shut up." And he’s accusing the military of being illiterate?!?

Acute situational irony is the reason I get up in the morning.
Written By: Bench
URL: http://

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