Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Simpsons Mocks YA?! Surely You Jest!

At least it was all in good fun. And, I think, a rather poignant jab at not only the likes of YA manufacturers like Full Fathom Five but the tendency of the publishing industry to ride a wave raw.

The general gist of the show, Lisa gets her book bubble burst when she finds out that one of her favorite authors isn't actually an author but a cover model and the series this person supposedly penned was cranked out by a bunch of "drugged up lit majors." Homer, in all his glory, wants some quick cash and realizes the best way to do that is capitalize on the YA craze, get a team together and write a book. Lisa, of course, protests and vows to write her own book but, like any good writer, procrastination gets in the way. Neil Gaiman pops in with a prominent role in the episode, titled The Book Job, and serves as food bitch to Homer and Co.

While this article wishes the message were a little more accurate (that, really, not ALL YA is pumped out in a writing factory), I ultimately don't think it's needed. It is, after all, The Simpsons. This is, after all, a parody. Is the overall context true? Pretty much. But those of us that do the reading know full well that authors are real and something like this takes up a small corner of the market. And there are people out there that don't mind the manufactured books. I'm not talking about the copycats but books like I AM NUMBER FOUR that really are work-for-hire books, written by one person, or a couple o people and masked by a name that isn't theirs. That's okay if they do (I personally don't, especially with who owns that particular business, plus I'm not a fan of how it belittles reader tastes, but that's just me). Love for a book is love for a book and the show asks, does it really matter who wrote it?

For me, most of the time it does. I probably would have liked I AM NUMBER FOUR if it were actually well-written. I was a huge fan of THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB. A lot of popular books have been ghost written and pseudonymously authored. I like my authors, though. I like knowing that the book I hold in my hands was created out of love of writing, not purely out of want of money. Passion can't be faked, no matter how much money is involved.

If you still haven't seen the episode, you can catch it on Hulu. It's definitely worth the 22 minutes. It's hilarious!
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