The Twitterverse has been all astir over an article in the Wall Street Journal in which the author, Meghan Cox Gurdon, complains that “kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things…” in YA books.
YA lovers, hackles up, responded with an angry outcry on Twitter. Go to #YAsaves if you care to read it.
I ignored it all until Greg over at The Happy Accident, brought up the influence of social media. That was an interesting aspect of the discussion, I thought. So I left a comment and Greg, who is ever fair and always well-spoken, called me on entering the discussion without reading the original statements of attack and counter-attack. I wanted to remark on the fact that human beings live in bubbles and we are all subject to being prejudiced against people who are foreign to us. We’ve come to realize that skin color doesn’t make a person different, but we are prejudiced against people who hold different ideologies. I wanted to say that, without having to read what the people on both sides of the WSJ article had to say. Because, frankly, I don’t care what Gurdon thinks about YA lit. I read plenty of YA lit and have formed my own opinions and after reading the first three paragraphs of her article I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to enrich my life or improve my understanding of the world. And I don’t care what the YA authors and their fans think about Ms. Gurdon. If I don’t care enough to read her article why would I care to read what others think of her opinions?
Today I broke down and read the article and some of the responses. Not because Greg made me feel guilty, but because I’m seeing the discussion crop up on more and more Christian sites and I do think I may want to weigh in on some of those discussions. I may write a post one of these days on violence in YA lit, because I think it’s worth talking about. I don’t much care to try to convince the world that they are reading bad books. But what should Christians read and write? (Anyone read the book of Judges lately? Dark is not wrong unless it’s glorified, would be my short answer.)
But for today, I give you Roger Sutton’s response to the discussion, which is one I appreciated. My disclaimer is that I don’t endorse his third point. I have a great relationship with my children and they read a lot of books without asking my permission, but when they do ask me for my thoughts, I don’t tell them to grow up. Rather, I take it as a sign that they are growing up. It takes a certain level of maturity to go to the older and wiser people in your world and ask their opinions.
But go and read Roger’s response. I thought it was a good one.