Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why Vacationing In Your Own Anus Is A Bad Idea

First I just wanted to thank The Wall Street Journal because it's been quite a while since I've found something worthy to flex my rant fingers for. And on this glorious day in this most perfect weather, you have given me that opportunity, WSJ. So thank you.

I spotted the trend #YAsaves on Twitter very early this morning but I was a little bleary-eyed and half asleep so I wasn't sure what was going on. I knew people were sharing their positive experiences reading YA but I didn't know why. Until I logged on this morning and found THE ARTICLE via Nicole at WORD for Teens's heart-gripping blog post about it. Of course, I read the article first to see what was going on and I'm pretty sure my second floor neighbors heard my jaw slam onto the floor.

That is quite possibly the more IGNORANT, INSULTING, CONDESCENDING pile words I've ever read. Where the fuck do you live, Gurdon? Mayberry? This is the kind of up-assery shit that perpetuates all of the spooky darkness that this uneducated twit is talking about. Sorry sweetie, but I can tell you that when teens read books about cutting, they're not going to go, "OMG lets totally go play with razors and dude, I totally just read WINTERGIRLS and we should SO puke ourselves till our esophaguses rupture. How AWESOME would that be???" If you actually think that's what goes on when teens read this stuff, you've honestly gotta be smelling a shit candle.

Ignoring real issues happening amongst teenagers doesn't help it. Saying mantras to yourself like "Stuff like that doesn't happen here" is naive at best, fucking moronic at worst. And to go the extra mile and intone that if it does happen, it should be ignored because it's dark and nasty and not for the light? Sweetie, that's Karma I wouldn't want coming back around on me.

This shit is real. Ellen Hopkins' work is based on real life experiences by teens. The majority of the abusive relationship works that are surfacing now are based on real life experiences and in many cases direct rebuttals to the real problem that you've so blissfully ignored in your ridiculous excuse for an article: the perpetuation of abusive relationships as okay in YA romance. But I'm sure, in your deluded brain, your boyfriend disabling your car to prevent you from seeing your friends is uber-romantic. And if it isn't? Well, just ignore it. It'll clear up on its own. And if it doesn't, well, the scum that that does happen to doesn't deserve recognition or help and in fact they probably brought it on themselves, right?

I can honestly say I didn't have any saving moments from YA fiction when I was younger. I read a lot of Christopher Pike and RL Stine and some Baby-Sitters' Club before that. Yes, those are tame compared to what's out today and while they didn't give me any life-saving moment, they did inspire me to write. I found something I love dearly because of all those spooky vampire books I read when I was younger. I met some of my best friends because we came together over those books. They enriched my life in so many ways that I couldn't imagine not having them. And you want to deny this to teens because you don't think they can handle it?

When I read ALBATROSS by Josie Bloss, it brought up so many memories of when I was in some relationships in high school. Pegged by the author as the anti-TWILIGHT, it takes a look at an Edward/Bella relationship from reality, not a deluded fantasy. It was painful to read, but not in a bad way. I wish I had this book when I was a teenager. Why? Because it would have made me see that what was going on wasn't okay. That it's bad, it's painful and I needed to get out. And that's bad why? Giving teenagers (and even adults) hope in dire times is a terrible thing because . . . ?

It's because of this mind-numbing dumbassery that one of the first events I created as a book blogger was Ban This! in September where I basically extend Banned Books Week at the end of the month for the entire month. Why? Because mocking the shit out of idiocy like this brings me joy and it draws attention to some of the most amazing books out there that parents are trying to wrench away from not only their own children but others' children as well because it's just not appropriate.

I've said it so many times before and I'll say it again: if you don't want YOUR kid reading this stuff, then don't let them. You have no right trying to take that pleasure away from anyone else's. It's up to the parents to decide what's best for their children and when they're old enough, like teenagers, I'm pretty sure they're fully capable of deciding what's best for themselves when it comes to reading material. Why not use some of this dark and spooky material as conversation starters instead of throwing it in the closet and tossing the key? Why not educate our children instead of keeping them in the dark? Why not offer a helping hand to those kids that are actually going through all of these gruesome things found in these books instead of shoving them out of sight because they're far too unpleasant to contend with?

Stop being a disgusting human being. YA helps in ways that you'll obviously never fathom, Gurdon. Maybe your life was all peaches and farts growing up and since it didn't happen to you it can't possibly be happening anywhere else but if you removed your head from your rectum for a single nanosecond, you'd see that you're wrong beyond words. #YAsaves can attest to that alone. And I'm sure all of the fan mail sent to those offending authors of those BIG BAD NASTY books you speak off can emphasize all of that.

Stop spreading ignorance. Don't turn your back on it. Don't ignore it. These books are showcasing real problems lived by real teens. Let's help them and show them that we care instead of spitting in their faces and telling them they're too horrid to contemplate. In the words of David Bowie -

And these children
That you spit on
As they try to change their world
Are immune to your consultations.
They're quite aware of what they're going through.

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