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WSJ Critic Slams Contemporary Young Adult Fiction

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Books WSJ Critic Slams Contemporary Young Adult Fiction

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  • #86892
    Jeff Regensburger
    Jeff Regensburger
    Participant

    Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal article “Darkness Too Visible” highlights the coarse (and potentially objectionable) subject matter found in some contemporary young adult fiction. It’s publication has sparked a firestorm of rebuttals from young adult authors, publishers, and librarians, most of whom found the piece ill-informed at best and censorial at worst.

    It’s an interesting read, and if you’ve been following the trends in YA lit (or reading any of it) I’d be curious to see what you think.

    I highlighted some of the best responses I read in a blog post, “The Crowdsourced Rebuttal”. These selections are just the tip of the iceberg though. It seems like every YA author, book critic, and librarian with a blog is chiming in.

    I understand the author of “Darkness Too Visible” (Megan Cox Gurdon) will be publishing a response to her critics in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal. It will be interesting to read her follow-up.

    #447867

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    Thanks for posting that.

    My first thought was that when I was a kid, VC Andrews was in more hands than any targeted-literature. I was glad to see the person who response you highlighed (about Disney princesses causing her more pause) said the exact same thing.

    The one issue that neither the author nor the responses touch on is that it seems like extreme, almost Grindhouse works like Shine are targeted to “young adults” and works that are scaled more to reality (and rift with more real emotion) like Push are marketed as adult.

    A.

    #447869

    michaelcoyote
    Participant

    Andrew Hall wrote >>
    My first thought was that when I was a kid, VC Andrews was in more hands than any targeted-literature.

    My initial thought as well. Those books were everywhere. Plenty of Stephen King and other horror writers as well.

    #447870

    groundrules
    Participant

    michaelcoyote wrote >>
    My initial thought as well. Those books were everywhere. Plenty of Stephen King and other horror writers as well.

    Ha! no shit. I read Cujo when I was young enough to still have bunk beds in my room. And yer damn right I read almost all of it from the top one.

    #447871

    berdawn
    Member

    I’m still waiting for “Are you the Goddess? It’s me, Mary Daly” to turn up in middle schools.

    #447872

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    berdawn wrote >>
    I’m still waiting for “Are you the Goddess? It’s me, Mary Daly” to turn up in middle schools.

    That was f’ing hilarious. Thx.

    A.

    #447873

    berdawn
    Member

    Andrew Hall wrote >>

    berdawn wrote >>
    I’m still waiting for “Are you the Goddess? It’s me, Mary Daly” to turn up in middle schools.

    That was f’ing hilarious. Thx.
    A.

    My life would have been very different if there really were such a book. (probably Ms. Daly’s, too)

    #447874

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    berdawn wrote >>

    Andrew Hall wrote >>

    berdawn wrote >>
    I’m still waiting for “Are you the Goddess? It’s me, Mary Daly” to turn up in middle schools.

    That was f’ing hilarious. Thx.
    A.

    My life would have been very different if there really were such a book. (probably Ms. Daly’s, too)

    Didn’t Miriam Starhawk write a kid/YA intro to neo-Paganism?

    I believe that the Harry Potter and Narnia books are equally effective gateways to a life devoted to Satan and blood sacrifices.

    A.

    #447875

    catnfiddle
    Participant

    berdawn wrote >>
    I’m still waiting for “Are you the Goddess? It’s me, Mary Daly” to turn up in middle schools.

    Sadly, I grabbed one of her books when I was still in high school (Wickedary). Still trying to figure out how THAT happened.

    #447876
    Jeff Regensburger
    Jeff Regensburger
    Participant

    Andrew Hall wrote >>
    Thanks for posting that.
    My first thought was that when I was a kid, VC Andrews was in more hands than any targeted-literature. I was glad to see the person who response you highlighed (about Disney princesses causing her more pause) said the exact same thing.
    The one issue that neither the author nor the responses touch on is that it seems like extreme, almost Grindhouse works like Shine are targeted to “young adults” and works that are scaled more to reality (and rift with more real emotion) like Push are marketed as adult.
    A.

    I think it’s ultimately reasonable and responsible for a parent to exercise their own judgment when considering what they’d like their children exposed to. That’s actually a very good and noble thing. The issue I have is when that parental judgment starts affecting the choices that other parents and young adults have.

    While Gurdon doesn’t explicitly call for censorship, her rhetoric lays the foundation for it. She dismmisses the notion of challenged and banned books as some kind of ALA lead hysteria and then goes on to entertain such soft censoring tactics as ratings, labels, and specified areas for particular content.

    All these measures of course require that someone (beyond the parents) be available to judge content and decide who it might or might not be appropriate for.

    #447877

    berdawn
    Member

    Andrew Hall wrote >>

    berdawn wrote >>

    Andrew Hall wrote >>

    berdawn wrote >>
    I’m still waiting for “Are you the Goddess? It’s me, Mary Daly” to turn up in middle schools.

    That was f’ing hilarious. Thx.
    A.

    My life would have been very different if there really were such a book. (probably Ms. Daly’s, too)

    Didn’t Miriam Starhawk write a kid/YA intro to neo-Paganism?
    I believe that the Harry Potter and Narnia books are equally effective gateways to a life devoted to Satan and blood sacrifices.
    A.

    From what I understand from American Family types, that is the case. I’ve only read the 1st of each and it was enough to turn me Unitarian, so it must be true.

    #447878

    berdawn
    Member

    Tiger Beatdown had a sort article about this. I liked the #yaSaves on twitter.

    Great pic, if it links, too
    http://twitpic.com/57dl97

    #447879

    gramarye
    Participant

    jeff_r wrote >>

    Andrew Hall wrote >>
    Thanks for posting that.
    My first thought was that when I was a kid, VC Andrews was in more hands than any targeted-literature. I was glad to see the person who response you highlighed (about Disney princesses causing her more pause) said the exact same thing.
    The one issue that neither the author nor the responses touch on is that it seems like extreme, almost Grindhouse works like Shine are targeted to “young adults” and works that are scaled more to reality (and rift with more real emotion) like Push are marketed as adult.
    A.

    I think it’s ultimately reasonable and responsible for a parent to exercise their own judgment when considering what they’d like their children exposed to. That’s actually a very good and noble thing. The issue I have is when that parental judgment starts affecting the choices that other parents and young adults have.
    While Gurdon doesn’t explicitly call for censorship, her rhetoric lays the foundation for it. She dismmisses the notion of challenged and banned books as some kind of ALA lead hysteria and then goes on to entertain such soft censoring tactics as ratings, labels, and specified areas for particular content.
    All these measures of course require that someone (beyond the parents) be available to judge content and decide who it might or might not be appropriate for.

    I don’t think what you call “soft censoring” is particularly objectionable. You are correct that it’s the parents’ responsibility to monitor content, but where are they supposed to get the information necessary, unless you want them to read every last book their children might read in advance? (My parents could never have done that. They didn’t have the time.)

    You are correct that all of those measures require someone else read and judge the works in question other than the parents. I think many parents would appreciate that, just like they appreciate others reviewing other products for them and their children.

    What you call “soft censorship,” I don’t call censorship at all. It’s providing (shorthand) information about the content, not blocking or banning the content.

    #447880
    Jeff Regensburger
    Jeff Regensburger
    Participant

    gramarye wrote >>

    jeff_r wrote >>

    Andrew Hall wrote >>
    Thanks for posting that.
    My first thought was that when I was a kid, VC Andrews was in more hands than any targeted-literature. I was glad to see the person who response you highlighed (about Disney princesses causing her more pause) said the exact same thing.
    The one issue that neither the author nor the responses touch on is that it seems like extreme, almost Grindhouse works like Shine are targeted to “young adults” and works that are scaled more to reality (and rift with more real emotion) like Push are marketed as adult.
    A.

    I think it’s ultimately reasonable and responsible for a parent to exercise their own judgment when considering what they’d like their children exposed to. That’s actually a very good and noble thing. The issue I have is when that parental judgment starts affecting the choices that other parents and young adults have.
    While Gurdon doesn’t explicitly call for censorship, her rhetoric lays the foundation for it. She dismmisses the notion of challenged and banned books as some kind of ALA lead hysteria and then goes on to entertain such soft censoring tactics as ratings, labels, and specified areas for particular content.
    All these measures of course require that someone (beyond the parents) be available to judge content and decide who it might or might not be appropriate for.

    I don’t think what you call “soft censoring” is particularly objectionable. You are correct that it’s the parents’ responsibility to monitor content, but where are they supposed to get the information necessary, unless you want them to read every last book their children might read in advance? (My parents could never have done that. They didn’t have the time.)
    You are correct that all of those measures require someone else read and judge the works in question other than the parents. I think many parents would appreciate that, just like they appreciate others reviewing other products for them and their children.
    What you call “soft censorship,” I don’t call censorship at all. It’s providing (shorthand) information about the content, not blocking or banning the content.

    I think it’s been pretty well demonstrated that you and I have very different beliefs regarding issues of censorship. I like that we can agree on parental responsibility though.

    #447881

    jackoh
    Participant

    Let’s be clear; a parent deciding what is and is not fit for the child to see or hear is, indeed, censorship (and can be detrimental).

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