Ong also discusses, at length, the notion that Reader's Digest is an educational tool: he reveals the hypocrisy of this notion expecially well when he states that although the magazine produces various editions (a college edition and a school edition in addition to the regular adult version of the magazine), all three editions are essentially the same, providing the same information to "infants" as to "adults." Reader's Digest's educational mission, Ong asserts, is not to pose the kinds of questions that make people intellectually active but to give people a sense of being smart and enjoying themselves as they increase their knowledge (evidenced by the heading on a Reader's Digest advertisement: "Recreation and Education Combined").
Ong's objection to Reader's Digest, revealed in the course of
this analysis, is that it presents itself as particularly intellectual
when it obviously is not, and he fears that if foreign sales of the magazine
continue to rise, Reader's Digest will become a symbol of American